Earth has been overrun by monsters who can hear the slightest sound and use it to hunt humans down. The Abbotts are desperately trying to survive in the apocalypse, with father Lee (John Krasinski) and mother Evelyn (Emily Blunt) trying to keep their children Regan (Millicent Simmonds) and Marcus (Noah Jupe) safe. The family has an advantage because Regan is deaf and they therefore know sign language. But it’s unlikely that they can go on much longer as they have been.
A Quiet Place pulled me in and didn’t let me go. And it isn’t just a strong, emotional film, it’s also a great example of how to represent disability in films, which makes it even better. I’m happy to say that it is a film that deserves its hype.
Disability representation is, unfortunately, rife with movies (and other media) that really, really suck at it. So to get a film every once in a while that gets it right is a very nice change. Happily, A Quiet Place is one of these good films. Starting with the fact that they cast an actually deaf actress to play a deaf character which is, unfortunately, not the thing that is usually done. But it’s not just that: Regan’s deafness is integral to the survival of the family. And not because it’s magically balanced with other senses (like Daredevil’s blindness, for example, is made irrelevant because his other senses are so acute that he basically sees after all), but because of what it is. It’s great to see a story that doesn’t just interpret disability as a weakness and a “lack of”, but turns it into an advantage without turning it into superpowers.
But even leaving that aside – although that alone may already have been enough to make me love the film – the film has even more to offer.
It tells an emotional story with likeable characters that I was completely sold on from the get-go. I was rooting for them so hard and the tension was built so nicely throughout the film that I barely had a moment where I wasn’t completely focused on what was happening on screen. And some moments made me want to grab and/or push something just to relieve some of the tension (the birth scene! the nail!).
The performances were also great and I do hope that we get to see Simmonds in a lot more things – she’s a huge discovery and hopefully ableism won’t keep her from continuing. And I hope that Krasinski will keep on making films like it.