Silent Fall (1994) - Rotten Tomatoes

Silent Fall (1994)

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Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

This by-the-numbers psychodrama about a child psychologist trying to discern the truth behind a pair of murders stars Richard Dreyfuss as Dr. Jake Rainer, a child psychologist living in an upscale community. Rainer retired when a patient committed suicide, but the local sheriff (J.T. Walsh) calls him to the scene of a double murder. In a lavish home, Rainer meets Tim Warden (Ben Faulkner) and his sister Sylvie (Liv Tyler, in her feature film debut), whose parents have been brutally slain. Sylvie hid in a closet and didn't see the killer, but Tim, who is autistic and cannot communicate, witnessed the crime. Rainer starts the complicated process of reaching Tim through gentle psychological techniques based on his theory that autistics think in sequences, while a colleague (John Lithgow) simply wants to drug the child into revealing the killer's identity. The real-life son of child psychologists who worked with autistic children, Silent Fall screenwriter Akiva Goldsman had better success with his first film, an adaptation of The Client (1994), a drama with a similar plot and themes.

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Cast

Richard Dreyfuss
as Jake Rainer
Ben Faulkner
as Tim Warden
Linda Hamilton
as Karen Rainer
John Lithgow
as Dr. Rene Harlinger
J.T. Walsh
as Sheriff Mitch Rivers
Liv Tyler
as Sylvie Warden
Zahn McClarnon
as Deputy Bear
Ron Tucker
as Forensic Detective
Jane Beard
as Carol Simmons
Helen Hedman
as Sheriff's Wife
Brandon Stouffer
as 1st Halloween Kid
Treva Moniik King
as 2nd Halloween Kid
Sean Baldwin
as Halloween Monster
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Critic Reviews for Silent Fall

All Critics (17) | Top Critics (6)

Poorly scripted by Akiva Goldsman, this murder mystery (helmed by Bruce Beresford) represents an awkward synthesis of autism and family abuse as social problems, failing to deliver suspense or excitement on any level.

Full Review… | February 1, 2007
Variety
Top Critic

Beresford draws the best from a fine cast. Only when he tries to up the thrill quotient near the end are the contrivances of Akiva Goldsman's debut script revealed, like cracks in the smooth surface of a frozen lake.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

It's the kind of picture that results when a film maker loses sight of the fact that a portion of his audience might actually think while watching a movie.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
ReelViews
Top Critic

So predictable that you would almost swear you'd seen it before.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

Silent Fall, a dramatically repressed psychodrama, could be sued for creative malpractice.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

A tense and terrific thriller. Tyler is a standout.

August 17, 2008
Moviehole

Audience Reviews for Silent Fall

A tortuously constructed plot which relies on utterly unrealistic plot contrivances and whose ultimate solution is painfully obvious far too early.

Lee Mayo
Lee Mayo
½

very moving and sad.. the suspense was intimate.. one of my mother's picks so didnt pay much attention .. i might have to watch it again.

C.G. Carrillo
C.G. Carrillo
½

Starts off strongly with a very palpable sense of mystery that immediately grabs the viewer's interest... but then it becomes obvious and not as intriguing as its start. Solid performances and slick direction but the script isn't as clever as it wants to think it is... Mystery fans may want to give this a rental, others should just rent Hitchcock's "Spellbound" instead.

David Schwenker
David Schwenker

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