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Sundance 2019 Film Review: “The Sound of Silence” (2019) ★★★★★



© 2019 – Auditory Pictures LLC

How many times has it happened to you that after watching a certain film you don’t want to watch anything else? During a film festival every minute counts, every film counts, and time cannot be wasted. But somehow, despite “The Sound of Silence” being just the first screening of the morning, it left me emotionally paralyzed and physically incapable to move, while my brain itself refused to accept the fact the film was over and I needed to move on to a different title as soon as possible. And I could not, even hours later. Because the organic nutrition of “The Sound of Silence” was good enough to feed me for the whole day.

“The Sound of Silence” follows a house tuner, Peter (Peter Sarsgaard), whose nature of job is to mitigate the cause of distress of his clients or their anxiety by sound proofing their apartments. As he tries to understand the mechanism of the music and how it impacts people’s daily lives and even their mood, the man meets a client named Ellen, whose toaster appears to be the cause of her troubles at home. But while he helps her to identify the core problem, he, without even realizing it,  helps not only her but himself as well.

“The Sound of Silence” ( is based on the short film by Ben Nabors and Michael Tyburski) directed by Michael Tyburski explores the nature of sound and the noise that has more meaning in it than we can really understand. Peter is not just a house tuner. Through his amazingly important job, he helps to tune life, cure, perhaps their depression, and ease an already troubled relationship for couples by finding the best approach possible. While his clients think the issue with the house they have is due to it being too loud, Peter finds those root causes not necessarily in their fridge, or tv, walls, ceiling, or just the noise of upcoming and outgoing traffic. He dives deep into their mind through the questions he asks to understand their daily routine better.

As he analyzes human behavior and the impact of music or sound on them, we as viewers, whether want it or not, become his students as we learn a lot throughout the film. Ellen is another crucially important character that becomes a perfect fit for him. All his clients just wanted him to help resolve the sound issue without getting deep into the details, while Ellen expresses it through the right questions she asks. As we listen to them talking, we realize a lot. Their discussion provides an in-depth and highly academic overview to the art of sound, human life, its absorbance that helps the viewers to revisit their life and identify new perspectives they knew nothing about before.

I find it hard to describe how great the “Sound of Silence” is. To say that it is powerful would be an understatement. To say it’s brilliant and highly educational is not enough to get closer to make it perfect. The power this film has is much more impactful than visiting a psychologist or psychiatrist. This film gives you an insight and shortcut to your mind no one ever would be able to do. It helps the viewer to get more analytical, become more aware of their current situation, habits, and helps them to navigate through the sound of silence and understand its true purpose.

As for the performance, it’s exceptionally nuanced. Even when Peter Sarsgaard’s character has nothing to say, his body language tells us more than we need. And another magnificent performance delivered by Rashida Jones as Ellen turns the duo into the most impressive of the year. And to conclude that, “The Sound of Silence” is one of the year’s best and most important films so far and not seeing it is almost committing a crime against cinema and storytelling, because this piece is so damn good.

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