I found Speak by clicking a link that was next to the Snow White and The Huntsman trailer on YouTube.
Melinda Sordino (Kristen Stewart) starts the first year of her school with no friends, being labelled as a squealer for calling 911 at the end of the previous end of term party. No one knows the real reason why, not even her parents. Melinda is quiet and seems to be living in her own head. Her parents leave her alone in the house and her mother never listens to Melinda’s opinions. They refuse to be nice to her as she suffers, believing she’s going through a teenage phase and that they’ve lost their ‘sweet, loving little girl’.
Only Melinda knows what happened to her at the party- she was raped by a boy called Andy Evans (Eric Lively), who is currently dating her old best friend Rachel, who has re-invented herself as Rachelle. All Melinda’s old friends have joined various cliques, and the new girl, Heather, who Melinda has helped at the start of term who doesn’t even notice that Melinda never speaks, joins one o the cliques and tells Melinda that while she has her ‘depression thing’ she doesn’t want to sit with her at lunch.
When Melinda’s parents see her bad report card, they think that she’s just not trying. They send her to see Mr Neck, a teacher who despises her for no good reason. He asks her to write an essay on any history topic, and she chooses the suffragettes. She presents it to him, having written it in the old school store cupboard where she spends a lot of her time, hiding from people but not wanting to go home. My Neck tells her that to get the marks for it she has to read it out in class, but Melinda does her best not to draw attention to herself and believes that she has the right not to speak if she doesn’t want to. Her lab partner Dave Petrakis (Michael Angarano) helps her to express her views in class, but she is sent to the school principal for impertinence.
Mr Freeman (Steve Zahn) is the new art teacher at the school, and gets Melinda interested in art. Her project for the year is trees, and although she starts off not being able to draw them properly, she end up a talented artist. Her parents start noticing this, and her favourite Christmas present from them is some drawing tools. Rachel, or Rochelle, is ignoring Melinda, but Melinda is scared that she’s going to suffer the same fate and although she resents her for not being there when she needed her most, Melinda tells her about what happened. At first Rachel doesn’t believe her, but then she notices that Andy is sometimes violent towards her and she starts telling other people what happened to Melinda.
Melinda is slowly becoming more confident and gaining some friends and better grades. But when Andy hears the rumours that are being spread about him, he comes after her and tries to attack her. Either Melinda could lose her confidence altogether, or she could fight back, start speaking out and start telling people what happened to her. She chooses the latter.
Although Melinda has regained some of her confidence, it is obvious that she needs time to get over what happened to her. By the end though, you know that she eventually will.
I liked this film because it shows what life in an American school might be like- very different from in an English school. The film really inspired me as well actually, because when I was little I loved art but I hadn’t been finding time to do enough of it and then I saw Speak and it made me want to start doing it again. Kristen Stewart’s acting in this film is really strong and she portrays Melinda perfectly.
This film was really moving, because it looks like Melinda’s just going to be trapped on her own for the rest of her life, but then she starts making things happen and breaking free from the cage she’s been trapped inside. The film is not very widely known- only real fans of the actors have found it. It’s not on sale in any shops or on Amazon. I also liked this about it, because it was made to put across a message, and only people who really want to hear what it has to say have ever watched it. It’s not the kind of film that everyone likes- like the Hunger Games or something. It’s more personal, and you can take what you want out of it- whether it’s a general message to keep going and speak out, or whether it’s something which actually means something to you in everyday life.
Estimated watching age: 12 and up
Price on Amazon: The only one there is is a version from the Czech Republic… there are only two copies. Because of this some one has put it up on YouTube, which is where I watched it.
Director: Jessica Sharzer
Film certificate: PG-13
Names of the people who play the main characters: Kristen Stewart, Michael Angarano, Eric Lively, Hallee Hirsh, Steve Zahn
This is for Part One of the full movie- follow the links to other parts:
Rating: ★★★★★ One of my favourite ever films. Obviously just personal view, but it is really REALLY good.