Wow! I just found out that today, January 20, 2014 is the 10th year anniversary of the release of this fine movie by Showtime. I really love this movie and have watched it numerous times.The actress Kristen Stewart shines in it.The main character is a young teenage girl named Melinda Sordino. Sordino is Italian for " mute," and Melinda can mean, among other things,a Linden tree. Ironically, the quasi "mute" Melinda is the very person doing all the narrating throughout the movie. A poignant story of a teenage girl's ordeal and recovery. Many other character's in the movie have similar type names, for example; Heather is a friend that unfriends Melinda because Melinda is too depressed. And Ivy who unfriends her because of a misunderstanding. In fact, Melinda refers to cliques as "clans" which is from the Latin for sprout.And the author Nathaniel Hawthorne is mentioned in her English class and Hawthorne is a hedge bush of the rose family.Hawthorne's book, The Scarlet Letter is mentioned as being full of symbolism.Which this story seems to also be full of.I can't figure out why the author,Laurie Hals Anderson, of Speak uses so many horticultural references.But interestingly enough,right after Melinda is sexually assaulted by Andy,who is a popular teen, Melinda stays in his Jeep Wrangler after he leaves her. She looks through the windshield as she's weeping and sees a large majestic tree. Is the tree a " mute witness" to the crime?" We see the rape in a series of flashbacks by Melinda.Later on, when she begins her freshman year at Merryweather High, her lovable bohemian art teacher, Mr. Freeman, instructs the class to pick a slip of paper out of a damaged globe that will have their year long art project on it. Melinda picks one that has the word " tree." She tries to put it back but Mr Freeman says not to because that is her " destiny, you can't change your destiny."Also, she turns inwards and starts to cut class and hideout in a utility room at her school.And then she, like the trees and shrubs around her, starts to recover after the cold winter and she finally begins to regain her strength and courage. This may explain why the author used the tree as a symbol for Melinda.The story line does not suffer from several plots interweaving like we see so much of but rather all the focus is on this young teen and her nearly year long recovery from her trauma.She befriends a very nice classmate named Dave Petrakis. Perhaps more symbolism here because the name Petrakis refers to a rock or maybe even a bedrock. And he is supportive of her while never really knowing what happened to her.The cast is finely tuned and hums like (fill in your favorite set of wheels).Kudos to the composer Christopher Libertino for a fantastic musical score. His use of a chamber orchestra and piano near the end takes that scene to lofty heights.Happy 10th Year Anniversary, Speak.
With having (in 2002) just recovered from a pretty bad cold,I had a strong feeling that one of the things which I wanted to do first was to hang out with my friend again.With (at last) feeling well enough to go out,one of my friends suggested that we could go and watch a film.When we got to the box office,we found out that the cinema had just one more showing for the night,of a film called Panic Room.Due to that being the only option available,me and my friend decided to go for the film.Whilst watching the film (which now,seems to have sadly been mostly forgotten) I was very intrigued by the actress who played the daughter to Jodie Fosters lead character.Ocasionaly,every so often,I would check my local DVD rental store,to see if the girl (whose name I later found out is Kristen Stewart) had appeared in any other movies...Suddenly at some point in 2007 I began to hear that Stewart was going to make a bit of a come back that year by,co-starring in the Sean Penn film Into the Wild,and also having the lead role in an adaptation of a book which I had been hearing called Twilight.After Twilightmania had turned her into one of the main stars of a mega-hit franchise,I was interested in seeing how she would perform as Joan Jett in the Rock N Roll film The Runaways.From about the first five minutes of the very entertaining film ,I was very impressed with how good Stewarts performance was,and how well she captured the look of Jett.Around two or three weeks ago,I was chatting to a friend about how much I had enjoyed Runaways,and I was given a surprising reply,that if I enjoyed her work in that,then I really needed to see an indie film she had made,which has never come out in the UK.The Plot:With her parents and teachers hoping that Melinda Sordino can continue to keep getting the grades which she has been achieving,Melinda knows that everyone is expecting her to achieve "big things" in her Freshman year. Sadly just before the start of the new term,all of her friends,announce that they don't want to be friends with her any longer.This is due to Sordino being labelled a "squealer",after ruining the end of term party by calling up the cops for no reason at all (although the real reason Sordino phoned for the police-which, she has never told her family or friends about,was because she was brutally raped.) Due to (understandabre) still suffering from having been raped Melinda, becomes an "outsider" in her school,with most of the time she spends there, Melinda does not talk to anyone at all,and keeps herself as far away from other students as possible,mainly by spending her school time in the school storage room.Thankfully for Sordino,she gets an unexpected sign of light in her life from her art teacher Mr Freeman,who challenges Melinda to do art projects for the whole school year,which are based around tress.Slowly but surely,Sordino starts to let (a little bit) of her held feelings be shown in her art work,which gets Freeman to try and get Melina out of her shell.With having gained some of her confidence back,Melinda confidence gets badly damaged,when she discovers that the man who raped her,is now trying to become the boyfriend of her former best friend.Fearing that the same thing could happen to her former friend,Sordino decides that she has to try and put the disturbing events behind her,so she can reveal to everyone what happened,before its too late.. View on the film:When I first heard about the films plot,my original fear was that the movie would fall into the easy trappings of being an over the top melodrama.Impressivly, under rated director Jessica Sharzer (who also co-wrote the excellent screenplay with Annie Young Frisbie) avoids all of the trappings and instead makes a stunning emotionally raw film.For the rape scenes Sharzer avoids the risk of turning it into an exploitation film,by focusing on the fear and terror that it is causing Sordino.Whilst the film does look at the effects of the rape,Shazer smartly makes the trouble that Melinda is having at school of being an "outsider" something that any man or woman who has gone through similar things can easily relate to.Sharzer also gives the film a fantastic rough round the edges feel by,having almost all of the colours washed out,and giving the films look,a beautiful rough,fuzzy appearance.Looking for information about the film,I was stunned to discover that Kristen Stewart was only 13 when she starred in this film!.Unlike most actresses of that age,who would have either turned the character into a complete nervous wreck,or someone that has a huge chip on their shoulder at school.Stewart,instead gives a fantastic,surprisingly subtle performance,with Melinda at first being shown to be very scared about speaking up to anyone,or talking about anything.But as Mr Freeman (Steve Zahn,who I feel may have given the best performance that I have seen him do) starts to get Melinda to open up,Stewart shows Sordino gradually change into someone that feels they can at last open their mouth and speak. Final View on the film:A beautifully raw film,with an amazing screenplay,very classy directing from the sadly under used Sharzer and astonishing performances from the brilliant cast.