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The Quiet Room
Australia 1996
Directed by Rolf De Heer
Running time 102 minutes
Rated PG
2 stars

An unnamed 7-year-old girl (Chloe Ferguson) refuses to talk in protest at her parents’ (Paul Blackwell and Celine O'Leary) inability to preserve the happy family she wants. Told entirely via the child’s voice-over his is brave film-making given the narrow parameters and non-cinematic subject matter but De Heer has made a career travelling the road less travelled. The principal problem with the film is the relatively static nature of the child's perspective. Once established the film becomes largely an exposition of that point of view and thus the satisfaction afforded depends on how much .one identifies or is sympathetic towards it. There is a secondary, double-edged problem with the film and that is that the child’s narration is improbably mature for one so young, but then surely the reality is that people argue and that relationships that begin in gauzy romance end in bickering. The naïve desire for it to be otherwise is simply not the way of the world. Thus, it is hard to imagine where the audience for this film is. De Heer’s films are often marred by sentimentalism and The Quiet Room is no exception. BH

DVD Extras: Available as part of a 6 disc Rolf De Heer Collection from Umbrella Entertainment that also includes Tail Of A Tiger, Epsilon, Bad Boy Bubby, Dingo, and Incident At Raven’s Gate.




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