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Till Human Voices Wake Us (2002)

Cast: Guy Pearce, Guy Pearce, Helena Bonham Carter, more...
Director: Michael Petroni, Michael Petroni
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Paramount
Genre: Drama, Foreign, Ghosts, Australia & New Zealand
Running Time: 96 min.
Languages: English
Subtitles: English
    see additional details...

Young adolescent Sam Franks (Lindley Joyner) spends his summers away from school with his physician father (Peter Curtin), whose schedule barely allows for quality father-son time. Therefore, Sam idles away most of his time with neighbor Maurie Lewis (Frank Gallacher) and Maurie's handicapped daughter Silvy (Brooke Harman), who also happens to be Sam's best friend. One night following a dance, Sam and Silvy kiss for the first time, and go down to the nearby river. As the two are lazily floating in the river and watching the night sky, Silvy disappears underwater and her body is never found. Several years afterwards, an adult Sam (Guy Pearce) -- who has gone on to become a psychiatry instructor -- journeys back to the same town for the funeral of his recently deceased father. While en route, Sam encounters Ruby (Helena Bonham Carter), a mysterious young woman he is forced to rescue from the same river that Silvy had disappeared in. After bringing Ruby to his father's house to calm her down after the incident, Sam begins to feel a strangely familiar comfortableness with her and the two begin to visit all of Sam's and Silvy's old stomping grounds. ~ Ryan Shriver, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Not quite there by Texan99 September 4, 2010 - 3:56 PM PDT
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful
Here is a script that took itself a little too seriously, much like the poem "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" that it liked to quote. That poem is a lot of gorgeous-sounding silliness. Whenever a character quotes from it, you get the teasing feeling that you are about to understand something profound. In fact, though, it just sounds great. "We have lingered in the chambers of the sea/By seagirls wreathed with seaweed red and brown/Till human voices wake us, and we drown." Well, this movie is about a drowning, as well as about a character numbed by grief who needs to wake, but these are just themes that tie to random words in the poem. I'll happily watch Guy Pearce work through any kind of conflict and never lose interest, but I don't think this screenplay served him well. He's been shut down emotionally for decades after an early trauma. He works out his trauma imaginatively through the appearance (supernatural or imagined) of a figure representing his lost love, who's looking to be put to rest, or something. I want him to find the key to his release, I really do. I just didn't find that the story got him there. The director seemed to want to invest scenes with a lot of intense meaning, but what he actually did was borrow intensity from the concept of loss and deep guilt, with an overlay of obscure references from a poem that's long on terrific-sounding phrases but short on meaning.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.43)
14 Votes
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