Today I had the day off of work, and usually when that happens I clean..or sleep..or read. Not today my friends, not today! I have really been wanting to see “Sound of My Voice” for quite some time now but it hadn’t come to my theater…until this past weekend. So of course when I had some free time today I ran right over to the movie theater and saw the movie all by myself!
To be honest, I could’ve went into the theater not even knowing what the movie was about and just the fact that Brit Marling co-wrote along with Zal Batmanglij and acted in it was enough to get me to see it, not to mention the true originality of the story!! You may not know who Brit Marling is, I didn’t either until I saw the movie “Another Earth” which was so beautiful and unique! Brit also co-wrote and acted in it (I highly recommend you see it as soon as you possibly can!). There is something about this woman, she is beautiful, smart, and very talented. It’s safe to say you WILL fall in love with her once you see these films.
Sound of my voice is about a couple (Lorna and Peter) who attempt to infiltrate, document, and expose a cult gathered in a San Fernando Valley basement whose leader, Maggie claims to be a time traveler from the year 2054.
The film begins with Peter (a substitute teacher) and Lorna (an ex-model/drug addict) preparing “on the outside” to become members of the cult themselves. After attending weekly meetings with many other new recruits, Peter and Lorna are instructed to (in this order) drive to a house, park in the garage, go inside, vigorously scrub themselves clean (re-born), change into hospital gowns, are blindfolded, have their hands zip-tied, are put into a van with other newbies, driven to a new location, untied and un-blindfolded (pause to take breath) they are FINALLY sent into the basement of the otherwise empty home where they must perform a special handshake, take a seat on the floor and wait to meet Maggie.
As the camera follows the feet of a mysterious young woman who is dressed in all white and wheels behind her an oxygen tank which protects her from the microorganisms of this time period that affect her depressed immune system. When Maggie takes a seat on the floor amongst all these curious people, her head is completely covered by her white shawl. She lifts the shawl only to reveal a 20 something year old eerily beautiful girl. And then comes one of my favorite parts, Maggie tells her story which is shown to us as a flashback of her waking up submerged in a strangers bathtub gasping for air, only to remember her name and a few other minor details about herself. She is forced to live on the streets until a man named Klaus comes looking for her. We learn that Maggie’s reason behind traveling back in time is to gather the “chosen ones” to take them to a “safe place”.
I really don’t think enough can be said about how incredible and captivating Brit Marling is as Maggie. Brit says that Maggie “is like a Dodecahedron” and has many different sides/faces throughout the movie. In some scenes like the “apple scene” she seems viscous as she bullies Peter in front of everyone. In other scenes like Maggie’s flashback of how she time-traveled to the present she seems to be ethereal. It’s so great to watch her as a character mercurialize into so may different sides of herself, being able to control the group without them even noticing!
Throughout the movie this large group of followers begins to dwindle as Maggie’s tests to purify them mentally and physically get harder and harder. What’s so great about this movie is how Peter and the movie-goer experience the same transitional thoughts and feelings about Maggie.. Peter originally thinks that Maggie is a crazy person/con artist living in a basement feeding lies to strangers to get them to follow her and inevitably commit a group suicide. I know that as I watched the movie I thought she was totally full of crap too but just like Peter, Brit Marling started to gradually convince me that not only was her character Maggie really from the future but she also made me want to be in her cult and follow her (obviously I don’t really want to join a cult but yes, Brit was THAT convincing).
Peter seems to be the most connected character to cults, and it’s ultimately his character progression and his interactions with Maggie throughout the movie that is the most interesting. Maggie begins to penetrate Peter emotionally, exposing a secret past that reveals what brought him there in the first place. We learn that when Peter was 12 his mother was diagnosed with cancer and because she was an avid cult member, she refused any kind of treatment. On the eve of Peter’s 13th birthday his mother died and he woke up 13 and motherless, leaving Peter with nothing but feelings of hate towards cults.
The movie really takes a dangerous turn when Peter is asked to come meet alone with Maggie and she orders him to bring her…something (for sake of spoilers I’m keeping this vague) that he realistically cannot get for her without being arrested or fired from his job at the school. This test of Peter’s faith in Maggie is the point where we realize just how far he is willing to go to expose her or whether or not that’s even what Peter cares about anymore. The lines keeping Peter separate from Maggie and the cult begin to blur.
I would have to label this movie a Thriller for sure. It’s almost like watching a magician levitate something, it’s magical, but at the same time the audience is always looking for the strings, looking to expose the magician. Yes, Maggie is very much like a magician. She has a magical almost hypnotic way.She something of a She knows future information about her followers that a normal person couldn’t possibly have access to. Please go see this movie! It might seem a little strange at first but it leaves you feeling curious!
quotes from the movie
“If you allow yourself to get quiet now and again, to really be still, you will hear the sound of my voice” -Maggie
“The ones who will not only survive but will thrive are the ones that realize there’s nothing to be afraid of” -Maggie
“I think we’re in over our heads. We started out wanting to make a documentary on cults..now were in one” -Lorna
“Somewhere in the valley there’s a woman living in a basement who claims to be from the future. She’s actually ammasing followers, these people who actually believe that she will lead them to salvation. Yes she’s dangerous, but we have to see this thing through all the way” -Peter
“It has to cost something to be worth something” -Maggie
“the hardest thing for humans is transition but we can experience things beyond your wildest imagination” -Maggie
Some questions I had throughout the movie: I would have liked to learn more about the little girl Abigail Prichet. Like why did she always wear that hat? And why was she obsessed with building strange things out of black leggos? And what the hell was her dad shooting her up with at night…was he medicating her to help her sleep or was it some sort of weird incest type situation?
How about that lady cop and her hotel scene…what was that about? If she was a cop why was she checking the whole room up and down before opening that package? And it bothers me that when she said “if you help catch Maggie, I will tell you what she really needs the little girl for” and then she never said why!!! WTF? Not cool lady cop, not cool!
Oooh and the ending, what a great ending! I almost was 100% sure that Maggie was phoney BUT THEN that secret handshake with the little girl who is apparently her mother just threw me for a loop. I really can’t express how freaking badly I need them to make another installment! Luckily they plan to do just that if the movie receives enough attention for it to be worth it.