Release Date: June 05, 1998
Starring: Sylvie Testud, Tatjana Trieb,
Howie Seago, Emmanuelle
Laborit, Hansa Czypionka, &
Audience: Older teenagers to adults
Rating: Not rated by MPAA
Runtime: 110 minutes
Distributor: Miramax Films
Director: Caroline Link
Executive Producer: Dieter Nobbe & Uli Putz
Producer: Jakob Claussen, Luggi
Waldleitner & Thomas Wobke
Writer: Caroline Link & Beth Serlin
Address Comments To:
Please address your comments to:
Harvey Weinstein & Robert Weinstein, Chairmen
Co-Chairmen Miramax Films
375 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10013-2338
(B, C, Pa, L, V, S, NN, A, D, M) Light moral worldview of familial love with hymn singing & some pagan elements; 3 mild obscenities; woman slaps man & implied death by bicycle accident; implied fornication; brief side male & female nudity; alcohol use; smoking; and, some rebellious attitudes, a girl runs away from home & a gross scene of a pregnant woman's water breaking.
BEYOND SILENCE was nominated in the Best Foreign Language Film category at this year's Academy Awards. Set in Germany, this beautiful production chronicles the life of a young girl whose parents are deaf. Largely demonstrating love of family and forgiveness, it is flawed by some implied fornication and rebellious attitudes.
The story opens with Lara interpreting for her parents at a bank. Lara is the mouthpiece of the family, converting sign language to the spoken word. If she doesn't like what her parents are signing to another person, she will say something else to that person. The seeds of rebellion are in place, and the movie continually shows her antagonism with her parents, especially her father who seems so dependant on her.
One day, Lara is given a clarinet by her Aunt Clarissa, an attractive woman who has played the clarinet all her life and has a very fragile relationship with her brother, Lara's father. Instantly, Lara takes to the instrument, and her grades in other classes suffer. As Lara's passion for the instrument grows, the rift between she and her parents grows. She is granted some reprieve when her baby sister is born.
Jump ahead 9 years. Lara is seeking music colleges for her wonderful talent. She hardly speaks with her parents anymore and lets her sister do the interpreting. Finally, in a moment of frustration, Lara leaves the house, finds a boyfriend who teaches deaf children and moves in with her former Uncle, Clarissa's ex-husband. As the movie comes to a close, Lara fornicates off-screen with her boyfriend, faces an unexpected death in the family, auditions for music college, and begins a reconciliation with her father.
BEYOND SILENCE is a handsome, beautiful film with picturesque countryside, high-end dÈcor, sharp clothing, and a cast of well-scrubbed rugged-looking people. More beauty is added with the inclusion of a great deal of clarinet music. However, BEYOND SILENCE remains an unoriginal work because it is too reminiscent of a better movie, MR. HOLLAND'S OPUS. In that film, the audience understood both the frustrations of the parent and the child. Here, the audience only understands Lara's pain. Her father mainly sits in his workshop complaining that Lara isn't around more. The audience never gets to know his lost dreams and desires.
BEYOND SILENCE demonstrates a great deal of moral lessons including loving one's family, forgiveness and working through problems. Lara's family even seems to be Christian because they are seen in church singing a Christian hymn. Nevertheless, the frustration's that Lara feels leads her to some rebellious attitudes, and she practices illicit sex with her boyfriend (though we never see it).
In BEYOND SILENCE, Lara's struggle of having two deaf parents is unique, and her story remains one largely unseen by anyone's eyes. Despite her flaws and sins, she is largely loyal and true to her family and demonstrates that by accepting her father in the end.