Silent Fall is a 1994 American psychological thriller film directed by Bruce Beresford and starring Richard Dreyfuss, Linda Hamilton, John Lithgow, J. T. Walsh, and Liv Tyler in her debut role. The plot focuses on a boy with autism who is the only witness to the savage double murder of his parents.

Silent Fall
Theatrical release poster
Directed byBruce Beresford
Written byAkiva Goldsman
Produced byJames G. Robinson
CinematographyPeter James
Edited byIan Crafford
Music byStewart Copeland
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • October 28, 1994 (1994-10-28)
Running time
101 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$30 million[1]
Box office$3.2 million[1]

Plot Edit

Timothy "Tim" Warden, a boy with autism, has supposedly witnessed his parents' ruthless murder. Jake Rainer, a former child psychiatrist turned therapist, is called on to probe the child's mind in order to solve the case.

The psychological drama is provided by the fact that not even Jake can entice Tim to communicate what he has or has not seen regarding the crime. Tim's sister, Sylvie, is protective of him. She eventually warms to Jake's efforts, but is concerned when she learns he was implicated in the suicide of another young child who was under his care.

Jake gradually befriends Tim. At first, Jake thinks that Tim is trying to communicate by cutting up playing cards, but Sylvie reveals that Tim is good at mimicking voices. Jake is able to trigger Tim's memory so that Tim mimics the voices he heard on the night of the murder by using the trigger phrase "God Damn," which were the first words Tim heard from the murder. He attempts to piece together the chronology of the murder, suspecting that Tim interrupted a fight between his parents and an intruder.

Sheriff Mitch Rivers threatens to use drugs to get Tim to talk about the murder and Dr. Rene Harlinger successfully hypnotizes Tim into breaking down a locked door. The police chief, seeing this as proof of Tim's strength, concludes that Tim was the murderer, after finding photographs showing that Tim's father was molesting him.

That night, Sylvie plans to take Tim away and attempts to convince Jake to run away with them. She fails, and instead panickedly paralyzes Jake and throws him into an icy lake to drown him. Tim mimics the police chief's voice through the phone to lure Sylvie to the police station and pulls Jake out of the lake while she is away.

Sylvie returns and Jake reveals that he has solved the mystery by examining Tim's cut up playing cards. It was actually Sylvie who killed her parents because her father had raped her repeatedly and was trying to do the same to Tim, and her mother was aware of the abuse and stayed silent the entire time. Sylvie tearfully tries to kill Jake again to stop other people from learning about her secret, but is persuaded not to do so by Tim who speaks with his own voice for the first time.

Jake, his wife Karen, and Tim go out for trick-or-treating on Halloween. Tim has gradually improved and now can speak in his own voice as well as smile. Jake's conversation with his wife reveals that Sylvie will be moved to a mental hospital with minimum security in the near future.

Cast Edit

Production Edit

Akiva Goldsman wrote the screenplay under the title of Indian Summer which was acquired by Morgan Creek Entertainment for $500,000 in February of 1991.[2] In August 1993, it was announced Richard Dreyfus had signed on to star in the film. [3] In September 1993, it was reported that Dreyfus had missed the first day of filming as he was invited by the White House to attend the signing of the Oslo I Accord.[4]

To prepare for his role, Ben Faulkner visited and observed children with autism at the Linwood Center in Ellicott City, Maryland. Faulkner claims he was unaware of what autism was prior to the making of the film.[5]

A majority of the film was shot in and around Baltimore.[5]

Reception Edit

Silent Fall received negative reviews from critics, as it holds a 26% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 19 reviews.[6] Produced on a budget of $30 million, the film grossed $3,180,674 in the United States and Canada.[1] It opened on 1,251 screens with a opening weekend gross of $1.5 million and finishing in tenth place at the US box office[1] but by its third weekend it was only on 256 screens and its gross had reduced by 90% to finish 40th.[7] It dropped a further 93% by its fourth weekend, finishing 74th.[8] Critic Roger Ebert gave the film 1.5 stars out of 4, saying the film "has a torturously constructed plot, but the solution to the mystery has been right there all along."[9]

Year-end lists Edit

Awards and nominations Edit

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. ^ a b c d Silent Fall at Box Office Mojo
  2. ^ "Kouf/Bigelow Expands Slate". Variety. Retrieved December 11, 2022.
  3. ^ "Arsenio bows boffo 'Bopha!'". Variety. Retrieved December 11, 2022.
  4. ^ "Brando buddy to pen own book". Variety. Retrieved December 11, 2022.
  5. ^ a b Chen, Howard Henry (26 October 1994). "Little Towson actor bears witness to the whims of fate". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 3 January 2018.
  6. ^ Silent Fall (1994), retrieved 2022-03-10
  7. ^ "Film box office report". Daily Variety. November 15, 1994. p. 8.
  8. ^ Klady, Leonard (November 22, 1994). "'Trek' lands starry bow". Daily Variety. p. 3.
  9. ^ Ebert, Roger (October 28, 1994). "Silent Fall Review & Film Summary". The Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved December 10, 2016.
  10. ^ Lovell, Glenn (December 25, 1994). "The Past Picture Show the Good, the Bad and the Ugly – a Year Worth's of Movie Memories". San Jose Mercury News (Morning Final ed.). p. 3.
  11. ^ "Berlinale: 1995 Programme". Retrieved December 31, 2011.

External links Edit