A Silent Voice Review
A beautiful and touching story about an unlikely friendship
When Shoya Ishida meets the new girl in his class, there's no way he could be prepared for the journey it would take him on.Shoya Ishida is the cool kid in his class with his best friends always following close behind him, enjoying everything that childhood and school should be about. That is until a new girl joins his class, Shoko Nishimiya. Shoko has impaired hearing and has trouble with her speech, immediately separating her from the rest of the kids. Using a notebook to communicate and get to know her new classmates, Shoko tries her hardest to settle in but Shoya, finding her disability frustrating and funny, hones in on her on her vulnerability and uses it to make her life at school as difficult as possible.Five years later and Shoya is now the outcast at school, plagued with guilt from the torment he inflicted on Shoko. Realising the error of his actions he desperately tries to find a way to make all the wrongs he did right but Shoya is alone and the subject of social isolation. Attempting to understand what friendship is truly about Shoya is forced to face his own demons whilst he learns to accept those around him for who they really are. A Silent Voice is an incredibly beautiful film with delicate imagery throughout creating a very soft and feminine feel to it without being overly girlie in tone
The feminine tone of A Silent Voice naturally comes from female writer Reiko Yoshida and director Naoko Yamada and was produced by Kyoto Animation studio. Tackling the ideas of school bullying, disabilities and teenage life in general, A Silent Voice manages to showcase these themes, amongst others, in a very considerate and sensitive manner. We follow several young characters, specifically Shoya, through adolescence as they try to accept Shoko but ultimately wind up pushing her further away. The film is adapted from a manga strip by Yoshitoki Oima and delivered using the point of view of the two lead characters Shoya and Shoko. The film utilises specific camera work and sound to give an insight into the mindset of the character's increasing sense of isolation. Elements of humour lift what could have been a very sad and depressing film and it’s this balance that makes it enjoyable to watch - the cat scene is definitely one that will have you cracking a smile.
It’s not your usual anime but A Silent Voice is well worth your time
The film is one that plays up and down the visual and the audio throughout, Yamada worked closely with the composer Kensuke Ushio in creating the soundtrack for the film. Aside from the opening track by The Who, the remainder of the soundtrack is soft piano, ambient music or complete silence. In addition some scenes where sign language is used features no subtitles, giving the audience the chance to interpret the meaning for themselves whilst experiencing, albeit a fraction, what it would be like to be unable to understand the people around you. For an animated film it’s easy to forget that you’re not actually watching real life people as you get sucked into the storyline with ease. The breaking and making of relationships is really what it is at the heart of this film, between both friends and family.
A Silent Voice is funny and heart warming with a distinct message about acceptance, redemption and the meaning of friendship. There are no cute fluffy talking animals or Ghibli-style fantasy because it doesn’t need it. It’s a solid film with highs and lows that despite not having a complete resolution at the end will leave you feeling like you’ve watched a really good and satisfying film.
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