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"The Quiet"

Directed by Jamie Babbit.
Written by Abdi Nazemian and Micah Schraft.
Starring Camilla Belle, Elisha Cuthbert, Martin Donovan and Edie Falco.
Release Year:  2005
Review Date:  9/2/06

Folks--

Not one to pass up a shot at seeing the lovely Elisha Cuthbert (little girl Bauer once upon a time, from "24"), I decided to use my newfound free time after a half-day at work to catch the indie drama "The Quiet" at the local multiplex...the film was a mixed bag, but what a creepy crawly mixed bag it was.

That's because our girl Cuthbert plays Nina, high school cheerleader and unruly daughter of parents Paul and Olivia Deer (Martin Donovan and Edie Falco).  When the film opens, Nina is adjusting to life at home with Dot (Camilla Belle), a deaf 17-year-old that has moved in following the death of her father, her only surviving parent.  Paul and Olivia were family friends of the father, and have opted to take pity on Dot by allowing her to move in and live with them; Nina doesn't like her new "freakish" live-in sister because...well, we're not sure why, at least to start.

We do know this much--Daddy is bangin' Daddy's little girl almost every night after Mom, who is hopped up on pills due to pain in her now-healed hip, goes to bed.  That's right, kids--incest is on the table early and often in "The Quiet", much to the dismay of Dot, who finds out about Dad's bad habit one day when she comes home late from school.  What to do about this?  And, what about a discovery that Nina makes one day about Dot that could destroy Dot's already-fragile world completely?  YOU MAKE THE CALL!!!

"The Quiet" is a tough one to make out.  On the one hand, Belle does great work with just her blank stare as she attempts to make out what anyone is saying to her (or about her), as her character is a lip-reader.  Cuthbert is nasty as the unstable daughter; Donovan is the best of all, as a father with a REALLY bad habit of staring at his daugher's ass but as someone that seems indifferent to the consequences of his actions.  Falco is just a throw-in as the mom, but in her few scenes she is quite good.

So the performances are good, but the script just lacks that extra je ne sais quoi to make this movie worth watching; a few times, I just sat there in the theater yawning, wondering where the story would go next but knowing it would not drop anything really substantial following the shock of learning that Dad has problems putting his dong into the wrong woman of the house.  Even adding a best friend for Nina that is obsessed with sleeping with the captain of the basketball team (Shawn Donovan, Iceman from the "X-Men" films) doesn't add any punch to this; alternately, having said captain be interested in Dot doesn't make you want to watch his pursuit of a deaf woman that doesn't have any interest in having a boyfriend.

So, we are left waiting to watch these strong performances act out a story that you could give a shit about.  By the time it's over, you get by the fact that the police skip over any number of pieces of evidence to convict the wrong suspect in a crime that affects the family, just so you can leave the theater.  "The Quiet" has some interesting moments but overall becomes a nominal experience.

Rating:  Matinee

 

Comments?  Drop me a line at justin@bellviewmovies.com.

 

Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/bellviewmovies.com except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09