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Till Human Voices Wake Us (2002)

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A man returns to Victoria, Australia, where he grew up, and encounters a mysterious woman who reminds him of someone he once knew.

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2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Dr. Sam Franks
... Ruby
Frank Gallacher ... Maurie Lewis
Lindley Joyner ... Young Sam Franks
... Silvy Lewis
Peter Curtin ... Dr. David Franks
Margot Knight ... Dorothy Lewis
... Russ
Dawn Klingberg ... Mrs. Sarks
David Ravenswood ... Lawyer
Stewart Faichney ... Reverend Mortenbury
Diana Greentree ... Mrs. Pickford
Ian Swan ... Police Sergeant
Mark Perren Jones ... Police Constable
Sally Plant ... Student #1
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Storyline

Sam and Silvy are best friends. One night, as they are watching a falling star while floating on their backs in a lake, Sylvy disappears from his side. Despite his best efforts, he cannot find her under water. Many years later, Sam, now a psychologist, returns to bury his father. Back in his hometown, he meets a woman called Ruby who reminds him in so many ways of his lost love. Written by Ploy P.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Sometimes the mysteries of your past find a way into your future. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for a scene of sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

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Language:

Release Date:

12 September 2002 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

Mistérios do Passado  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,968, 23 February 2003, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$120,079, 11 May 2003
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Cinevex)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The title is taken from the last line of the 1917 poem 'The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock' by T.S. Eliot. It reads: "Till human voices wake us and we drown". See more »

Goofs

When Sam and Ruby look at their reflections in the big window, Sam's face is partly shadowed in the reflection but when the shot is on him his face is fully lit with no shadows. See more »

Quotes

Silvy Lewis: If moths are attracted to the light, why don't they come out in the day?
Young Sam Franks: ...guess in the day, light comes to them.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Absolutely beautiful.

"Let us go then, you and I,

I have seen them riding seaward on the waves Combing the white hair of the waves blown back When the wind blows the water white and black. We have lingered in the chambers of the sea By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown Till human voices wake us, and we drown."

This excerpt from the poem 'The Love Of J. Alfred Prufrock' by Eliot is our theme for a film called Till Human Voices wake us, a film I've owned on DVD for almost two years and only got around to watching last night. I have a whole gigantic stack of films that number in the hundreds which I still have to conquer. Some are dodgy movies and risky looking indie muck that I picked up because they have an actor or actress I really love. Some end up being absolute gems that I wish I got around to far, far sooner. This is one of those. It's such a beautiful story, an atmospheric, airy glance into grief, regret, life after death, guilt and redemption. It stars Guy Pearce as Sam, an emotionally constrained professor of psychology who travels back to his town of origin in eerie, ambient Australia to bury his recently deceased father. The very moment he arrives he is flooded with memories both glad and sad, permeated deep to his core by a past that he perhaps purposefully numbed over with time and tide, revisiting the lost events of a youth painted by wonder and first love, and tainted by aching tragedy. We see in flashbacks his younger self (Lindley Joiner) barely a teenager in the lonely rural outback. He spent his days back then with his beautiful friend Sylvie (Brooke Harmon), and the two fall deeply, sublimely in love in that affectionate way that only two youngsters who are both experiencing it for the first time can profess. Tragedy strikes though, resulting in Sylvie's death and Sam's withdrawal from his life in the that town, and eventual flight from Australia, not to return until over a decade later, much older yet still plagued by the loss. Upon returning, he meets a mysterious girl named Ruby (Helena Bonham Carter) who he saves from jumping off a bridge. All she can remember is her name. Nothing else like who she is or what she was doing up there. Sam takes her in and tries to help her figure out who she is, and perhaps unbeknownst to him, who he is these days as well. Together they meander through meadows memories, exploring each other's thoughts, perceptions and feelings, gradually coming to some third act revelations that really shouldn't come as a surprise to any viewer with an ounce of intuition. The surprise comes not in being taken off guard by plot turns, because I certainly wasn't. No, the film never sets out to try and surprise you, and guessing what's going on before any reveal I suspect was part of its plan. What it floored me with, though, is the level of emotion and heights of pure crestfallen sadness that we need to sit through. I say need because this is a film about coming to terms with ones own past, hard parts and all. Sam has bottled up the loss of Sylvie for quite some time, and his character arc lets it all tumble out in some scenes that hit hard. It's never ugly or despairing though, and gracefully makes itself only as sorrowful as it needs to be. Pearce and Carter are painfully good in the leads, quietly devastating work for both. It's Harmon and Joiner who complete the song as young Sylvie and young Sam though, two young actors who are uncommonly good on camera and vastly skilled at imparting the raw, reckless and romantic nature of youth, particularly discovering love for the first time, and subsequently losing it in heartbreak that strikes far too soon, like an early summer storm. This is one I'm imagining not too many people have heard of, and one I might have gone a few more years without seeing if I hadn't randomly decided to watch it last night. I'm glad I did, and you should too.


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