Written by: Kristen Lopez, Editor in Chief
Jamie Babbitt is a truly one-of-a-kind director. Her films are unique in story and execution. Her film debut But I’m a Cheerleader was a cult film right out the gate for its story about a lesbian cheerleader sent to a “rehabilitation” camp. While Babbitt has not yet gotten the recognition she deserves, she has become an outspoken advocate against censorship, as seen in her cameo in the film This Film is Not Yet Rated. Her latest movie came and went without a trace, after a couple months being pushed around the schedule. While The Quiet is not going to be Oscar nominated anytime soon, it is a strange and unique thriller that a lot of people should enjoy – but especially horny men.
The Quiet focuses on the life of the Deere family. Father Paul (Martin Donovan), mother Olivia (Edie Falco) and teenage daughter Nina (Elisha Cuthbert). All appearances show that this is your typical family living the American dream in suburbia. That all changes after the Deere’s goddaughter Dot (Camilla Belle) comes to live with them. Dot, a deaf mute, has just lost her father in a car accident. Since Dot cannot hear and doesn’t talk, the entire family starts to reveal their secrets to the young girl. On top of that, friends of the family also begins to confess their sins to her. The film takes a turn when Dot realizes the horrible family secret that the Deere family is hiding: incest. Should Dot reveal a secret of her own, or watch the family crumble around her?
Never heard of this movie? Well don’t be shy because hardly anybody has. After being filmed in 2005, it actually wasn’t released until the middle of 2006, where it stayed in theaters for about two weeks before disappearing. The Quiet deals with some very heavy themes, those of incest, being handicapped, etc. When Dot realizes the terrible things going on in her family, the idea that she cannot do anything to stop it is heavily enforced. When Nina and the clan start confess their secrets, it is as though they think they are being absolved of their sins in a way.
Nina is your typical all American girl, a blond, pretty cheerleader. While she is a bitch who rules the school, you get the feeling that she and Dot once had a closeness that has been worn away by time and social constraints. However, a scene where Nina watches a film with her hands over her ears shows that Dot really does have an impact on her life.
And this is what The Quiet does. It makes an audience ponder its deeper meanings and themes. You’ll discuss aspects of this film long after you leave the theater. Being a high schooler when this came out, it had a lot of relevance to me, and yet I knew kids my age wouldn’t embrace it. This film is way over the heads of a typical high school student.
The acting in the film is all top notch as well. Elisha Cuthbert really shows some range in the character of Nina. You see clearly how she puts on a face that she has to keep up for her father and friends, when really she is a sad victim of abuse. When the film starts, she and Dot are bitter rivals, yet by the end they share a horrible secret together. Camilla Belle also shines in her role, since she has to convey so many emotions with just her face. The veteran actors give always stellar performances but it is the two young leads who take away the most of your emotion.
Why did I mention in this film that The Quiet would be great for pervy men? Well, a lot of this movie has Cuthbert in her panties or various states of undress. While the running theme is incest in the film, the audience of men I saw this film with just saw it as an older man with a younger girl. In addition, Babbitt also lets a hint of homosexuality come through. While Babbitt is an always amazing director, she doesn’t like to hide her own homosexuality, so she places an almost unnatural bond between Dot and Nina that a lot of guys will love.
Now hopefully people won’t rent this just to see Elisha Cuthbert in her panties, but I do concede it is an incentive. I love underrated films, and this movie has that word written all over it. If you have a free weekend, take a moment to rent The Quiet. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.
Author: Kristen Lopez, Editor in Chief
Kristen Lopez is the editor-in-chief of CC2K and a freelance pop culture essayist. Her work has appeared on Roger Ebert, The Hollywood Reporter, and The Daily Beast. When she’s not burning down Film Twitter she runs two podcasts, the female-centric film show Citizen Dame, and the classic film-themed Ticklish Business.