A Silent Voice follows Shoya Ishida, who used to bully the deaf Shoko Nishimiya mercilessly as a young child. Years later, he tries to redeem himself and make amends for the pain he inflicted on her. Will he be able to heal the damage he has done, or make the suffering worse?
Going into this film, I was worried that Shoya would be an unlikeable character, and to an extent he was. As a child, you hate him for the nasty things he does to the new girl but quickly learn that the older Shoya is a different person entirely. You see him suffer for his actions and believe his intentions are genuine when he tries to make amends. He is hardly perfect, but that is what makes him relatable.
I can’t really say much about Shoko and the other characters in this film without giving away spoilers. Considering that the focus of this film is the characters and the emotional experiences they go through, it is best to know as little as possible going into this film. What I will say is that Tomohiro Nagatsuka is my favourite character as well as the one I personally relate to the most.
This has to be one of the most emotional films I have seen in a while and seeing it with a large audience really added to the experience. The room was filled with laughter at some scenes and you could hear people choking back tears in others. The tension near the end of the film was palpable.
As I mentioned, there was a small Q&A session with Yamada. I was lucky and got to ask her my question. I asked her if there was a scene from the film that made her cry during the film’s development and thanked her for making such an amazing film. She thanked me and said that moments with Shoya’s mum made her tear up. I can’t say I blame her.
I loved A Silent Voice. It was an emotional rollercoaster that I won’t forget in a hurry. It doesn’t sugarcoat bullying nor the damage it does. In fact, it shows not only what happens to the victim, but how it can come around and hurt the bully as well as the others involved in the situation. With well written characters with a story that will move anyone, I highly recommend A Silent Voice.