When it comes to anime, I don't find myself watching nearly enough in order to form a list of favourites, but even if I had watched everything under the moon, I still believe A Silent Voice would make the list. This is a spectacular film from start to finish. Keep in mind, this can be a very tough film to sit through for multiple reasons, and that is exactly what I'm going to dive into throughout this review, because I feel that a few precautions should be taken when going in. Here is why A Silent Voice deserves to be seen by everyone, even though it won't please everyone.
At its core, this film is about a new student that comes into a school, who just so happens to be hearing impaired. Ishida, the school bully, taunts her to the point of tears, for audiences as well. Without ruining the impact of certain scenes, I'll just say that his actions were quite Risqué. I found myself absolutely hating his character, which was very frustrating, due to the fact that the film asks you to sympathize with him on multiple occasions. After growing up and leaving his harsh ways in the past, these two characters reconnect, forming a highly unlikely bond. A Silent Voice asks for your acceptance almost too often, but trust me, if you're in the forgiving mood, this film turns out to be extremely powerful. So that's the warning I must give you, that if you're not ready to be forgiving of a terrible actions, I'd wait until you're in the right mood to watch this movie.
Throughout Ishida's transformation from a bully to a kind-hearted human being, it wasn't just the dialogue that impacted me, but the visuals surrounding him. Every time he would pass by other people that knew him, they had X's on their face. When this aspect comes into play a little later in the movie, I'd be lying if I said it didn't move me. From beginning to hate the film for displaying a very unlikable character, this story really does a great job at winning you over, especially through it's silent, visual storytelling in the background, foreground, and even anytime that it makes it blatantly obvious.
When a movie makes you wait for it to be really good, it can be a pretty frustrating experience, but I see something different when reflecting on this film. It's all about redemption and how forgiveness is everything when you truly want to become a better person that what you were in the past. Evil is all throughout everyone, but you're not supposed to act on it. This is one of the message that I feel the movie tries to convey and I believe it's a wonderful lesson to everyone. The themes presented throughout this film are taken very seriously, so I don't think it will appeal to a younger audience, but I think older teenagers will be the perfect demographic here, for the lesson it's giving.
In the end, A Silent Voice is a film that had me hating throughout the first act, realizing I was wrong throughout the second act, and on the verge of tears throughout the third act, due to how well this movie does a complete 180. With a powerful story, a final sequences that will have many in tears, and an overall film that is worthy of awards, I can't recommend this enough. That being said, I can't get myself to give this movie a perfect score, due to the fact that I think it took a little too long to win me over. I found myself disliking the movie throughout the majority of it, until my eventual realization, which is my one warning, so I feel I won't be alone on that. A Silent Voice is one of the best movies I've seen so far this year.
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