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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The film explores the variety of ways in which people cope with grief. It also encourages open communication within a family and provides an example of turning tragic circumstances into positive action.
Positive Role Models
Each member of an "almost perfect" family, shattered by an unexpected death, tries to deal with his or her emotions and support one another. Focus is on the parents, one of whom has a much harder time but finally finds his way. Medical personnel are portrayed positively. The film is set in a wealthy community; the characters lack ethnic diversity, and there's some stereotyping to characterize the rich and powerful.
Violence & Scariness
The film's story centers on a family dealing with a child's death. A distraught woman loses her temper and throws dishes to the floor.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A married couple kisses and shares some passionate embraces in their bedroom. A young woman is briefly seen in bed with a man previously mentioned as a "boyfriend."
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Occasional swearing includes "crap," "hell," "bastard," "Jesus" (as an exclamation), "pissed off," "screw," and one use of "f--k."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults drink wine and beer in social settings in several scenes. College-aged kids smoke throughout the movie and drink beer in their home in one instance.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Louder Than Words is a film about grief and remaking a family after a tragedy -- in this case, the death of a child. Given that subject matter, the film is likely best for teens or mature tweens. Attempts are made to lighten the heavy themes and unmistakable messages -- using sunny flashbacks and voice-over narration, as well as a positive outcome -- but sadness is the prevailing emotion. Many scenes take place in a hospital, turning from bleak to hopeless in grim surroundings. Occasional swearing is heard (i.e., "pissed," "crap," "hell," plus one use of "f--k"), a married couple kisses and passionately embraces in their bedroom, and a young woman is glimpsed in bed with a boyfriend. Characters (including three college-aged kids) drink alcoholic beverages in many social settings, but there's no drunkenness; the young people also smoke cigarettes. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Sad much of the time, uplifting in a few victorious moments, this movie is OK viewing for families and teens. It's difficult for one film to capture the emotional journey of five family members, as well as tell the story of the dad's quest to build a hospital in memory of his daughter. And when the filmmakers also attempt to provide a meaningful portrayal of the child who dies, some things are sure to be given short shrift. No one can fault the film's intent or the effort of director Anthony Fabian, his screenwriter, and the actors involved. There are very touching moments, sincere suggestions of the gradual resurgence of life in a family after the tragedy, and a lovely, heartfelt performance by Davis.
But too much is expected. LOUDER THAN WORDS barely registers the complex feelings of the family's three college-aged kids, and the inclusion of repetitive fund-raising efforts on behalf "Maria's" hospital feels extraneous and obvious. Much surer hands were needed to give this movie the spirit and heft the filmmakers wanted it to have.
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.