Lorna's Silence (2008)
Critic Consensus: Subtle and emotionally bleak, this gripping thriller features the Dardenne brothers' recognizable penchant for realism and very strong performances.
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as Claudy Moreau
as Monique Sobel
as mental health nurse
as morgue employee
as Male Bank Clerk
as Female Doctor
as Claudy's Mother
as Claudy's Brother
as ER Paramedic
as Drug Dealer
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as Woman at the Burial
as Obstetrician Nurse
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Critic Reviews for Lorna's Silence
A soul-crushing weight rests upon Lorna (Dobroshi), the Albanian-immigrant heroine of the Dardenne brothers' stunning proletarian character study.
Still, what initially promises to be a morality tale doesn't really have any messages to speak of about immigration, womanhood, poverty, humanity or anything else for that matter.
Lorna's Silence is not only a beautiful film, but also one that moves the filmmakers' art forward a small step or two -- a tectonic shift for these art cinema old faithfuls.
The results are no less emotionally gratifying or personal than in [the Dardennes'] previous films, but Lorna's Silence is mysterious and mystifying in an entirely new way.
Audience Reviews for Lorna's Silence
A cold, bleak Belgian film that gives equal importance both to what is not seen and heard and what is. "Lorna's Silence" is a rigid character study by the Dardenne brothers that will be challenging to many. The goal here was seemingly to reflect on the power of absence and silence, and while this focus makes it feel weightless and even pointless at times, these are intentional design choices that offer up food for thought with varying degrees of success.
I haven't seen a movie quite like Lorna's Silence for a long time. I really do love these films that are just so pretentious, exadurated, and melodramatic, yet strangly plausible. For the most part the audience has to figure out what is going on for themselves. This really works well, especially since the plot is relatively simple. At the same time it is thoroughly engrossing to watch. I have no idea if the whole citizenship underground/espionage actually exists, but it is fasinating on-screen. Lorna's Silence does absolutely everything you would expect from a film of its prestige and style; and to top it off, its really rather good.
"Lorna's Silence," the new film from Belgium's Dardenne brothers, effectively creates a frightening vision of a world filled with people almost completely lacking empathy. But the story drags in the second half, and the film has an almost polemical edge that weakens its power. The characters start to seem like artificial fabrications meant to drive home the Dardennes' socio-political critiques.
The protagonists are Albanians who have built an elaborate scam to benefit Russians and other Easterners trying to get citizenship in the European Union. Deeply disturbing is the cold, matter-of-fact way they put value on the lives of others. Lorna, the main character, is the only woman in the group. I don't want to reveal all the details, so let's just say that Lorna sees this lack of empathy for others most vividly. Her central dilemma is whether to continue in this life or make some changes. Her struggle is profound, and the lives of several others hang in the balance.
My problem is that the Albanians' complete amorality starts to seem phony. European filmmakers frequently try to fit life into their theories, rather than trying to build theories that match life. Here I felt the Dardennes were driven to convey a message about contemporary society, and they developed arch caricatures of people to drive that message home. But I wouldn't push this criticism too far. "Lorna's Silence" is still an important and very good film and should be seen by anyone who appreciates serious cinema. Just don't watch it when you're feeling fragile. The film does have the power to be deeply disturbing despite the fact that there's not one iota of on-screen violence. Its power to disturb is far more subtle.
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