The family drama is a tricky genre to tackle on film. While most family units struggle to find equilibrium, emotions run high and drama runs rampant. Parents and children often find compromise difficult, creating awkward tension and resentment. Nothing puts a damper on family harmony other than death and when that death concerns one of the younger children, sadness and remorse cover the entire household like a dark cloud no one can escape. Louder Than Words is a prime example of a family trying to cope and accept the fact that one of their young members has died. It is a solid family drama detailing an extremely serious subject filled with utterly honest performances.
The Fareri family is your typical suburban middle-class bunch. John (David Duchovny) is the patriarch, a land developer who has a hard time processing his emotions. Brenda (Hope Davis) is the dedicated wife and mother who does everything is her power to keep the status quo of the little ones. Triplets Stephanie (Adelaide Kane), Michael (Ben Rosenfeld), and Julie (Morgan Griffin) are a bubbly group as they prepare for their college journeys. Finally, there is Maria (Olivia Steele-Falconer), the baby of the group. Maria eventually contracts rabies and is hospitalized. With her condition worsening, things are looking grim. The majority of the film focuses on Maria’s death and John suddenly deciding to build a children’s hospital in Maria’s memory.
Louder Than Words is a bittersweet tale that takes the subject of death and turns it on its side. With John’s decision to create a memorial in Maria’s name, his family and much of the town are behind him wholeheartedly. The majority of the film focuses on John’s mission to get his hospital erected. It is a truly inspiring film in that regard and Duchovny is on point as the mourning dad, determined to set things right. Davis is also in peak form as the emotionally lost mother and glue holding the family together. Each of the young children in the Fareri family is played well and you can really believe that they are all related.
Films like Louder Than Words don’t come around too often. It is an independent film with some big names scattered throughout. Duchovny and Davis are at the top of their game here and with the inclusion of Timothy Hutton as a supportive family friend; the film soars to even greater heights. Louder Than Words isn’t a depressing film, per say. It is a family drama that deals with a depressing topic in a realistic, hopeful, and optimistic way. The performances are the real highlight here and so is the script which is written by Benjamin Chapin which is based on a true story. Few films nowadays tackle the subject of death in a tasteful and easy to digest way. Louder Than Words is a complex film with lovely acting and some of the more realistic lines of dialogue in recent filmdom. Do yourselves a favor and give Louder Than Words a try. You might be pleasantly surprised.