A Silent Voice Review: An Unexpected Emotional Rollercoaster!

A Silent Voice Review
Image Credits: Gkids

A Silent Voice is a theatrical film with a unique storyline that won the Japanese Movie Critics Awards for Best Animated Feature Film. Well, the film is categorized as a romantic drama, but we believe it is more than a usual romantic drama, the film is about friendships, and love rather it implies Platonic love.

This film deals with the themes like disabilities, depression, bullying and suicide. However, the movie implied a positive conclusion. It does not just revolve around the theme of bullying, it depicts the collective failures of society, and how bullying impacts not just the bullied but the bully itself.

A Silent Voice Review!

Excellent Screenplay

A Silent Voice Review!
Image Credits: Gkids

One of the best points of this film is its screenplay. Reiko Yoshida has done spectacular work. Very nicely, he depicted a simple story of the psychological complications of the characters in a remarkable sequence and wrapped their journey up smoothly in 130 mins and led it towards a positive conclusion.

The story jumps in between the present and the past of the two protagonists and shows how the two lives merged up to a point. Contradictions of lives and characters are portrayed really well.

How life and death are connected and reside together is shown in a scene where a lively butterfly amazed and connected two young girls, who were present at a funeral. Yoshida received the honor in 2017 for doing such an outstanding job for the Best Screenplay/Original Story award at Tokyo Anime Award Festival.

Intricacies of the Characters

A Silent Voice Review!
Image Credits: Gkids

Though there are two protagonists, the film revolves around several characters and the psychological intricacies, contradictions, and transformation of each character are illustrated in detail and handled with sincerity.

Shouya Ishida, who is bullying the girl for looking ‘cool’ in front of his friends and being ‘fitted’ into the norms of the society, is the one who is suggesting the bullied girl “to be smarter” to fit into this cruel world.

When he was accused of bullying the girl, and ostracized by his classmates, and eventually, when the girl moved away, his psychological transformations began. Years later, he set off on a journey of redemption, where the prime story, the journey of the transformation of the characters began.

On the contrary, Shouko Nishimiya, the deaf bullied girl, is portrayed as an empathetic and strong person. She always holds a smile on her face and never shows her pain to anyone. Silence is an inevitable part of her life.

Being unable to experience every beauty of the world fully, unable to communicate normally, she couldn’t or didn’t want to express herself. Eventually, she finds herself alone, and she gets caught up in depression. Shouko Nishimiya won the best character award at the 2017 Newtype Anime Awards. The voice artists, especially the two protagonists, did an impressive job.

Stunning Visual Images

A Silent Voice Review!
Image Credits: Gkids

The simple artwork of Yoshitoki Oima expresses the characters very well. However, the film doesn’t cover the entire manga. And some visual images which were added later for the cinematic experience, like the comparison of human life and egg yolk, hit our minds.

The film starts with an image of an odd colorful fish in a school of pale-colored fish, which is an excellent portrayal of the main characters.

There are plenty of images illustrated to portray the mood of the protagonists and the film, like a sunny, bright vacant desk in a crowded class or some bright-colored flowers waving on a bright sunny day. And the changing course of mood through some images like one shady secluded space underneath an isolated tree to a bright paddy pasture heightens the solitary mood.

Some simple images portray amendments nicely, like fixing a torn calendar with a handwritten piece of paper. One of the best images was of the protagonists, standing alone before committing suicide; one under the bright sky of a sunny day and one under a night sky with fireworks. Animation work and background score enriched the artwork brilliantly.

Mesmerizing Animation!

A Silent Voice Review!
Image Credits: Gkids

Another best aspect of this film. Kyoto Animation has done a fantastic job with the simple yet expressive artwork of Yoshitoki Oima. Light is used very beautifully with the simple artwork, as it enhances the mood and tone of the images.

The soft color palette complements the gloomy vibe of the film. And it makes the characters look a bit more realistic. Some night sequences were excellent and eye-soothing. This film received several awards and was nominated several times for its exquisite work.

Suitable Background Scores

The background scores have done quite a justice to the film. The film starts with a very remorseful background score which was present on and off throughout the film and is intensified by the internal struggles of the characters, but it didn’t appear monotonous to the ears.

The sudden change of the background score from a tragic mood to a happy and exciting mood creates a blow in audiences’ minds.

A Few More Thoughts!

The title is appropriate and justice is done with the title; the trailer of the film is itself evidence of that. Silence is beautifully used throughout the film as well.

One of the amazing examples of that is when the doctor says something to the Shouko’s(the deaf girl) Grandmother which makes her worried, and her granddaughter exchanges a look with her and gives a smile.

Some other amazing examples of using silence are the dream sequences. Lights, music and visual images are used in a harmony to present the beautiful screenplay which makes it almost perfect.

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Posted by
Sayantani Banerjee

Sayantani Banerjee is an independent individual and a lifelong learner who aspires to make a change through her thoughts and her voice. Banerjee has worked with different communities and has performed diverse roles. She has been volunteering for a human rights organization and currently is working as a freelance writer.