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Speak (2004)Speak (2004)

Speak (2004)

A survivor of sexual assault navigates her first year of high school

Drama

7.9

movie

United States of America

English

Discussion-sparking, Slice-of-Life, Well-acted

2004

Female director, Jessica Sharzer

Allison Siko, Caitlyn Folley, D. B. Sweeney

89 min

Synopsis

Freshman high-school student Melinda has refused to speak ever since she called the cops on a popular summer party. With her old friends snubbing her for being a rat, and her parents too busy to notice her troubles, she folds into herself, trying to hide her secret: that star senior Andy raped her at the party. But Melinda does manage to find solace in her art class headed by Mr. Freeman.

Our Take

7.9
Jenna Gordon

Kristen Stewart stars as Melinda, a girl entering the gauntlet of freshman year in high school who is also carrying a heavy secret: after suffering an assault over the summer at a party, she has become determined to speak as little as possible. Melinda’s subjective experience is presented without mediation, melodrama nor moralism, but rather as life through her eyes: teachers are puff-chested bullies; parents are mumbling, ephemeral strangers; whispering girls are talking about her, all the time. It is a realistic portrait of the inner life and experience of a young woman whose sudden introversion, academic decline, and loss of social connections appear to go completely unnoticed, while she struggles to process and unburden herself of the weight of trauma. It’s an empathetic story well-served by Stewart’s understated performance and the film’s quiet pace.

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