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"Joe Smith, American" lives in a Los Angeles suburb and works at an aircraft plant. One night Joe hears a voice cut in on a radio program: "This is God. I'll be with you for the next few days." It turns out, everyone in the world listening to any radio heard the same thing. More messages come; some people react positively, others negatively. Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The voice of God is never actually heard in the movie. The screenplay is written in such a way that the consequences of each of God's broadcasts are seen, but the broadcasts themselves are omitted. See more »
Very important and much better than people have ever realized
An intriguing, understated, and remarkable picture. It focuses on a super-typical American family of the 1950s, the Smiths, husband (James Whitmore), wife (Nancy Davis, later Reagan), son (Gary Gray), and expected child. One night, precisely at 8:30, a strange voice on the radio announces that he is God. For the next several nights, he speaks on the radio at the same time. The entire world, except for those behind the Iron Curtain, hears these messages and begins to listen each night, frightened that divine punishment, or perhaps Judgement Day might be near. The Smiths are as afraid as anyone else. They all fear for Mary, the mother, who is nine months pregnant, may die in childbirth. Her mother and her sister both died when giving birth to their second children, and God has just claimed on the radio that he will demonstrate his miraculous powers. That's the big problem, and then Joseph, the husband, has many smaller problems. He's stuck in a dead end job, he hates his boss, a particular motorcycle cop seems to have it in for him, and the starter on his car doesn't work. They're all little things, but together, especially when the voice agitates him further, he's not sure he can make it. There is a lot to love about this movie. Although the Smiths are such a symbolic family in that they represent the ideal American family (I would like to suggest ignoring the fact that the husband and wife are named Joseph and Mary and that Mary's pregnant, because, as far as I see, not much is done with that particular symbolism), they feel so real and individual. They aren't perfect; they have weaknesses and fights. But they have such a touching family relationship. I love the way Joe strokes his wife's cheek each morning to wake her up. When Joe's car won't work in the morning, little Johnny imitates his exact routine for his mother's amusement at the breakfast table. The greatest power in the universe may be the force that's driving the plot, but this is a movie that realizes that the little moments of life are what count best, and few films have shown a better knowledge of that. As I was watching The Next Voice You Hear, the film it reminded me of most was The Day the Earth Stood Still. The plot is nearly identical, but The Next Voice You Hear is so much more gentle. Klaatu, in Day, threatens to destroy humanity if they don't cooperate. Luckily, God's much more understanding. Of course, those countries of Eastern Europe who are under the thumb of the USSR never hear God's voice, even though communist China doesn't miss out (or am I wrong about my history?). It was the Cold War that sparked The Day the Earth Stood Still. Besides one solitary comment early in the film, there is no mention of the Soviet Union or communism. Yet it still pervades any possible interpretation of the film. If God wants to deliver a message to the world, one would think that he wouldn't skip over anyone. Even atheists in the US hear it. And one would expect a writer from the United States to want those who were perceived as a threat to hear God's message. This little conundrum is quite maddening, and there's no good solution to it. I would call it a major flaw (even though, like I said, it takes up merely a second of film), but it allows room for interpretation. That is, I'm not disappointed in that fact, only intrigued. The Next Voice You Hear is a profoundly Christian film, and one of the best, I'd say. It's message is overwhelmingly positive, and it's not really that didactic. There are a lot of points to be thought over after the film is done. This would be an ideal film for anyone to show at Sunday School or something like that. It's really one of the most fascinating films I've ever seen. Really, I haven't even broken the surface here, and I didn't discuss any of its artistry (of which there is a lot). See this movie, please. 10/10.
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