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Review: Unspoken (2008)

Director: | 90 minutes | | Actors: , ,

Your child disappeared without a trace five years ago. What does that do to the parents? This is what director and writer Fien Troch asked herself when writing the screenplay for her ‘Unspoken’. The film does not follow the search of the police or of the parents Lucas and Grace, but it is about how the couple deal with this loss.

The title refers to Lucas and Grace who are so deeply hurt that they never talk to each other about their daughter Lisa. They live past each other to cope with the loss of their daughter in their own way. That makes for penetrating scenes. They are both in isolation from which they seem unable to get out. Even though they know their daughter will not return, both husbands cherish hope. Lucas devotes himself a lot to work and also regularly sits in his car waiting for his daughter’s school. Also the stranger who keeps calling Lucas and then says nothing gives him hope that Lisa is still alive and that it is she who is on the other end of the line.

Mother Grace wanders around the mall a lot, hoping to find her daughter again. She even chases a girl wearing the same coat as her daughter. The crack in the ceiling in Lucas and Grace’s living room serves as a leitmotif through the story. The crack will only get worse, this can serve as a metaphor for the mental and emotional state the couple are in.

Fien Troch has delivered an impressive film with ‘Unspoken’. With many close-ups and long silences she manages to draw and hold the viewer in the story. Little is spoken in the film, the narration tempo is slow and it is a heavy theme. In this way Troch creates an oppressive atmosphere that highlights the isolation of Lucas and Grace. The story itself is filmed simply but effectively and mainly the two protagonists Emmanuelle Devos and Bruno Todeschini play very convincing roles. ‘Unspoken’ is cinema in its purest form. This film is especially recommended for fans of French arthouse and penetrating drama.

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