You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Speak

Tortured adolescence is one life phase that's become too often the <I>plat du jour</I> of Amerindie cinema. The high water mark recently set by Catherine Hardwicke's "Thirteen" only makes debuting feature helmer/co-scenarist Jessica Sharzer's "Speak" seem all the more pedestrian. Tale of a high school girl who's withdrawn and picked-on after a traumatic incident is earnest, but routine handling saps whatever distinctive qualities existed in acclaimed teen-fiction scribe Laurie Halse Anderson's source novel.

Cast:
With: Kristen Stewart, Michael Angarano, Robert John Burke, Hallee Hirsch, Eric Lively, Leslie Lyles, Elizabeth Perkins, Allison Siko, D.B. Sweeney, Steve Zahn.

Tortured adolescence is one life phase that’s become too often the plat du jour of Amerindie cinema. The high water mark recently set by Catherine Hardwicke’s “Thirteen” only makes debuting feature helmer/co-scenarist Jessica Sharzer’s “Speak” seem all the more pedestrian. Tale of a high school girl who’s withdrawn and picked-on after a traumatic incident is earnest, but routine handling saps whatever distinctive qualities existed in acclaimed teen-fiction scribe Laurie Halse Anderson’s source novel. Showtime presentation looks to go straight to the net, bypassing theatrical play.

Midwestern 15-year-old Melinda (Kristen Stewart) enters her freshman year a virtual pariah — even longtime pals are hostile after she commits the unpardonable sin of calling the cops during a summer keg party. What no one knows is she panicked because she’d just been raped by an older boy. Making matters worse, same boy is now dating her ex-best friend. Melinda grows depressed and uncommunicative, mystifying her self-absorbed parents (D.W. Sweeney, Elizabeth Perkins), though a teacher (Steve Zahn) offers some support. Eventual coming-to-terms (plus the culprit’s public humiliation) would’ve been much more potent with less caricatured adult characters and more nuanced direction. Production values are OK.

Speak

Production: A Showtime Independent Films presentation of a Fred Berner Films production. Produced by Fred Berner, Matthew Myers. Executive producer, Jerry Offsay. Co-producers, Annie Young Frisbie, Jessica Sharzer. Directed by Jessica Sharzer. Screenplay, Sharzer, Annie Young Frisbie, based on the novel by Laurie Halse Anderson.

Crew: Camera (color, Sony HD cam), Andrij Parekh; editor, Peter C. Frank; original music, Christopher Libertino; production designer, Laura Ballinger. Reviewed at Sundance Film Festival (American Spectrum), Jan. 22, 2004. Running time: 92 MIN.

With: With: Kristen Stewart, Michael Angarano, Robert John Burke, Hallee Hirsch, Eric Lively, Leslie Lyles, Elizabeth Perkins, Allison Siko, D.B. Sweeney, Steve Zahn.

More Film

  • steve dayan Teamsters Local 399

    Hollywood Teamsters, IATSE Condemn Sexual Harassment in Entertainment Industry

    Tortured adolescence is one life phase that’s become too often the plat du jour of Amerindie cinema. The high water mark recently set by Catherine Hardwicke’s “Thirteen” only makes debuting feature helmer/co-scenarist Jessica Sharzer’s “Speak” seem all the more pedestrian. Tale of a high school girl who’s withdrawn and picked-on after a traumatic incident is […]

  • Harvey Weinstein

    Directors Guild Begins Expulsion Process Against Harvey Weinstein

    Tortured adolescence is one life phase that’s become too often the plat du jour of Amerindie cinema. The high water mark recently set by Catherine Hardwicke’s “Thirteen” only makes debuting feature helmer/co-scenarist Jessica Sharzer’s “Speak” seem all the more pedestrian. Tale of a high school girl who’s withdrawn and picked-on after a traumatic incident is […]

  • Josh Brolin'Only the Brave' film screening,

    Josh Brolin Mourns 'Deadpool 2' Stuntwoman's Death: It Was an 'Absolute Freak Accident'

    Tortured adolescence is one life phase that’s become too often the plat du jour of Amerindie cinema. The high water mark recently set by Catherine Hardwicke’s “Thirteen” only makes debuting feature helmer/co-scenarist Jessica Sharzer’s “Speak” seem all the more pedestrian. Tale of a high school girl who’s withdrawn and picked-on after a traumatic incident is […]

  • 'Surviving Peace' Review: Does Israel Truly

    Film Review: 'Surviving Peace'

    Tortured adolescence is one life phase that’s become too often the plat du jour of Amerindie cinema. The high water mark recently set by Catherine Hardwicke’s “Thirteen” only makes debuting feature helmer/co-scenarist Jessica Sharzer’s “Speak” seem all the more pedestrian. Tale of a high school girl who’s withdrawn and picked-on after a traumatic incident is […]

  • Boo 2! A Madea Halloween

    Box Office: Tyler Perry's 'Boo 2!' Set to Top Sluggish Weekend Ahead of 'Geostorm'

    Tortured adolescence is one life phase that’s become too often the plat du jour of Amerindie cinema. The high water mark recently set by Catherine Hardwicke’s “Thirteen” only makes debuting feature helmer/co-scenarist Jessica Sharzer’s “Speak” seem all the more pedestrian. Tale of a high school girl who’s withdrawn and picked-on after a traumatic incident is […]

  • Tony Zierra to Follow up ‘Filmworker’

    Tony Zierra to Follow up ‘Filmworker’ with New Stanley Kubrick Doc about ‘Eyes Wide Shut’

    Tortured adolescence is one life phase that’s become too often the plat du jour of Amerindie cinema. The high water mark recently set by Catherine Hardwicke’s “Thirteen” only makes debuting feature helmer/co-scenarist Jessica Sharzer’s “Speak” seem all the more pedestrian. Tale of a high school girl who’s withdrawn and picked-on after a traumatic incident is […]

  • William Friedkin

    William Friedkin on the Power of Film, Capital Punishment and his Recklessness on ‘The French Connection’

    Tortured adolescence is one life phase that’s become too often the plat du jour of Amerindie cinema. The high water mark recently set by Catherine Hardwicke’s “Thirteen” only makes debuting feature helmer/co-scenarist Jessica Sharzer’s “Speak” seem all the more pedestrian. Tale of a high school girl who’s withdrawn and picked-on after a traumatic incident is […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content