Mark Reviews Movies

The Music of Silence


2 Stars (out of 4)

Director: Michael Radford

Cast: Toby Sebastian, Jordi Mollà, Luisa Ranieri, Nadir Caselli, Ennio Fantastichini, Alessandro Sperduti, Antonio Banderas

MPAA Rating: Not rated

Running Time: 1:55

Release Date: 2/2/18 (limited)

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Capsule review by Mark Dujsik | February 1, 2018

Here's the story of opera singer Andrea Bocelli, whose name appears prominently in the credits (as the writer of the memoir that's the foundation for the story, as a music contributor, and as a "special guest appearance") but never in the actual story. The central narrative device is that these are the singer's memories, placed upon a fictional counterpart by the name of Amos Bardi (Tony Sebastian)—a first name he has always liked and a surname that sounds appropriately Tuscan. In theory, The Music of Silence may be Bocelli's story, but in practice, it's also not.

One assumes that the conceit was devised by Bocelli for his book as a way to get around the limitations of memory. Any errors or narrative shorthand can be dismissed, since the central character isn't really him. Whatever the reason, it's a strange thing carried over by the movie, written by Anna Pavignano and director Michael Radford.

It's also a relatively minor quibble in the big picture of this biography. What we learn of Amos—and, by extension, Bocelli—is that he was born with glaucoma, lost his eyesight completely as a boy, discovered a love of singing with the help of his uncle Giovanni (Ennio Fantastichini), kept up and honed his craft (with the help of a maestro played by Antonio Banderas), and eventually became famous. It's a by-the-book story of a life, with some obstacles—some of them self-imposed (Amos stops singing for a while after reaching puberty, since he can't stand the sound of his mature voice) and some of them matters of chance—and a happy ending, filled with success and fame and romance.

In a way, it's admirable that the movie avoids any suggestion that Amos' physical limitations are at all the cause of any barrier to his success (Indeed, it's only when he abandons music that anyone looks at him in such a way). What do we actually learn about Amos, though? There isn't much here beyond the high and low points of his life. What we get from The Music of Silence is the story of a talented man—whose talents and good qualities are championed by just about every character in the movie at every possible opportunity—who simply waits for success to come to him.

Copyright © 2018 by Mark Dujsik. All rights reserved.

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