Brett (Artpig)’s review published on Letterboxd:
Honestly this was the perfect movie for me to watch after my lukewarm reaction to Apocalypse Now, because while Apocalypse Now was kinda an exercise in style, A Silent Voice is a character study, and that's kinda what I was needing right now.
This movie has slowly got me thinking more and more about it after I watched it, and I honestly believe its one of the most ambitious, stunning and poignant anime films I've ever watched. It could get a perfect score with a rewatch, because I won't lie, the subtitle work on this film was pretty poor, like worse then usual. Which is kinda a bummer because the movie is so good but I do know I missed some dialouge just because of how bad the sub was (and yes, I get that you aren't supposed to understand what the deaf girl is saying, that's not what I'm talking about, I'm talking about how bad the grammar actually was. I mean, usually it's kinda weirdly translated and I get that, but, it was more jarring then.)
Anyways, other then that, this movie was just about as perfect as movies get. This movie has a Terrence Mallick approach to storytelling in the way it tells its story with no real through line structure, yet, it's able to be more compelling then his entire filmography honestly (coming from a big fan of Tree of Life, that's how good this movie is.)
I love that all these characters are flawed people who can mess up- big time- yet, aren't all hatable jerks. Even at the start of the film, showing our main characters in Elementary and our main character harassing a girl just because she's deaf, they cut back to him in the present and his inner thoughts and feelings, which makes us feel as though we know the character, we understand him and we want him to get better, which is the perfect set up to be completely captured by his life and all the people he meets.
All the characters in this, the deaf girls sister, the main characters new best friend and everyone else has distinctive traits about them that make them feel human and relatable, and all feature a core element to make the film be what it is. To advance the story, get their own development to make us care about them and in the end add to the overall theme of the film. It's perfectly realized.
This movie is really about the effects of bullying and misunderstanding, and the guilt and baggage one can carry throughout their lives. It's kinda in the same vein of 13 Reasons Why, but, in my opinion better executed (and I like that show, again, this movie is just so friggin good.)
It's a very important and heavy movie, yet, I honesty felt uplifted in the end. It's like someone else (someone who lives across the world from me) gets some of my own social anxieties, insecurity and guilt I have to carry myself and told me, "it's okay, everyone is a little uncomfortable sometimes, that's life," but, also showed me the terrific friends you can meet along the way and the great times you can have if you just face your fears of getting into a situation that is necessary but might make you feel a bit out of place at first. This is a normal and healthy thing to feel.
It also showed however, to just not settle on what you do or who you hang out with, because you may regret how you spent that time or how you affected someone, something I've also witnessed in my own life, which is a super important message to spread and not one commonly looked upon right now in my opinion. It's one I'm tackling in my own short film I'm working on right now, so, it was kinda incredible to see it done this well.
All in all, A Silent Voice is one of the best anime movies I've ever seen. It's up there with the streak of amazing Anime films I've seen like The Boy and the Beast and Your Name, yet, I might like this one the most out of those 3, which I can't believe I'm typing but I am.
This film is honestly a solid contender in being in my 10 best of the year and possibly even in my Top 100 favorites. I just keep thinking about it and more and more of it's poignancy washes over me. Can't wait to watch the English dub. What a terrific film, hats off to everyone who made this beautiful, beautiful piece of art.
Grade: A (Quality of Chic Fil A Sandwich)