A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Coming-of-age anime is centered on a former tween bully who is now an angst-ridden teen trying to make amends for his past with the deaf girl he once bullied verbally and physically. Movie explores the effects of bullying in the short and long term.
Positive Role Models
Shoko is a deaf girl who is bullied as a tween, and continues to be bullied by one girl in particular well into adolescence, but maintains a pure and positive attitude for much of the movie. Shoya tries to make amends for his terrible bullying of Shoko when they were in sixth grade, befriends a fellow high school outcast, and grows to attain self respect so he can look his peers in the eyes again.
Violence & Scariness
Attempted suicide -- one character jumps off a balcony, but is saved by another character, but that character then loses their footing and falls to the ground below and goes into a coma. Talk of suicide. Bullying throughout. A deaf girl is mercilessly bullied. Kids steal the hearing aids from her ears (some blood) and smash them and throw dirt in her face. She's pushed and punched, called names like "freak." Other kids are bullied -- put in headlocks, given wedgies, one kid is called "fatso."
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Teen girls giggle about their developing chest sizes.
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Occasional profanity from tweens and teens: "a--hole," "s--tty," "bulls--t," "crap," "dumbass," "hell," "douchebag."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A kid pretends a french fry is a cigarette.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that A Silent Voice: The Movie is a 2016 coming-of-age anime in which a teen boy who mercilessly bullied a deaf girl when they were tweens tries to make amends. There are many scenes of bullying throughout the movie. Shoko, the deaf girl, is physically and verbally bullied until her mother transfers her to another school. Kids punch and kick her, call her names, and even repeatedly pull the hearing aid out of her ear (some blood) and break them. Other kids are physically and verbally bullied as well. There's an attempted suicide that results in a coma. Talk of suicide. Scenes of mourning during the funeral of one of the character's grandmothers. Occasional profanity from tweens and teens includes "a--hole," "s--tty," "bulls--t," "crap," "dumbass," "hell," and "douchebag." To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This is a beautiful anime that fearlessly explores uncomfortable topics. A Silent Voice: The Movie is a coming-of-age story in which a tween boy grows into adolescence trying to make amends for the hurt he caused a deaf girl due to his merciless bullying. Bullying, suicide, not fitting in, redemption -- these are all topics that the movie explores through this relatively (for anime) straightforward story. Of course, because it's anime, there's a healthy amount of sentimentality and melodrama, but these are more than offset by the stories of these young characters as they navigate the perils of fitting in, growing up, and learning from past mistakes.
It's a long movie, but, again, it does maintain a mostly straightforward story, unlike the "kitchen sink" story threads and knots that are a part of so many other anime movies. There are also so many gorgeous moments of animation, moments of lovely imagery. For those new to anime, this is a great place to start, and for those who are familiar, this belongs among the best of the genre. Overall, it strikes a near perfect balance of story, character, and visual style.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.