Quiet, The

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +1

Content: -4

Elisha Cuthbert, Camilla Belle, Edie Falco, Martin Donovan, Shawn Ashmore. Psychological thriller. Written by Micah Schraft, Abdi Nazemian. Directed by Jamie Babbit.

The seemingly unblemished suburban world of popular but mean-spirited cheerleader Nina Deer is turned upside down when her parents (Edie Falco and Martin Donovan) adopt their recently orphaned goddaughter, Dot (Camilla Belle). Dots arrival delivers a blow to Ninas idyllic social life and triggers the unraveling of the familys darkest secrets.

Both Ninas family and friends, including the school hunk, Connor (Shawn Ashmore, the X-Men trilogy), develop an odd fascination with Dot and confide their troubling secrets to the supposedly deaf teenager. Dot quietly shoulders the burdens and we learn that she has her own secrets. Directed by Jamie Babbit (But Im a Cheerleader), The Quiet is about incest, abuse, guilt and betrayal.

(Note: Dear Readers, please forgive the graphic details, but I wanted to make it clear just what imagery you would be placing in your minds should you attend.)

Incest is extremely difficult to place on film. The secret is tone and thats tough to balance, even by the most experienced of filmmakers. The script and the direction, however, are miscalculated, leaving us with an equal mixture of depressing pointlessness and ugly luridness.

Some comic levity is included in order to help with the heavy themes of parental neglect and sexual abuse, but its use here is derived extensively from sexuality and enough bad-girl attitude to fuel one of those old women-in-prison movies guys used to go see at the drive-in. Elisha Cuthbert plays an unfeeling, downright hostile stereotypical teenager and her equally malicious best friend is so obsessed with sex that theres even a hint of lesbianism.

While one scene allows daddy dearest to profess a self-hatred for his sexual attraction to his daughter, later he calls her on her cell at school and asks if shes wearing her cheerleader uniform. As we near the end, he becomes abusive to the extent of slapping his child, then attempting to rape her in a fit of rage. Its an unpleasant scene to watch. Indeed, its all rather unpleasant to watch.

Though there may have been a serious attempt to address the subject of incest when the project was first discussed, the final cut is unsatisfying, murky, violent and exploitive. Most viewers will simply want to forget the entire experience. The Quiet has seven producers. Thats a lot of people who thought this story would be a good idea. They were wrong.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Sony Classic Pictures

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Crude sexual remarks from a randied teenager throughout. A teen calls her friends mother a slut.

Obscene Language: At least 33 uses of the f-word alone; around 10 others; most of the objectionable language comes from the teenaged characters.

Profanity: 4 uses of Christs name in anger, mostly coming from a daughter toward her parents.

Violence: One teenager torments her adopted sister; a man attempts to rape his daughter; a man is strangled with a piano wire by a teenaged girl. A teen girl discusses killing her hated father. A graphic scene takes place in a school lab, where students are cutting into dead piglets. Blood: We see the piano wire cutting into a mans throat.

Sex: Incest is implied, then later it becomes more graphic as we see the two kiss and later in bed.

Nudity: The doped up mother is seen naked in one scene.

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: A great deal of crude sexual dialogue.

Drugs: People smoke, drink and pop pills throughout.

Other: Dont let any description here be titillating. The film grieved my spirit.

Running Time: 98 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults and Older Teens

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