Review of A Silent Voice (2016)
Yamada Naoko (director).
Seen in 2017.
A bully in the last year of elementary school crosses a line and sees his life crash so hard he’s still struggling in high school.
Drama. A lot of the detail here stands up well to scrutiny. The film is better in every way than All About Lily Chou-Chou (2001) and more similar to Nobuko (1940). However, there are several curious choices that indicate a kitchen-sink approach to the adaptation from Ōima Yoshitoki’s comic. Consider the inclusion of Shōya’s brother-in-law, the Brazilian Pedro, in just two or three brief shots, doing nothing. Pedro’s daughter, Maria, never makes it past the level of a comic/cute relief character, nearly always in a good mood and wearing crab-themed clothing with matching upturned braids resembling crab claws. I would have appreciated yet more realism there, and in the character design. Notice how the tag in Shōya’s t-shirt is always sticking out over the back; it’s the same gentle yet obvious type of stylization as in the live-action Blue Blazes (2014).