TIL HUMAN VOICES WAKE US is a quiet, poignant Australian movie about a psychiatrist haunted by regrets from his past. The regrets come in the form of an apparent adult ghost of the man’s first love, who accidentally died when the boy was 15.
Guy Pearce of L.A. CONFIDENTIAL and MEMENTO plays Sam Franks, a psychiatrist who goes to bury his father at their old home in Genoa, a small country town. On the train there, Sam meets a strange woman named Ruby, played by Helena Bonham Carter of FIGHT CLUB and A ROOM WITH A VIEW. Ruby suddenly disappears when the train conductor asks to talk to Sam down the hall.
When Sam gets to his father’s old house, he starts recalling his relationship with a young crippled girl named Silvy when they were 15. Sam and Silvy, who wears braces, explore the countryside on Sam’s bike.
One rainy night back in the present, Sam sees that Ruby has apparently jumped from a bridge into the river where Sam and Silvy often sat watching the water. Sam saves Ruby, but, after the accident, she has lost her memory and all traces of her identity. Lyrically and poetically, the movie shows what happened between Sam and Silvy, as Sam and Ruby explore the secrets and passions of their past.
TIL HUMAN VOICES WAKE US uses the genre of supernatural romance to show how a past deadly tragedy can haunt the survivors. Silvy’s tragic fate haunts Sam, who has become emotionally withdrawn from the world, even from his dying father. As he deals with the ghosts of his past, represented by his relationship with Ruby, Sam is able to bury his feelings of regret and re-discover his passion for life.
Director Michael Petroni does an excellent job of expressing the lyrical, poetic tone of his movie. He effectively uses T.S. Eliot’s famous poem, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” whose last line gives this movie its title. The scenes between the young Sam and Silvy are the most effective, however, helped along by beautiful performances from Brooke Harmon as Silvy and Lindley Joyner as the young Sam. Those emotionally evocative scenes perfectly capture the idyllic past that was Sam’s life.
Although this movie features a ghost, the ghost becomes more like a metaphor at the end of the movie. Thus, the more objectionable content in TIL HUMAN VOICES WAKE US is a scene of implied fornication between adults, brief nudity and about five obscenities and profanities.
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SUMMARY: TIL HUMAN VOICES WAKE US is a poignant Australian movie about a psychiatrist haunted by regrets from his past. This is a lyrical, poetic movie full of quiet emotion, but it contains a brief sexual interlude, brief nudity and a small amount of foul language.
(H, C, B, O, L, S, NN, A, D, M) Humanist worldview with some brief Christian elements, including pastor quotes Psalm 23 at funeral, some moral elements and an occult metaphor of a man dealing with the ghosts of his past, including the "ghost" of a woman who died, but the ghost may not really exist; three obscenities including one "f" word, one strong profanity and one light profanity; no violence but implied drowning and woman almost drowns after falling into river during storm; implied fornication; upper male nudity and brief upper female nudity; alcohol use; smoking; and, boy afraid to accept man's offer of friendship after man's daughter dies and hypnosis scene to recover woman's memory.
GENRE: Romantic Drama/Supernatural Romance