“A Silent Voice” Review


[Content Warning: There are moments within this article where suicide is mentioned/implied]

“A Silent Voice,” an anime-style film, begins with a struggling teenage boy who thinks the world would be better without him in it. Standing on the edge of a red-wired bridge, he sees a family playing with fireworks, all with smiles on their faces. This sparks something in the young boy’s mind, reminding him that there could be so many wonderful things to come.

A flashback then takes us to the boy’s 6th-grade class where a new student was introduced. The teacher announces that there is a new girl named Shoka who is joining them, and explains that she was deaf. A group of middle school bullies, with whom the boy is involved, make fun of her for being deaf and needing hearing aids. The group bullies Shoka throughout middle school. Shoka and the bullies separate in high school, and eventually meet again in their later teens. Now, they have to sort things out between each other and make up for the troubles that were caused in middle school.

While watching this movie, I couldn’t stop thinking, “why would someone be bullied for something they can’t control? Why can’t they think about how she would feel?”

All of these questions were rushing through my head as I watched the characters hit or steal Shoka’s hearing aid and throw it out of the window countless times. Every time the kids would do something to harm Shoka, she would always sign, “I’m sorry” immediately after.

Again I’d ask, “why is she saying sorry when it’s not her fault at all? She’s not the one bullying others.”

I felt chills and emotions that almost brought me to tears. I realized why it was called A Silent Voice. Throughout the movie, Shoka and the boy reset their relationship. The boy learns sign language so they can communicate with one another. Shoka needs to speak her mind and tell the boy what has been happening. She wants to show him that she deserves better. Since Shoka can’t hear, speaking is very difficult for her so she uses her hands to speak. She listens without hearing, and speaks without making noise. She has a silent voice.

When I made this connection, the hairs on my arm stood tall as goosebumps spread from my neck to the tips of my fingers. It was incredibly enlightening to be able to watch the growth and friendships of these characters. My empathy for the characters grew from the beginning to the end, and I’m glad I was able to see the movie “A Silent Voice.”