Creative ideas or story lines are not easy to come by, particularly simple ones. When I see or hear about an idea like that my ears perk up as if I’m a puppy who’s just heard someone tearing into her favorite bag of treats or perhaps the key opening the lock on the front door when the Can Opener is expected home. I’m addicted to that first feeling of joyful excitement and I’m always on the lookout for it. I also have great faith that if I sense that feeling, I won’t be let down.
When I first heard about A Quiet Place my ears leaped to attention. Then I heard it was starring John Krasinski and Emily Blunt, married actors, celebrities and parents, playing a married couple with children. Then I heard it was a horror movie, which for the most part, takes place in complete silence. Then I heard it was Krasinski’s second film in the director’s chair. That’s when I checked out the trailer. After seeing it I decided I would definitely go see the movie but if I did, I wanted Ms. Z to go with me.
Ms. Z has always loved The Office, a show that featured Krasinski in his breakout role. I’ve watched a few episodes and have nothing against it. I could never watch it with a lot of enthusiasm though, because I was always aware that while out-and-out farce, it was still not unlike actual offices I’d worked in. Ms. Z also loves John Krasinski, which I completely understand. Other than his love of the Patriots, (he’s originally from a New England state), I literally can’t find anything unlikable or wrong with him.
Ms. Z and I don’t particularly seek out horror movies. I like them a lot more than she does (it took me almost ten days to convince her to see Get Out, which she’s now seen many more times than I have cause it’s funny). For the most part, I can hold my head up and eyes open during scary movies most of the time, but as I suspected from the preliminary information I had, I found A Quiet Place riveting from beginning to end. I didn’t feel a false note anywhere in it. The story is about a family of five who, in order to survive in the world they must remain absolutely silent or they will be eviscerated by monstrous creatures who hunt and lay in wait for just one sound to pounce. See? Simple.
Here’s my list of reasons for why you should go see it.
- Emily Blunt. Emily Blunt. Emily Blunt. Emily is, in a word, a badass. There are two moments where Blunt is featured in this movie that by themselves make it worth the price of admission. But I loved her in the whole movie and I pretty much love her in most things she’s in. She’s also pretty much in everything. At the ripe age of 35, she has made over 40 films. Half the time she blends so well into her character you barely know she’s acting or even that it’s her, think bitchy secretary in Devil Wears Prada or discarded drunken ex-wife in Girl on a Train, or righteous FBI agent in Sicario. I’m not going to see her and Lin Manuel Miranda in Mary Poppins because no one messes with Julie Andrews or Dick Van Dyke in my house, but other than that, has Blunt ever misstepped? Honestly, she’s probably going to be good in Mary Poppins too, but don’t tell Julie I said that. Last thing I’m going to say is that I heard a rumor that after she read the script Blunt threatened her husband, Krasinski with retribution if he didn’t give her this part. Even if that’s remotely true, I guarantee he didn’t consider anyone else to play it even once.
- Krasinski is a good director. This was the perfect movie for him to act and direct in because his part was, due only to the story line, often one-dimensional. The contours of his role were like sitting in a chair under a guillotine, it’s challenging to think much about anything else. But I liked much of what he did as a director in the film to create the suspense and release that can happen in a story like this one. Also he managed to create lasting images in my mind without overdoing it: bare feet and leaves on a wood bridge, the bopping head of a five-year-old in a deserted general store, flames of light in the hilly country landscape, the stark face of an old man who’s made a final charged decision.
- The story is about family. A family story that is poignant, passionate, loving. Family stories are also usually fraught with tension and vibrancy. It’s no less so in this film.
- Not one word is spoken in the entire first third of this film. I didn’t count the minutes but it might have even been the first half of the film. No slight against screenplay writers Bryan Woods and Scott Beck but you don’t miss the voices or dialogue at all. And when they do finally speak it’s worth the wait.
- It’s compact. 90 minutes and I repeat it is a riveting hour and a half.
- The actors all studied American Sign Language for this film. You’ll feel multilingual, like you were in ASL class 101, 2, & 3 by the end of it.
- The other actor that had a breakout role worth mentioning was fifteen year old actress Millicent Simmonds. Millicent has been deaf since she was an infant and she was great in this role especially in all her scenes with Krasinski. They took the daughter father relationship to a place you don’t see often. It was a leap and it was beautiful. I hope she gets a lot more work out of this.
There were several shock value scenes that were nerve-wracking in this flick but none felt particularly gratuitous. Forewarned though is forearmed. Ms. Z who probably hangs out with me too much noted that there was not a single black face in the film but she said that was alright because “if it had been about a black family they would’ve had to call it the new Underground Railroad for sure.”
She’s not wrong.