Beyond Silence

on June 05, 1998 by Stephenie Slahor
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Lara (Tatjana Trieb), the daughter of deaf parents (Howie Seago and Emmanuelle Laborit), is their link to the hearing world through sign language. Her true heroine is the aunt she emulates, who gives her a clarinet. It becomes Lara's new life beyond that of her parents' silent world. Grown, a mature Lara (Sylvie Testud) realizes music will be her career, but her father wants her to stay home for him. Instead, Lara spends a summer in Berlin, preparing for a music academy audition.
The strongest portion of "Beyond Silence" is its first two-thirds, after which it bogs down with things unessential to the tale's heady beginnings. Its last third should focus on the conflict between Lara's career choice and her guilt at leaving her family, but it becomes preoccupied with showing that Lara is reaching adulthood. Trieb's performance steals the film, and it accounts for much of the film's early strength, where character development and plot bloom as Trieb portrays a Lara who knows that she struggles between two worlds. Most of that richness is lost when the older Lara appears, her character becoming too predictable and distanced. Starring Sylvie Testud, Tatjana Trieb, Howie Seago and Emmanuelle Laborit. Directed and written by Caroline Link. Produced by Thomas Wobke. A Miramax release. Drama. Rated PG-13 for a scene of sexuality. Running time: 109 min.
Tags: Sylvie Testud, Tatjana Trieb, Howie Seago and Emmanuelle Laborit. Directed and written by Caroline Link. Produced by Thomas Wobke. A Miramax release. Drama, clarinet, summer, music, conflict
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