The Quiet Jamie Babbit

I don’t know why this movie’s called The Quiet — it’s a pretty noisy affair, full of loud narration, loud arguments, loud melodrama and (I hope) loud audience protests over its trivialisation of genuine trauma.

Camilla Belle plays a teenage girl who is apparently deaf and dumb but still manages to spit out a maudlin voiceover about how life sucks and how she wishes everyone would go away. As her parents are dead, she’s billeted with godparents Edie Falco and Martin Donovan, the latter of whom tries to demonstrate Belle’s thesis by molesting his daughter (Elisha Cuthbert).

But if you’re banking on a sober treatment of controversial subject matter, you haven’t bartered with director Jamie Babbit, who manages to turn this tale of lies and incest into a really racy episode of The O.C. She’s not working with much — the script by Abdi Nazemian and Micah Schraft is ludicrous to the extreme — but she commits completely to their lurid vision and purple prose dialogue instead of working around it.

You can tell that the filmmakers did exactly no research into this half-assed fever dream and it shows in their sensationalising of adolescent obscenity and sexual molestation. The cast do what they can, with Falco making the most of her thankless pill-popping zombie role, but it’s simply impossible for them to rise above the cheesy theatrics and faux austerity of Babbit’s cool blue interiors.

Prospective viewers should be prepared to roll their eyes early and often at the camp, which wouldn’t have been such a bad thing were it not for the fact that it’s broaching some fairly sensitive topics with all the concern of a vulture waiting for a desert animal to die. (Mongrel Media)