Movie Review: Beyond Silence (1996)

BeyondSilenceby Brad Nelson   6/22/14
If your taste buds have been blown out by over-salted American fare, this movie isn’t for you. This is a quiet little human interest story about clarinets and Krauts.

Set in modern-day Germany, young Lara is the hearing daughter of two deaf parents. She helps out her parents in many ways, including signing to her mother the dialogue of her favorite romance movies.

But there is friction in the family. Lara’s father, Martin, has issues with his sister, Clarissa, and with his father as well. Clarissa is an accomplished clarinet player. And she gives young Lara her old clarinet as a present one Christmas and encourages her to learn to play it.

This sounds like a win-win situation. But there are outstanding issues regarding music between Martin and Clarissa. Martin seems to resent that he is missing out on this aspect of the hearing world (music). He especially resents his sister, Clarissa, drawing close to Lara because of this shared love of music while the father is left out.

There’s a lot of signing in this movie, but because it’s a German film requiring subtitles anyway, it works. And it puts you in the world of a deaf person with far less schmaltz than a movie such as Children of a Lesser God.

The characters seem real. There are very few clichés. This is just a well-made movie all around. But it’s not a car-crash-a-minute film. You have to enjoy watching some of the subtle relationships and happenings between the family members. But it seems an honest movie. It’s available for streaming on Netflix.

Brad is editor and chief disorganizer of StubbornThings.
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Brad Nelson

About Brad Nelson

I like books, nature, politics, old movies, Ronald Reagan (you get sort of a three-fer with that one), and the founding ideals of this country. We are the Shining City on the Hill — or ought to be. However, our land has been poisoned by Utopian aspirations and feel-good bromides. Both have replaced wisdom and facts.
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