Speak (2004)

speakHaving received praise at the Sundance Film Festival and winning the Woodstock Film Festival in 2004 as Best Narrative Feature, I thought I’d check out “Speak” featuring a 14 year old Kristen Steward who delivers an astounding performance as the traumatized teenager “Melinda”, on the verge of breaking.

Over the summer she was at a party with some friends and at some point gets lured away by one of the boys with whom she started to flirt and kiss and consequently gets raped. The viewer is told about this in blurred flashbacks as they happen to Melinda bit by bit throughout the movie.

Melinda starts to distance herself more and more from the people around her. She has decided not to speak about it and tries to suppress what has happened but to no avail. It just keeps surfacing again and again, either triggered by seeing the person that did this to her at school or by reliving it in her nightmares, torturing her very soul. Her choice not to speak about it only drives her further away from her parents and the world around her and only through art is she eventually able to express her anger and pain.

The mute viewer accompanies her on every step of this painful and slow catharsis, always hoping that she will find the courage to speak. This is not your every day popcorn movie and as dramas go, it has great emotional depth. Will she decide to speak?

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