Remember JT Leroy? He was a teenage novelist who wrote about being a transgendered truck-stop prostitute and everyone loved his books and was very into the whole transgendered teenage truck-stop prostitute thing, like, Elijah Wood wore a raccoon penis bone on a necklace to a party or something–just to give you a sense of how big JT Leroy was. Also, he didn’t exist. His books were written by some lady (an artist, I’m sure) and when JT Leroy appeared at book signings and readings and famously at Sundance one year, always wearing his Andy Warhol wig or whatever, that was actually an actor. (The wigs were really wigs, though. I think?) The lady who made all of this stuff up got in trouble, kind of, I mean, as much trouble as you can get in for something that doesn’t matter. Gus Van Sant yelled at her on the op-ed page of Portland’s second largest newspaper, or something to that effect. Of course, the reason that the liar was so successful is that her lie was pretty good. The writing was unique, the story about a transgendered teenage truck-stop prostitute was dark and compelling, and Andy Warhol wigs have a historical precedent of success. Now, imagine a story about a teenager that is supposed to be dark and is supposed to have a compelling hook, but it isn’t, and imagine that it was written on a pair of jeans with a Sharpie by a 45-year-old who assumes it can’t be that hard to figure out what makes kids tick these days, throw in a bottle of prescription pain-killers, a very lazy twist-ending, zero lights whatsoever, and Edie Falco and you begin to understand what The Quiet is like.
The Quiet is about a “perfect” suburban family that turns out to be ANYTHING BUT lolol. (Incidentally, they don’t actually seem perfect at all. Even from the beginning they seem like kind of a mess? But we’re supposed to believe they are perfect because, like, a woman at the pharmacy will say to the dad, “Oh, Mr. Deer, you’re not only a brilliant architect but also a great man.” That is a for real actual line of dialog in the movie.) They have just taken in their teenage goddaughter after her father was hit by a truck (her mother died when she was young), and she is deaf and mute. OR IS SHE? No, she is. OR IS SHE?! Well, OK, not really, no, but hold on, we’re not there yet. The Deers already have one teenage daughter and she is a cheerleader and very popular and she hates this stupid new deaf and mute girl so much for some reason. Mrs. Deer is addicted to painkillers. Mr. Deer is a brilliant architect, but he’s also a great man, and he is also fucking his daughter. OH BOY, HERE WE GO. So, like, I guess the daughter sort of figures out that the deaf and mute girl isn’t deaf or mute at all, and so she starts telling the deaf and mute girl all her plans to kill her father as some kind of test to see if she is really listening? But she never actually goes through with the murder. I’m pretty sure it’s supposed to be suspenseful and creepy, but, uh, it’s not. Who cares? Just kill him. He’s a creep. Or don’t. I honestly don’t care what happens to any of you. Meanwhile, she has sex with a basketball player next to the swimming pool. A high school with a swimming pool always seems so luxurious! That’s probably the intended takeaway from this movie, I’m sure. Eventually, the deaf and mute girl murders the father with a piano string right before the big dance and at first the cheerleader is mad because TEENAGERS HAVE COMPLICATED FEELINGS but then they…uh…go to the dance anyway? Like, they leave the dead body on the floor of the bedroom and go to the dance? The dance seems fun enough, I guess. When they come home, the police are there and the mom has turned herself in to save the girls, and now the girls just live in this big empty house together and play piano all the time, like some kind of fucked up boxcar children 2.0. Party of 2 this fall on FOX.
Now, there are a lot of bad things about this movie. Like, the aforementioned dialog. We might as well just give all the actors a free pass on this one, because I’m not sure how they could have done a better job having to say all of this nonsense. And it is nonsense. Not just the words they use, but what they are trying to express. Like, at one point the mom, Edie Falco, goes on this out-of-nowhere rant about how the deaf girl’s mom was “a slut.” Really? Is that how you talk to ANY TEENAGER much less an impaired teenager who was recently orphaned? No it is not. Even on all the pills it is not. Meanwhile, when the cheerleader tells her dad that she is pregnant with their Chinatown baby in order to bilk him for $1000, his response is “What are you going to do about [the baby]?” REALLY? Just going to see how this one plays out? “As your father, I will fuck you, but I don’t want to mess with your fragile self-actualization, so far be it from me to tell you what to do with your body (other than to tell you to fuck me with it).” Sure. My favorite line of dialog in the movie is when the basketball player boyfriend finds out she isn’t deaf or mute and he gets angry and says “but I said all that stuff about my dick.” Hahha. You know, I can understand how it would be a weird breach of trust to find out that the girl you were whispering stuff to about your dick could actually hear you, but it’s even weirder, like by a lot, that you were whispering stuff about your dick to the back of a deaf girl’s head. This might be a you problem more than a deaf girl problem, dude.
Also, she’s deaf and mute, not retarded. WHY IS SHE TASTING HER DAD’S ASHES?
Eat something more sensible, girl. Like this:
The eating ashes scene is hilarious not just because she is tasting her dad’s ashes but also because she explains in a voice-over how upset she is with humanity because right before her dad was hit by a truck, no one tried to help him. Huh? You mean no strangers ran out into the middle of a busy street where it was very easy to get hit by trucks to save your dad from getting hit by a truck? What a coarse and unfair world of monsters we live in, I’m sure.
But easily the worst part of the entire movie is the lighting. What is this lighting?
Everything is single-source lighting through a window with some kind of ugly blinds on it. But also this diner? Just too normal of a diner, probably.
And here’s a quick question: if you are a high school and you are hosting a basketball game in your gymnasium, do you turn on some lights or do you leave all the lights off? All off? OK.
I guess it’s just school policy (see above photo of high school bathroom with no lights on at all) to not have any lights ever.
This movie is very very bad. It wishes that it was arty and it wishes that it was suspenseful and it wishes that it was sexy but it is none of those things. What it is is just HARD TO SEE. Ugh. I wish I could burn it in the face with an iron.