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The Quiet

Original promotional poster.
Directed by Jamie Babbit
Produced by Tom Schatz
Written by Abdi Nazemian
Micah Schraft
Starring Camilla Belle
Elisha Cuthbert
Martin Donovan
Edie Falco
Shawn Ashmore
Distributed by Sony Pictures Classics
Release date(s) September 12, 2005 (Toronto Film Festival)
August 25, 2006 (limited) (USA)
Running time 91 min.
Country United States
Language English
Budget US $900,000

The Quiet is a 2005 American drama and thriller film directed by Jamie Babbit, and starring Elisha Cuthbert and Camilla Belle. It focuses on a deaf teenage girl, Dot (Belle) who goes to live with her godparents (played by Martin Donovan and Edie Falco) after her father dies, where she slowly learns the disturbing secrets of the family, primarily concerning their teenage daughter, Nina (Cuthbert).

The film was acquired by Destination Films, which released this film in the United States theatrically through Sony Pictures Classics on August 25, 2006, and marketed with the tagline: "Isn't it time everyone hears your secrets?".

The film's soundtrack features songs by Low, Cat Power, Le Tigre, and numerous Beethoven piano sonatas. Despite receiving poor reviews, the film made a respectable profit.[1]

Contents

Plot

The story revolves around Dot (Camilla Belle), a young, orphaned, deaf and mute girl. She is sent to live with her godparents and their daughter Nina (Elisha Cuthbert), with whom she used to be close friends. However, she soon learns the secrets of her new family.

Nina is unhinged by Dot's arrival, and she constantly insults Dot every chance she gets. Dot blames herself for her father's death in a car accident; she thinks that if she was with him, she would have warned him of the oncoming danger. Soon after arriving, Dot discovers an incestuous relationship between Nina and her father Paul (Martin Donovan), a successful architect with "the best house in Meriden." Paul invited Dot to stay in an attempt to control himself, wishing he could end the sexual relationship between him and his daughter. He tries to tell his wife Olivia (Edie Falco) about his relationship with Nina, but is unable to bring himself to say it. It is implied that Olivia is aware of the abuse, but drugs herself with pills to avoid dealing with it.

After discovering that Dot is neither deaf nor mute, Nina pretends that she doesn't know the truth. For reasons of her own, Nina still pretends that Dot cannot tell anyone, and she confides in Dot her plan to murder her father.

Dot becomes aware of everything Nina and Paul do behind closed doors, and even tries to help Nina avoid Paul's advances. She also is assigned to be lab partners with Connor (Shawn Ashmore), a star basketball player; their working together arouses jealousy in Michelle (Katy Mixon), Nina's loudmouthed best friend, who is very attracted to Connor and, like Nina, very unreceptive to Dot's difficulties and entry into their lives. Connor does well communicating to Dot through lip-reading to work on the report, knowing that with a disability of his own (Attention Deficit Disorder) he needs to improve his grades to get a basketball scholarship. He also becomes very attracted to Dot, both in the physical beauty she'd hidden from others in her heavy attire, and in her ability to play the piano.

He also begins to confide things in Dot because he believes she cannot hear him. After confiding that he is a virgin, Dot undresses for him and he has sex with her. Dot realizes that part of his attraction to her is because of her deafness and she pushes him away.

Before the "Spring Fling" dance, Nina tells Paul that she is pregnant, and needs $1000 for an abortion. However, once he discovers tampons in her purse, he realizes that she is lying and is only trying to obtain the money to get away from the house. As Dot begins to play moonlight sonata downstairs, Paul confronts Nina about her lie. Nina tries to explain, but Paul, distressed that his daughter wants to leave him, begins to physically abuse her. The abuse turns into an attempt at rape. Dot recognizes what is going on upstairs, stops playing piano (although the sonata plays on), and heads upstairs. The music finally stops when Dot uses a piano wire to strangle Paul to death, screaming at him to leave Nina alone. All the while, Olivia remains downstairs staring at the news in a pill-induced stupor. The eerie silence is only broken when Paul's body hits the ground and Nina starts screaming and cursing at Dot. Olivia comes upstairs and her only comment on being faced with Paul's body is to tell Dot that it's a miracle that she can hear.

The two girls go to the Spring Fling dance where Dot dances with Connor, then reveals to him that she is able to hear and talk. Connor calls her a psycho and then storms away. Then both girls bury the backpack with Nina's dress, covered in her father's blood, inside it. At this point, Nina questions Dot about pretending to be deaf and mute. Dot reveals that she wanted to be closer to her father so she wouldn't be alone. When the girls arrive home, Olivia has turned herself into the police and claims that she, not Dot, killed Paul, in order to protect her daughter and atone for allowing the abuse. The film ends on an uncertain note as the two girls play piano together, free from their fathers.

Cast

Production

Although the film is set in Connecticut, Bowie High School in Austin, Texas was chosen as the principal filming location for The Quiet. The producers chose to use the Bowie Basketball Team as well.

Reception

The film was not well reviewed by critics. On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, 22 percent of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 90 reviews.[2] On Metacritic, the film had an average score of 29 out of 100, based on 24 reviews.[3]

Jeanne Aufmuth of Palo Alto Weekly called it "pretentious and pointless," Laura Clifford of Reeling Reviews said, "Good grief," and Michael Booth of the The Denver Post said, "Sometimes a movie is so repulsive and devoid of redeeming material that afterward, you're certain it doesn't deserve to exist."[2]

Among critics who gave the film positive reviews, Josh Bell of Las Vegas Weekly said, "Forget Snakes on a PlaneThe Quiet is the new camp classic of the summer," and Andrea Chase of Killer Movie Reviews called it "a disturbing drama that is as riveting to watch as it is challenging to contemplate."[2]

References

External links








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