The Quiet


by Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

This is an odd movie. At times it seems to aspire toward status as an Oscar-baiting drama about dysfunctional families, ala The Hours. At other times it borrows from Southern Gothic melodrama, like The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. At other times it plays out like a conventional Hollywood thriller. At still other times it flirts with the conventions of the lurid, youth-oriented exploitation thriller, in the manner of Wild Things. The trailer goes for something still different, and makes it seem like a horror film.

It's a little of each of those, and they don't always blend easily, so that it forms a cinematic cocktail with a consistency less like a smoothly blended martini than like a rusty nail. No matter how hard you try to blend in that Drambuie, it always leaves that weird oil slick floating on the surface.

The film begins with a dark-haired cheerleader telling her blonde friend what a great family she has: successful mom, handsome dad, beautiful home. This conversation will soon reveal itself to have been darkly ironic. The blonde's household is about as dysfunctional as possible. Her mom is a pill-popping space cadet and dad is fucking his cheerleader daughter. The already volatile situation is brought to the boiling point by the family's adoption of their godchild, a deaf teenage girl who has suddenly found herself orphaned. While the cheerleader is one of the most popular kids in school, her new step-sister is a freakish outsider who is even rejected by the losers, and sits completely alone at lunch.

The Gothic portion of the film soon takes over, as all of the family members start to confide their innermost secrets to the deaf-mute. It is just a way of getting things off their chests without actually betraying any secrets because, well, she can't hear what they're saying anyway. Various people at school do the same thing, including a sincere guy who courts the deaf girl in earnest, and confesses all his innermost secrets with his back to her. The film reveals quite early that the deaf-mute girl is neither deaf nor mute really deaf, and has quickly learned the secrets of the family, the school, and probably the Chinese Navy for all I know, since everybody has conversations around her as if she were not there at all.

The next phase of the film is the Oscar-baiting portion, in which the incestuous father confesses how he hates himself and wants to quit the abuse, and the cheerleader daughter informs him she is pregnant, and so forth. We then find out that the mother really knows what's going on, but withdraws into her own drug-addled state and ignores the situation. The daughter finally decides that she doesn't want to sleep with dad any more. Dad gets upset at her.

At this point the film becomes a thriller, with all of the major characters locked in a tense situation which will soon come to a head in violence.

The 6.6 at IMDb is truly an aberration, since Yahoo voters rate it a C, which is about as low as Yahoo's ratings ever go! Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo, 4.2 at IMDb, is also rated C at Yahoo.  Even the 5.7 from the top IMDb voters seems high for a film with no box office, a C at Yahoo, and a 12% rating by RT's "cream of the crop," but the difference is a matter of interpretation. The strongest criticism argued that the film's dialogue and plot twists were so bad as to be comical. The film's IMDb supporters countered, "Exactly. It's a spoof and a dark comedy!"

I guess there is some evidence to support the dark comedy theory. For example, there's one point where the cheerleader tells her dad she can't fuck him at that moment because she has to iron her cheerleading uniform. Whether the cheese was intentional or not, I found the film too dark to allow for any real humor or eroticism, yet too sleazy to be taken seriously.


* Widescreen anamorphic, 2.35

* "Fetal Pig, Fetal Pig, Let Me In": Dissecting the Dissection Scene

* "Locations: Shooting in Austin"

* "Sans Celluloid: The Quiet and Digital Cinema"

* "Script Development"

* "Picking the Cast for The Quiet"


It was nominated for an Oscar for cinematography.

3 James Berardinelli (of 4 stars)
23 Rotten Tomatoes  (% positive)
12 Rotten Tomatoes Elite  (% positive)
29 (of 100)


6.6 IMDB summary (of 10)
C Yahoo Movies


Box Office Mojo. It grossed next to nothing: ($381,000) in a maximum of 366 theaters.



  • Edie Falco shows her breasts and most of her bum when she walks around a room in panties, begging her husband to look at her.



Our Grade:

If you are not familiar with our grading system, you need to read the explanation, because the grading is not linear. For example, by our definition, a C is solid and a C+ is a VERY good movie. There are very few Bs and As. Based on our descriptive system, this film is a:


It is impossible to shoe-horn into a genre, and has a couple of confusing plot points, but is a unique film which has developed a small cult following.