John (David Duchovny) and Brenda (Hope Davis) Faeri have great careers and a fantastic family. When their youngest daughter suddenly is diagnosed as terminally ill their happy lives are thrown into chaos. Rather than fall apart, John decides to take their experience and use it to help other families by building a better children’s hospital than the one they brought their daughter to, with the hope that better facilities and care can prevent a situation like theirs from happening again.
A quick perusing of the premise of ‘Louder Than Words’ gives the immediate impression that it will be a rather depressing watch, but this could not be further from the truth. This is a story about life after death, and the film does a masterful job not dwelling on death, even though given the story this would be an understandable direction.
The performances throughout the film are tempered and fantastic. They beautifully capture the complexities of surviving the death of a family member and the different tolls that such a traumatic event has on people. Beyond this is the secondary story of how a marriage survives such a deep blow as the death of a child. Both Duchovny and Davis do this (unfortunately) all-too-real aspect of life great justice with their terrific performances.
The film itself has a bit of a pacing problem, with a share of slow moments that just drag on too long. Coupled with this, there are a few too many (more than one) throwaway shots of leaves, nature, or the surroundings paired with similarly tedious music used to raise emotion. Rather than let the story and its characters speak for themselves, the film seems to feel the need to manufacture feelings. The script has plenty of heart on its own. The film does not need to pander for an emotional response.
‘Louder Than Words’ is a thoughtful and goodhearted film about life, death, and family. It suffers from a bit too much film trickery aimed at upping the audience’s response, but is a good watch nonetheless.