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Till Human Voices Wake Us
Till Human Voices Wake Us
Actors: Guy Pearce, Helena Bonham Carter, Peter Curtin, Frank Gallacher, Lindley Joyner
Director: Michael Petroni
Genres: Drama
R     2003     1hr 41min

A ghostly romance from Australia. Guy Pearce is a brooding psychiatrist who must journey back to his family's summer home, to bury his father and settle some lingering childhood traumas. Helena Bonham Carter is the mysteri...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Guy Pearce, Helena Bonham Carter, Peter Curtin, Frank Gallacher, Lindley Joyner
Director: Michael Petroni
Creators: Michael Petroni, Andrew Deane, Beau Flynn, David Redman, Dean Murphy, Gareth Wiley, Justin Pearce
Genres: Drama
Sub-Genres: Drama
Studio: Paramount
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 07/29/2003
Original Release Date: 01/01/2003
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2003
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 1hr 41min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 5
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Slow and Dreary, but worthwhile!
Mark Twain | 07/05/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Written and directed by award-winning Australian filmmaker Michael Petroni (Tresspasses, Addicted), Till Human Voices Wake Us is a slow, dreary, and fascinating mystery starring Guy Pearce and Helena Bonham Carter, who deliver dazzling performances as always. It's a supernatural romance that tells the story of a psychologist (Pearce), who, upon returning to his childhood home to bury his dead father, encounters a mysterious woman (Carter), who evokes memories of a long-lost love.Fair warning: Till Human Voices Wake Us is not a good choice for people who prefer films that move quickly or make a lot of noise. So restrained is this Australian import that it flirts with outright sluggishness. But a close reading reveals that its reticence is more a charm than a disorder. Petroni's script draws from the poetry of T.S. Eliot, particularly "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock." The movie title comes from that poem; it is a fragment of a line that ends "and we drown." Petroni is enthralled with the imagery of drowning, which he uses to reveal as much about the character's hearts and minds as about their life stories. Imperfect though it is, Till Human Voices Wake Us delivers a graceful bow to the power of hope.

Till Human Voices Wake Us is beautiful in it's imagery and cinematography, music, acting and writing. It has so many themes which resonated with me on such a deep level. Themes such as look at how we deal with traumas in our life and how they impact on who we become as an adult. Themes about looking at the patterns of behaviour passed down from generation to generation and the huge difficulty in breaking those patterns. Perhaps most important to me was the message that you have to work through your past in a positive way so that you can be free to live your future.The characters are so beautifully created and the subtlety of the performances are just so moving. It's amazing how a glance or a breath can convey so many words and feelings. The film provided an absorbing and wonderful experience. Recommended for movie lovers, not just those looking for two hours of entertainment."
Beautiful, Bitter-Sweet Memories of Childhood:
Tsuyoshi | Kyoto, Japan | 08/05/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"'Till human voices wake us, and we drown.' This film's title comes from TS Eliot's poem 'The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock' which the heroine of the film loves to read. Like Eliot's poem, 'Till Human Voices Wake Us,' small Australian film is moody and intelligent though too slow for some people.

And very romantic. If you consider yourself a cynical person, don't watch this. In the summer of small village in Austlaria, a 15-year-old boy Sam comes back from the school. He meets Silvy again after long years, who is now experiencing a complete change into womanhood. They spend quiet and blissful time together in the wood, or by the river, like two innocent kids would. Then, something happens and Silvy is gone forever.

Cue to 20 years later. Now grown-up Sam (Guy Pearce) , a psychiatrist in Melboune University, receives a note, which brings him back to the village after 20 years. In this place full of bitter memories, he meets a woman Ruby (Helena Bonham Carter), who lost her memories after the shock of diving into the river. Sam, trying to help regain her memories, finds himself slowly attracted to her, and himself starts to accept his painful past.

You cannot accuse the film of too thin plot. The identity of Ruby is not a big mystery from the first, and the film does not attempt to hide the fact. Writer and director Michael Petroni clearly intends the film to be more atomospheric and symbolic than usual romances, for example, introducing many references to words (Ruby later turns out one such instance). The water plays significant role, so does butterfly, or the image of 'flying' (the young girl needed an aid to walk). I don't say they are put in the right places, but the ideas are pretty interesting.

But the most charms of the film come from the two leads, Carter and Pearce, who should stay away from any Sci-fi films in the future (no more apes, please, both of you). But more remarakable is the young actress Brooke Harman, who played Sylvie, who, in spite of her youth, is curiously seductive. Do not miss her.

Mostly too slow, and too talky at the same time, but that is the point of the film, which successfully conveys the bitter-sweet feelings of our lost childhood. And the images are beautiful, and so is Helena Bonham Carter."
Elegiac and beautiful
Deborah Mcmillion Nering | Phoenix, AZ United States | 08/11/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"It is almost impossible to describe the immersive feeling you get from this movie. Too slow? plodding? Not at all. If you don't have the patience to sit and allow the rain, the stars, and the moonlight in this movie to wash over you you probably won't get the ending anyway. This movie is for people with poetry in their soul and who can spend an evening lying on the grass watching the stars. I waited 2 years for this to release and it was worth every moment."
Painfully Beautiful
Www.SubjectiveArt.Com | Miami, FL USA | 12/08/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Not only the story being beautiful, the movie is beautifully done in terms of music, images, and story's structure. Similar sweetness and sadness are seen in the movie "My Girl"(1991).

It appears to be a mystic story, but it is rather realistic when thinking of how humans interpret all situations quite subjectively. The more honestly we live, the more subjective we become. The story itself is very sad, but because of its sadness the movie is painfully beautiful. I would imagine this one can be hard to watch for some people who are dealing with a great deal of grief.