Staring Peter Sarsgaard and Rashida Jones, The Sound of Silence is a drama about the silent influence sound may have in determining the choices we make in life.
Set in the city that never sleeps, Peter Lucian (Peter Sarsgaard) is a “house tuner” who visits clients’ homes to assess the soundscape of their living space. Peter studied music theory and believes that sounds all around the city function in a harmonic way and have their own individual notes (much like a melody) and when sounds are unharmonious they can subconsciously create anxiety, depression and other mood disorders in an individual. Ultimately, Peter believes that way people subconsciously internalize the soundscape around influences human behavior.
Often Peter will observe that the sound of common household appliances that do not harmonize well with other mechanical objects in a home. In the opening scene, Peter visits the home of a man who cannot sleep and Peter deduces it’s because of the sound his radiator makes. “It’s a D-flat. Your problem is your heating unit, when paired with the low tones produced by your kitchen appliances, the note emitted from your radiator is contributing to your anxiety.” Sure enough, after Peter fixes the radiator the man is finally able to sleep. The average person cannot pick up on these low-frequency sounds but Peters well-trained ear is able to pick up on these subtle notes.
Peter is usually able to guess the source of someone’s anxiety before he even steps into their home. But Peter finally encounters a conundrum when he meets Ellen (Rashida Jones.) Ellen lives alone and works at a fast-paced nonprofit organization. She also recently separated from her partner but still has lingering feelings from the breakup. Unable to sleep, Ellen consults with Peter who tells her that that cause of her sleeping problems is an old toaster. But when Ellen takes his advise and gets a new toaster, her insomnia persists. Peter not being able to figure out the cause of Ellen’s stress backs him into a corner where is must question the validity of his sound theory.
Where Peter believes that sound determines human behavior and moods, Ellen believes that people ultimately make their own conscious choices of what they want to do and how they want to feel. While Peter feels deeply connected to the soundscape of Manhattan, Ellen challenges him by suggesting that his disconnection people also plays a huge role in emotions and life choices.
The Sound of Silence is a slow placed film with a very straight forward plot and no twist and turns. But that film does not need a complex plot to intrigue audiences. The film is carried by an ambiance of stillness and serenity that strips down the noise of the city and forces the audience to get in touch with their core. Who are we and what moves us?
The film is now playing in theaters[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ejZ75QFesgE?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent]