A Quiet Place
After seeing A Quiet Place last Friday, I began drafting up a “5 Things I Liked” list, but I ultimately wasn’t satisfied with doing that kind of post for this specific film- a film with such a unique narrative and a simple plot with so many subtly complex details. So, this is more of an overall processing of my emotions and my opinions of the film, rather than a concise list of favorite moments or a standard review. Before we proceed, here is a fair warning:
* SPOILER ALERT *
My initial excitement for A Quiet Place came from the fact that it was directed by John Krasinski and starred both him and Emily Blunt: two of my ultimate celebrity crushes who also happen to make up my favorite celebrity couple. I’m also always down for a thriller with an allusive trailer, so this was immediately right up my alley. The film was everything I didn’t expect, and everything I didn’t know that I needed. I jumped (a few times), I cried (hard), and I held my breath (like, the whole time), and then I spent the rest of my night tiptoeing around my house attempting to gauge what my chances of survival might be (not great).
Of all of the genres and styles of film that exist, the one specific type that I always find the most enthralling is a sci-fi thriller or horror film that engages you (and sometimes nearly exhausts you) both intellectually and viscerally. A storyline involving (innovative, well-designed, and believable) monsters or aliens, their threat to humanity, and our attempt to understand and potentially combat them is a pretty common baseline for a plot. When executed properly, these storylines can stand on their own, especially with a few strategically placed and accurately written characters of the governmental/militarian type. Those movies are great, but the ones that I love and find myself enjoying time and time again are the ones that put a more personal and relatable definition to the aspect of survival.
In the case of A Quiet Place, each cast member and character is individually captivating, and the film immediately cultivates a sense of love and connection with and for this on-screen family. Lee Abbott (Krasinski) and Evelyn Abbott (Blunt) have and will do anything to protect their children Regan (Millicent Simmonds) and Marcus (Noah Jupe). The monsters of the film are so intriguing and, in a way, ambiguous, but the intensity of the film and the fear it induces comes from a much deeper place. The explicit determination that Evelyn and Lee have to protect one another, and more importantly, their children, is so palpable that you can easily find yourself holding your own breath in a desperately futile attempt to protect them yourself.
While Regan’s deafness is a contributor to some of the more heartbreaking or nerve-wracking moments of the film, it also plays as a huge advantage to her and to her family; not only does she have an easier time adapting to the silent world they now live in, she and her family can communicate fluently with one another through ASL. A majority of the film’s dialogues and conversations- some of love, some of fear, some of relief, and some of argument- are presented visually, resulting in a narrative that is so fascinating and breathtaking, and one that tells this story in a uniquely personal way. (I could write an entire dissertation on Simmonds’ incredible talent and her indispensable role in the production of this film.)
(Also, while the moments of silence are captivating, Marco Beltrami’s score for this film should not be overlooked. Every single track is deeply moving, persuasively hypnotic, and emotionally gripping. Notably, my absolute favorites are “The Dinner Table” and “Water in the Basement”. “Positive Feedback” was a fantastic approach to the ending sequence, as well. They’re all good. They’re all fantastic. Just listen to it, alone, in a dark room, with surround-sound headphones, from start to finish. I implore you. It. Is. Fantastic.)
This film relies heavily on its visual communication, and the aesthetics laced throughout it are an integral part of its success. There is an unspoken depth to these characters, a background or foundation of the Abbott family that can be easily assumed based on the visuals we are given. From the dreamy but disastrous house, to the cozy barn that they made their home, and all the beautiful bits of land between and beyond them, I was desperately yearning for a stay in the (monsterless) countryside by the end of it. No small detail was spared (you can never, ever go wrong with outdoor globe string lights, either,) and every frame of this film was perfectly directed and captured.
As if the characters, creatures, and aesthetics weren’t enough, the sheer ingenuity behind how these characters survived was incredible to me. This wasn’t a group of well-trained, well-armed soldiers or members of a private government sector with level 5 security clearance. This wasn’t a group of diverse talent and separate wealths of knowledge with a handy access badge to the nearest CDC. This wasn’t a clan of conspiracy theorists or senseless teenagers running towards the center of the action, hoping to save the world before the end of the first week. This was a family with a farm and a shotgun, in the middle of almost nowhere, having lived a life full of love and comfort. And yet. . .
Sand on the walking paths to avoid the reverberation of steps; white lights for illumination and red lights for a silent warning; leaving doors open or removing them from their frames altogether; painting footprints to follow to prevent the floors from creaking; a homemade surveillance system and viewing center; maintaining their agriculture, collecting other food resources, and preparing sufficient meals in silence; innumerable attempts at creating a functional cochlear implant from found materials. . .
This family wasn’t just hiding in a closet with their hands over their mouths, waiting until someone else took care of the monsters. They had an educated assumption on how many of these monsters occupied their area and they learned details about them that one could only get from being proactive in their defenses. They made diligent efforts to restore a sense of normalcy and peace and simplicity to their everyday lives while maintaining a level of safety and manageable precaution. They held their ground. They found and forged ways to survive. They adapted.
And they did it for their family. And by the fires lit at night, we can assume that others did the same for their own families. And while this film is about monsters and our survival in the hunt, it’s quintessence is so much more. It’s about family. It’s about a selfless, reckless love that is unconditional. It’s about knowing who you can’t live without, or more so, who you’d give your life for.
Who are we if we can’t protect them?
SHARE THIS POST:
// GEEK :
(noun) obsessive enthusiast, or (verb) be or become extremely excited or enthusiastic about a subject
// ABOUT :
Morgan of House Geek, First of Her Name, Mother of a Ton of Funkos, Collector of Things, Writer of Stories, Designer of Websites, Watcher of Films, and Player of Games.
INTJ. Libra-Scorpio Cusp. Slytherin.
Jack of all trades, master of none.
// FUN FACT :
I prefer purchasing trades & volumes more than single issues. I find them to be more durable, so I can enjoy them more and they can easily stand on my display shelves without boards.