Published Oct 01, 2004Raise Your Voice is a ridiculous cheese fest rife with clichés and frighteningly puritanical underpinnings. The movie stars Hilary Duff as Terri Fletcher, a small town girl with singing aspirations who applies to the most prestigious summer music program in the country. Her strict dad (David Keith) won't let his little girl go off to L.A. on her own while her loving (a bit too loving; it borders on creepy) brother Paul (Jason Ritter) encourages her to the point of secretly filming her and sending in a video on her behalf.
Sudden tragedy strikes the family, but when Terri actually gets accepted to the music program, she, her mom and her free-spirited aunt (Rebecca De Mornay) conspire to hide the truth from her dad and send her off to California. At the school, Terri finds her voice, friendship, love, acceptance, etc. and learns important life lessons while taking part in numerous jam sessions.
This movie is music montage city: there's the family tragedy montage, the new girl in the big, scary city montage, the finally fitting in with friends montage (my favourite, because it included a slow motion scene featuring a mime). The film clearly uses this device in lieu of any kind of character development. The script is mind-numbing, with clumsy exposition, terrible dialogue and a colour by numbers plot. At least Fame, which is basically the same movie, had a dark side, with at least one character getting into cocaine and porn.
Raise Your Voice has "Christian family values" written all over it, with chaste Terri running off to pray all the time, saving her confused "Heath Ledger wannabe" boyfriend from the drink and patronising her token black roommate (who is, of course, poor but a talented entertainer).
John Corbett, as the requisite sensitive hippie music teacher, makes things even more nauseating by spewing some crap about how "artists feel things differently than other people." Blech. (Alliance Atlantis)