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Awesome: 3.45%
Worth A Look: 27.59%
Pretty Bad: 24.14%
Total Crap: 0%

4 reviews, 5 user ratings

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Quiet, The
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by Jason Whyte

"Watching The Quiet with the sound turned off? Priceless."
2 stars

As I did my review of “She’s The Man” to gush about the gorgeous Amanda Bynes, I now must turn my attention to another one of the loveliest starlets in the business today: Camilla Belle. It’s not just in her jet-black hair, her seductive eyebrows or that piercing stare (and not to mention, a body to die for), but it’s something about the personality of the characters that she plays that you can’t take your eyes off of her whenever she is on screen. As Daniel Day Lewis’ daughter in “The Ballad of Jack and Rose” or a schemer in “The Chumscrubber”…heck, even as a teenager in peril running around in a tight shirt in the otherwise terrible “When a Stranger Calls”, Ms. Belle demands your attention. Even when watching Jamie Babbit’s new film “The Quiet”, it was difficult to look at Elisha Cuthbert when Belle was on screen…and that’s saying something.

Okay, now that I’ve gushed, onto the movie. “The Quiet” stars Camilla Belle as Dot, a young girl who has been recently orphaned by the death of her father and taken in by her godparents. Deaf and mute since a child, she has moved in with three quirky people: parents Paul (Martin Donovan) and Olivia (Edie Falco) along with cheerleader-teen Nina (Elisha Cuthbert). Dot is ridiculed by Nina both at school and at home, but is liked by sports-hunk Connor (Shawn Ashmore). I don’t blame him.

Everyone has secrets in this house, from the father who visits his daughter after everyone else has went to bed, to the prescription-driven mother. The way that Jaime Babbit and cinematographer David Mullen paint the house in shadows, blue lights and dark corners seem to be tipping hat towards Conrad Hall’s work in “American Beauty”, as is the entire film. This dysfunctional family unit picture has been seen far too many times before.

SPOILER WARNING: Dot has a secret that Nina figures out in roughly the second reel. The revelation of the secret was in no way surprising, not because of the predictability of the screenplay, but how Camilla Belle acts neither deaf nor mute properly, and is sadly a major performance flaw. For someone that has been playing a game for this much time, you think Dot would be on her game.

The setup of “The Quiet” is intriguing, and yet the film never really goes anywhere. Secrets come up, others discover them and are dealt with in a pretty bizarre manor, in such a way that I can’t describe them to prevent exposing the film as a whole. The film’s dialogue is slack and awkward, delivered by its actors as if they don’t believe a word they’re saying (and I’m sure they don’t). There is a confession by Connor to Dot at a poolside involving his sexuality that will no doubt get laughs in theatres by how contrived it all sounds.

Babbit, who has directed many episodes of “Nip/Tuck” and “Gilmore Girls” along with her first feature “But I’m a Cheerleader” has a promising career ahead of her I’m sure, but she needs to back out of “American Beauty” territory and focus on something a bit more original. Quite odd, considering how daring some of her episodes of the “Gilmore Girls” have ventured into fresh territory.

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originally posted: 09/07/06 03:34:15
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Toronto Film Festival For more in the 2005 Toronto Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

10/16/08 Dr. Strangeblog Successfully dodges teen movie conventions in telling unsettling story of suburban family. 3 stars
1/31/08 Sangeeta Das I liked Dot's character most but I couldn't get why she was acting dumb. 4 stars
2/20/07 Beau An excellent movie, great performances, great storyline and script! loved it!!! 5 stars
2/05/07 William Goss Laughable at best. 2 stars
9/13/06 Edward Connell Just when you think you caught it all there is an incoming twist in functuality. 4 stars
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  25-Aug-2006 (R)
  DVD: 13-Feb-2007



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