We have to Smash our Silent Voice

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This movie intrigued me when I saw it feasted on by Japanese manga lovers’ eyes on Facebook. It turned out to be the most-awaited manga-series movie adaptation this year, which was initially released last year. Supposedly, it was to be shown in the Philippines last March , but the showing was postponed without any clear reason.

On its first showing day, it was a block-buster. When  I gave its trailer a try on You Tube, its concept stirred me: A deaf girl wants to befriend a bully boy.

The first thing that I liked about the movie is its  characters:  Shōko Nishimiya and Shōya Ishida. I could relate to Shoko, for I also have problem with my ears. Despite her handicap, she tries to be optimistic  and genial. She wants to live as ordinarily as what her classmates do. On the other hand, Shoya is a bully who has no interest in others. All he wants to do is to make fun of his classmates. He feels a certain amount of animosity toward Shoya, especially whenever she is so friendly to him. It’s a kind of yin-yang scenario.

But what gave me a significant impact is Shoya’s existential crisis. After Shoko transferred to other school in light of his persistent bullying, he became the butt of others’ bullying. He became an outcast. He lost his friends , especially the ones he usually spent time together with. Then,he would look at the people he was no longer close to with an X over their faces. In addition, he began to question himself about the real meaning of being a “friend” and life. He found his life meaningless. Or he may be bothered by the specter of his conscience after what he did to Shoko. Consequently, he attempted to take his life by jumping over a bridge, but realized that there is life he needs to attend to: his mother.

In a deeper context, the title itself is not only about Shoko’s being a hearing-impaired, unable to give voice to her personal hopes, fears, and dreams, but also about all the characters  who are inextricably intertwined with the story. All of them are interrelated to their hidden, deep-seated acrimony.  For instance, Shoya had never been apologetic about his being a bully causing his classmates to have been stuck in a past they could never let go of. Miyoko Sahara, the only student who befriended Shoko for a short time, had to confront the fact that she ran away from Shoko in fear of her classmates’ bully. Miki Kawai  whom Shoya referred to as a hypocrite for not doing anything when Shoko was being bullied, for the only thing she would love to do is to be praised for her beauty. Naoka Ueno, who secretly loves Shoya,  hates and blames Shoko for making  Shoya sad. But , in truth, she  also abhors her for  being weak , unable to protect herself. Those major characters , aside from the others, contributed to the deafening silence, to the broken past leading them to not move on in their  life. To lead a happy, normal life, all they had to do is to smash their silent voice to smithereens  by sharing  their life with one another again, shattering the illusions of fears, egotism, hopelessness . In the end, Shoya mustered up enough courage to face the people he would always look at with an X over their faces. The ending was redemption.

It’s  my first time to review an animation adaptation movie  despite that  I haven’t read its manga series yet. Personally speaking, it is not as gripping and exhilarating as the other Japanese anime I have watched such as Your Name by Makoto Shinkai and Spirited Away by Hayao Miyazaki. It is a bit boring since  the title itself  has major  relevance to the totality of the movie. Nevertheless, its characters and the story replete with  deeper moral values  highlight the movie. Therefore, it  is still  worth watching. 🙂

Rating: 3/ 5 stars ( I liked it.)




Me Before You : A Film Review


Directed by: Thea Sharrock

Starring:Emilia Clark ( Lou Clark )

                 Sam Claflin ( Will Traynor)

Based on:Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Rating: 2/ 5 stars

It’s an “illness” or a “disease”  among us readers, if you belong to us , that we read the book first before we watch its movie adaptation. We make sure that we are familiar with all the angles of the story: the plots,  the characters, the settings, and  even the scenes that we are supposed to catch a glimpse of. However, there are times that we   tend to be  disappointed with the movie because  it turns out to be the other way around. It plays down to the details  that we cannot  get over and  give us deeper impression. This way of movie  adaptation  bears resemblance to Jojo Moyes’s best-selling novel Me Before You .

The main problem with the movie , along with some movies I have watched,  is  that they do not include the other details. In other words, some important parts of the story  are highlighted since a movie should usually  play within one and a half hour – a big challenge for all the  productions of the movie.  So what happens is that  it appears to be a “quickie”. Meaning to say , just create one how much effort one could put in. Unfortunately,  this shortcoming is  conspicuous in the movie. I wonder if its director  is aware of that movie snobs nowadays are cynical since movies are now more  easily accessible in the internet.

Lately, I reviewed  the book and was generously gave it 4  out of 5 stars despite that  I did not find the book romantic  as what the author may have intended to be. Rather, I was impressed by Jojo Moyes’s  ingenious writing skills and by how she adulterated the idea on euthanasia  with the  main character’s  realistic life dramas. Read my review here.


However, I did not find in the movie the good   points  I found in the book.  I had expected that the movie would give importance to the deeper  friendship burgeoned  between Lou Clark and Will Traynor. That is why I loved this book. In addition, Lou Clark’s sense of humor  which later changed Will Traynor’s somber mood  is not underpinned. I missed their punch  lines  which somehow made me rolling in the aisles and tearfully remember Mary Lennox-and-Colin Craven scene in the Secret Garden . Somehow, Emilia Clarke   was able to characterize Lou. She  is able to depict  Lou’s weird and funny getups and clumsiness. One more thing is the unforgettable scenes in Mauritius, especially the bed scene when both of them  were  watching the   storm coming into existence. It is  a dry scene for me. There is no excitement  as what happened in the book.

Another part that I was not satisfied with is  Will Traynor’s feelings that Jojo Moyes may have wanted us to be overcome with. Will in the book is sober and antipathetic. However, I could not feel it in the movie , except the fact that I was  quite impressed by the actor Sam Claflin‘s  knack for feigning a quadriplegic patient.  Besides, Jojo Moyes’s descriptions of his physical exquisiteness  leaves nothing to my imagination more than the movie does, as you know, we are living in a censored world. Furthermore, the movie  did not strongly  do justice to Will’s determination to put an end to his miserable life, of which I was not convinced in the book.

I would say that  the book’s ending had a greater impact upon me than the movie’s . I didn’t like the scenes where Lou had to have a falling out with her parents to support Will’s doggone desire to die in Switzerland. Besides, the part where Lou reads Will’s letter at a coffee shop in Paris is not as heart-breaking as in the book. Its ambiance doesn’t  give an implication of bereavement moment.

The only thing that  had a quite profound impact on me is Will Traynor’s parents’ compassionate empathy for him.In the book, both of them are aloof and emotionally restrained.

I may not be a movie snob nor a  film graduate, but I  take an exception to a movie based on my expectation. If I find a book superb, I  figure on its movie adaptation to be  a whole lot better. But if the movie is awfully bad, I expect its movie to be stupendous. Hence, woe betide you. Do not take me seriously. I am just subjective.