Sunday, September 7, 2014

Louder Than Words

Released August 1st, 2014 (Limited); DVD September 9th, 2014
1 hr 33 mins
Rated PG-13


Director: Anthony Fabian


Adelaide Kane as Stephanie Fareri
David Duchovny as John Fareri
Timothy Hutton as Bruce Komiske
Xander Berkeley as Dr. Lansen
Hope Davis as Brenda Fareri
Craig Bierko as Eddie Stolzenberg
Scott Cohen as Nick Spano
Victoria Tennant as Lydia Thorsby
Ben Rosenfield as Michael Fareri
Morgan Griffin as Julie Fareri
Olivia Steele-Falconer as Maria Fareri

Review by Stephen M.

Louder Than Words is based on the true story of Maria Fareri and her family, and how after her death, her parents worked to get a children's hospital built which was sorely lacking.  The first half of the story is narrated by Maria (Olivia Steele-Falconer) and pieces throughout the latter half of the movie.  And as she would tell you in the beginning and end, this is not a sad story, and perhaps to its detriment, it wasn't.

The movie is quite rosy despite the death of a child.  Perhaps the filmmakers wanted you to not focus on this which would be a shame.  Glossing over the family's struggles and grief, they have made the movie more family friendly, but it takes away the impact of the message of rebuilding the family and overcoming various odds.  Yes we see Maria's siblings and her parents all go through their own struggles in losing her.  But rare are the raw moments you would expect such as when mother Brenda (Hope Davis) breaks down and starts smashing dishes in frustration of her husband John (David Duchovny).

Father John as explained by Maria and the others is a man of few words, which David plays well without the dialogue.  But doesn't necessarily makes for an interesting character as you see what he's trying to accomplish but no actual words to match the drive and motivation of his character.  With the fundraising, legislative vote and building of John's vision for a children hospital going quite smoothly with only a few minor hiccups, there is little tension or drama in the film aside from John's isolation from his wife at first.  Because of these things, the film feels a bit surreal.  However, despite all of this I still enjoyed the story and especially the acting by David and Hope.

Overall, I would recommend the film as a rental.  It's definitely not as heavy as say Fault In Our Stars or If I Stay, but is still an interesting watch to learn the history of Maria Fareri and the children hospital built in her name.  While the characters themselves, aside from Maria, could have used more fleshing out and personality, the actors did a fine job given their roles.


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