Innocent Voices (Voces inocentes)

Critics Consensus

Innocent Voices is a passionately told dramatization of an ugly issue of war -- its impact on children.



Total Count: 49


Audience Score

User Ratings: 6,696
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Innocent Voices (Voces inocentes) Photos

Movie Info

The bloody civil war which tore apart El Salvador in the 1980s is seen through the eyes of a young boy in this drama from director Luis Mandoki. Chava (Carlos Padilla) is 11 years old and growing up in a small town in El Salvador where the fighting between rebels and government troops is a daily fact of life. Chava's father has abandoned the family, leaving him behind as the man of the house while his mother (Leonor Varela) and sister try to maintain a normal life by day while dodging bullets by night. Chava's 12th birthday is coming up, which puts the boy in a dangerous position -- at 12, he'll be old enough to join the army and be used as cannon fodder against the rebels, so he and his classmates try to find out when military recruiters will be coming to their schools so they can plan to be absent that day. However, as Chava faces both danger and adventure in his little town, the war edges in closer all the time until it can't be avoided any longer. Voces Inocentes (aka Innocent Voices) was the first Spanish-language film in 18 years for director Mandoki, who came to the United States after the international success of 1987's Gaby: A True Story.

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Critic Reviews for Innocent Voices (Voces inocentes)

All Critics (49) | Top Critics (19)

  • Based on screenwriter Oscar Torres's childhood, Mandoki's gripping film may pull on the heartstrings too knowingly, but it's hard to forget the sight of the village's children lying silent and still on every rooftop.

    Nov 1, 2007 | Full Review…

    David Ansen

    Top Critic
  • Effective without being overwhelming.

    Oct 21, 2005 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • In the best parts of Innocent Voices, we experience both war's tragedy and its sometimes weird exhilaration -- with innocent clarity.

    Oct 20, 2005 | Rating: 3/4
  • Mandoki, who with this film returns to the Spanish-speaking cinema after a string of Hollywood films, has brought a sure sense of the visual and taut construction to Innocent Voices.

    Oct 14, 2005 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • The many riveting moments will stay with you for days, and Padilla is well up to the task of carrying this intense story on his tiny shoulders.

    Oct 14, 2005 | Rating: 3/4
  • It's a harrowing tale, but one that gets phonied up with unnecessary slo-mos, manipulative soundtrack cues, and unrestrained thespianism.

    Oct 14, 2005 | Rating: 2.5/4

Audience Reviews for Innocent Voices (Voces inocentes)

  • Nov 08, 2010
    I am surprised that having witnessed a true story about a boy losing his innocence during the civil war in El Salvador with grueling pictures of the atrocities of war and the things a 11 year old goes through, I did not quite feel overwhelmed.
    Nicolas K Super Reviewer
  • Sep 05, 2010
    This is a very moving story based around kids in this war torn country, and what they have to go through to stay alive. This is a very well done film.
    Cynthia S Super Reviewer
  • May 03, 2009
    The story of a 11-year-old boy and his family who lived in El Salvador during the civil war. When you see this film, you see war from a human sight rather than political. The normal life, childhood innocence and the cruelty of war is what makes this film so real. This film should be viewed by all people around the world and it is like campaign against any kind of war. All wars can only bring disaster and suffering to people, even to the innocence,such as children. I believe there is always a way out for every problem. I highly recommend it because of the message the film brought in and for how amazingly well made it is. See this film.
    Daisy M Super Reviewer
  • Jan 13, 2009
    Gripping anti-war offering from director Luis Mandoki. <i>Innocent Voices</i> shows us the civil war in El Salvador through the eyes of a child. Mandoki presents a harsh but accurate indictment of the war and of the U.S. involvement in it.
    Randy T Super Reviewer

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