Screen Time: 100%
Role: Melinda Sordino
Age: 13 years old
Directed: Jessica Sharzer
Genre: Coming of Age, Drama
The teenager Melinda Sordino (Kristen Stewart) joins the high-school with a great feeling of rejection and becomes a selective mute. Her school mates and friends call her "squealer", because she called the police during a summer party; she does not have communication with her mother, Joyce Sordino (Elizabeth Perkins), who is workaholic and is permanently busy; and she has problem with a very radical teacher. She finds a great support with her arts teacher Mr. Freeman (Steve Zahn) and her school friend David Petrakis (Michael Angarano), and recalls her traumatic experience in the summer school, when she was raped, learning how to deal with the situation and reborn mature.
Movie ReviewsReview by: Andrew Wickliffe
I love reviewing the unexpected film, I love finding new filmmakers to watch. Still, I find Speak odd choice. I only bookmarked the film because D.B. Sweeney and Elizabeth Perkins play a married couple (I have a soft-spot for both)....
I first read about the film because of its broadcasting--it’s not a TV movie, but IMDB lists it as such. Showtime and Lifetime picked it up off the festival circuit and showed it simultaneously. I’m having a hard time constructing a review of the film (and hey, it was one I was going to simul-post on Blogcritics too), just because I don’t know how to talk about it without giving “it” away and the film does try to keep the viewer in a reasonable dark. Except it’s an adaptation of a young adult novel, but I’m not sure how many of my readers keep up with that medium.
I can say, nice and easy, that the lead, Kristen Stewart, is great. The only thing else I’ve seen her in was Panic Room and I don’t know if she was in the fifteen minutes I stayed in the theater for that one. Steve Zahn is not great. He’s trying way too hard and I had to look it up to remember that Out of Sight made him. Director and co-writer Jessica Sharzer has a great feel for directing. There are nice echoes throughout the film--which could, I suppose, be from the book, but I doubt it, because they seem so reflexive. Some people just know how long to hold a shot, how long to keep the music going, Sharzer seems to be one of those folks. Sometimes, however, the running time--ninety minutes--starts bumping into what the film wants to do and it hurts. But Sharzer tells a whole school year in ninety minutes and I buy it. There’s a lot in the film I don’t (and it’s not just because I’m a stickler about long present action), and that’s when the acting and Sharzer’s feel for directing come in.
Speak’s a rewarding experience to be sure--there are just too many beautiful, quiet moments in it for the film not to be, particularly the relationship between the Stewart and her parents (Sweeney and Perkins). It reminds me of something I read about Rebecca Miller’s Personal Velocity, an online critic calling it a “Lifetime movie,” which made me think I need to see more Lifetime movies then. Speak isn’t exactly a Lifetime movie and it’s no Personal Velocity, but it’s good.Nov 24, 2005 10:46 PM