After a blurred trauma over the summer, Melinda enters high school a selective mute. Struggling with school, friends, and family, she tells the dark tale of her experiences, and why she has chosen not to speak.
A massage therapist looking to overcome her addictions and reconnect with her son, whose father is an anthropologist in South America studying the Yanomani people, moves in with a wealthy ex-client in New Jersey.
An aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960s decides to write a book detailing the African-American maids' point of view on the white families for which they work, and the hardships they go through on a daily basis.
Set in South Carolina in 1964, this is the tale of Lily Owens, a 14 year-old girl who is haunted by the memory of her late mother. To escape her lonely life and troubled relationship with ... See full summary »
The young adolescent Melinda Sordino arrives at high school feeling confused, depressed and alone. Her school peers call her "squealer", because she alerted the police during a summer party after she was sexually assaulted by Andy Evans. She refuses to tell anyone the events that took place. Her depression and distance from people is made worse by the increasingly large gap between her and her parents. She finds great support with her art teacher Mr. Freeman and her school friend David Petrakis. Her feelings threaten to engulf her but Melinda learns to grow from her experiences instead of repressing the past emotions that have scarred her for the rest of her life. Written by
Andrew Rodriguez, Tinton Falls New Jersey
"Sordino," Melinda's last name, means "muted." See more »
The movie came out in 2004, but the book it is based on came out in 1999. So the turn of the century for the book would be the 1900s. For her extra credit assignment, Melinda is told to write an essay on a cultural influence at the turn of the century. Yet the movie takes place at the turn of the 21st century, around 2003. It should have specified "turn of the last [20th] century." She decides to write about the suffragists of the 1910s. See more »
There is no point talking to my ex-friends. Our clan the plain Janes has been absorbed by rival groups. Nicole hangs out with the jocks. Rachel went all Euro. Ivy straddles two crowds: the Goths and the Marthas. And then there's me. I'm clanless.
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I can react to this movie on a number of levels. First of all, it is a wonderful thing that this film was made. It deals with a very real yet very troubling issue, and handles it with sensitivity and hope. This movie has the potential to really help people, and I can't think of a better legacy for a filmmaker.
Despite all that, I wish this would have been a better movie. The pacing of the story seemed wildly out of whack and there were a couple of directorial decisions that could certainly be questioned. On the other hand, Kristen Stewart's performance in the lead role of Melinda was excellent, although the rest of the acting left me flat. (Even Steve Zahn, who I normally love, seemed a bit miscast.) And while the writing didn't grab me, there were enough light-hearted moments to make Melinda's personal anguish bearable for the audience.
Beyond cinema as therapy, the film contained meaningful insights into the potential of artistic expression in healing, the general alienation of being a freshman in high school, or the critical relationship of an individual's will and determination with the healing process. People should see this movie not because of its cinematic excellence but because it has an important and optimistic message.
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