You know what I need more of in my life? Drama. I definitely need more drama in my life. Actually, that is an outright lie as I could actually use some less drama in my life. However, while I would like less real life drama, I actually do enjoy a good dramatic movie. Now today’s movie is a little known drama that I happened to stumble across years ago during a random Blockbuster outing. Not sure why exactly I got it but let’s see if it was worth getting as I watch today’s movie, The Quiet.
The plot: Dot is a deaf mute girl who has been sent to live with her godparents, Paul and Olivia Deer, after her father died in a car crash. Their daughter Nina is not happy about taking Dot in and, along with her friend Michelle, constantly teases and insults Dot. Meanwhile, Paul and Olivia are having their own problems and are constantly arguing about one thing or another. The next day at school, Dot is partnered up with Connor in their biology class, which upsets Michelle because she wants to sleep with him. Later in the day, she ducks into an empty music room and begins playing the piano unaware that Connor sees her as he walks by the classroom. That night, as her inner monologue explains how he died, Dot takes the box that contains her father’s ashes and, after sticking her finger’s in the bag, rubs some of them on her face in an attempt to stay close to her father. Dot goes to the bathroom to wash the ashes off but as she returns to bed, she sees Paul and Nina in Nina’s room and quickly runs back to bed. The next night, Nina says she is going to the movies with some of her friends then staying over at Michelle’s house and Paul gets upset about her not being home. Dot asks to go to the movie as well but sits by herself and watches as Nina and her friends watch the movie. That night, Dot sees Paul heading towards her room and pretends to be asleep when he enters. He sits on the bed and says that he is sick and had hoped that taking Dot in would make things better but it does not seem to be working. The next day, Michelle is pressuring Nina to sneak out of the house and meet up with her, Connor, and another friend, who wants to sleep with Nina, but Nina is reluctant to commit to doing it. After school, Dot is at home playing on the piano when the one of the piano wires snap, causing her to curse out loud. Nina, who had come home and was listening to Dot play, hears this and ducks out of sight, then goes back to the door and opens and closes it loudly to alert Dot she is there. The next day at lunch, Nina sits next to Dot and, knowing that she can hear her, begins talking to her, admitting to having an incestuous relationship with her father but tells Dot that she wants to kill Paul because she hates what he is doing with her and how controlling he is. Later on, Connor interrupts Dot as she is playing the school’s piano to talk about their lab report but Dot quickly hands him the report and runs off. That night during dinner, Connor shows up at the house and asks to take Dot to the library to work on their report and Paul, learning that Connor is not interested in Nina, agrees to let her go, which upsets Nina. Meanwhile, Michelle shows up with a bag, which Nina quickly hides in her backpack but Dot sees her do this and thinks it is a gun that Nina had mentioned. Dot goes with Connor but is nervous and when she sees an ambulance go by, she rushes home. Seeing the backpack on a chair, Dot opens it and finds that the bag contains a bunch of movies. Heading towards Nina’s room, she hears Nina and Paul talking and purposefully breaks a statue in order to keep Paul away from her, then climbs into bed to comfort Nina later that night. The next day, Nina tells Dot that she plans on burning Paul with her iron after the basketball game. Nina starts to call Child Welfare Services but can’t bring herself to talk so she goes to the game to keep an eye on Nina. Meanwhile, Olivia is taking some pills which makes her loopy and she undresses in front of Paul but he is too busy ranting about Nina and ends up ignoring her. After the game, Dot grabs Connor and takes him to the school pool and after Connor talks with her for a while, she takes her shirt off and proceeds to have sex with him. Nina returns home and Paul surprises her with a gift but she tells him she has to iron her cheerleader uniform. When Paul enters the room later, she tells him to close his eyes as she has a surprise for him, then gets the iron right up to his face but when they hear Dot returning home, she can’t go through with it. Instead, she tells Paul she is pregnant and that she needs $1000 for the abortion, which he says he will get for her tomorrow. The next day, Connor invites Dot to the school dance, which upsets Michelle, but when Dot tells him no, he grabs her as she walks away and tells her that he is taking her to the dance. Nina gives Dot a dress to wear for the dance but when Dot still refuses to go, Nina wonders why and asks to know how she does it. As the time for the dance draws closer, Paul goes to Nina’s room to give her the money but as he goes to put it in her purse, he notices tampons in there and realizes she lied about being pregnant. Paul confronts Nina about this and ends up assaulting her and attempts to rape her when he realizes she planned on leaving. Dot, who had been playing the piano, hears Nina’s screams and, grabbing the broken piano wire, goes into the room and strangles Paul with it. Nina is shocked and starts yelling at Dot for killing her father but when they see Olivia standing in the doorway in a drugged stupor, Olivia says it is a miracle that Dot could hear. Michelle arrives to pick Nina up for the dance and Nina and Dot go to the dance, taking Nina’s bloody dress in a backpack so they can bury it later. At the dance, Connor dances with Dot but she runs off shortly and he chases after her but when he learns that she can hear and talk, he calls her a psycho, saying what he had told her was private, and storms off. Dot grabs Nina and they run into the woods by the school until they come to a river bank. As they are digging a hole to bury the dress, Dot explains to Nina that she had pretended to be deaf and mute in order to get closer to her dad after her mom died. When they return home, they find the police are there and arresting Olivia and she tells them that she had killed Paul. Olivia then apologizes to Nina, saying she never meant for him to hurt her and begs Nina to forgive her before she is taken away. Nina and Dot go inside the house and the next day, the two girls start playing the piano together.
The Quiet met with mostly negative reviews from the critics, holding a 21% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is that, “This psychological thriller’s talented cast is undercut by leaden pacing and a problematic plot.” Elisha Cuthbert had signed on for the movie in an attempt to do something more character driven, instead of being typecast in the typical “hot girl” role. The movie had trouble finding a distributor until Sony Pictures picked it up, but they only gave it a limited release, causing it to only earn $381,420 back from it’s $900,000 budget.
This was an interesting, and slightly disturbing movie to watch. The acting was really good, with Elisha Cuthbert (Nina) and Camilla Belle (Dot) both doing a good job in their respective roles. I also thought Martin Donovan (Paul) did a good job but I felt like Edie Falco (Olivia) could have had more of a role in the movie, while Shawn Ashmore (Connor) and Katy Mixon (Michelle) were just annoying. The story was a little confusing because they didn’t do the best job of outright explaining things in the movie, but rather left them to be figured out by the audience. For instance, you are never really told why Olivia is constantly taking medication but it becomes apparent at the end that she was self medicating to either try and forget or at the very least deal with the guilt over what Paul was doing with Nina. Some of the situations with the different teenagers didn’t make a whole lot of sense at times but I just chalked it up to teenagers doing stupid things. A decent movie that is worth giving a chance.
Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5