Two sisters, Grace and Violet, bound together by more than blood, live a reclusive life in a large mansion, detached from society and reality too. They have a plan. It's hardly conventional, but the outcome nine months later is all that counts. Whatever they do they must not fall in love with the man that they choose to ensnare. Set in contemporary New England. Written by
I caught the last 30 minutes of "Silence Becomes You" on cable and was intrigued enough to order the DVD. The DVD would have benefited from a director's commentary as the film is annoyingly vague at times (even to me) and I imagine that most viewers would welcome some clarification.
My favorable first impression was probably a combination of the great production design, the excellent acting for the camera direction, and the understated yet inventive editing. It was filmed in Lithuania in HD video (said to be the first feature film with 100% digital cinematography), a technique that allowed the production staff to see each days rushes immediately so they could make timely rewrite and re-shoot decisions.
"Silence Becomes You" was written and directed by Stephanie Sinclaire, the Associate Artistic Director of the internationally known Kings Head Theatre in London. Her stage background shines through the production as all three of her main characters are given a nice multi-dimensionality. They are all flawed yet to varying degrees sympathetic.
Take the assorted plot summaries and comments about this film with a certain grain of salt. It is about two 20-something half-sisters (if you credit certain statements and make an inference) who are still living together in the estate where they grew up. Alicia Silverstone plays Violet and Sienna Guillory plays Grace.
They have decided that Violet should have a baby and lure a roguish drifter named Luke (Joe Anderson) to the estate for the purpose of getting her pregnant. There is a fourth character, the house, which exercises a considerable hold and influence over the two women. This relationship is represented by frequent memory flashbacks to their father and their childhood. The two young actresses who play them as little girls (most likely chosen for their physical similarity to Silverstone and Guillory) are convincingly directed by Sinclaire and their frequent appearances give the film a lyrical quality.
As in Terrance Mallick's "Days of Heaven" (1978), the four principal characters represent the four elements; earth (the house), water (Violet), fire (Grace), and wind (Luke). The principal dynamic being how the least transitory element holds the three elusive elements in place. Most of the complaints about the film seem to center on Sinclaire's frequent misdirection, the viewer only knows what she wants you to know and when she wants you to know it. There does seem to be vagueness for the sake of vagueness, or at least in the service of introducing complexity to a relatively simple story. The girls have a degree of paranormal skills and there is a strong mental connection between them; qualities that their alchemist father (lead into gold is his metaphor for reproduction) went to great trouble to develop. Sinclaire violates the language of film with this and with her inconsistent flashback techniques; confusing the viewer about what is real, what is mystical, what is a dream, and what is simply a memory. So the film is unable to decide between being a ghost story of a psychological melodrama. Yet in the end all this stuff fits into the final explanation so as long as you get it there is little cause for complaint.
This is a must see for Silverstone fans, by far the best thing she has ever done. Helped by an excellent acting for the camera director and an quality ensemble she is quite impressive. To me her face has always seemed slightly off-balance, making her an excellent fit playing a character that is somewhat off-kilter.
Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child. Comment Comment | Permalink
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?