Subject: Review: The Music of Silence (2018)
THE MUSIC OF SILENCE
(a film review by Mark R. Leeper)
CAPSULE: This is a fictionalized autobiography of one
of the most popular singers of all time, Andrea Bocelli.
It is based on his semi-autobiographical novel, THE MUSIC
OF SILENCE. The film is really a showcase not of
characters in his life, but of music that Bocelli has
loved. Only secondarily the music is tied together with
a story based on Bocelli's life. While the film is
telling of the singer's boyhood the film has direction.
Once the singer grows up the storytelling becomes
muddled. Michael Radford directs, but his effort is more
to show off the music than to delve into the souls of his
characters with much complexity. Rating: low +1 (-4 to +4)
Andrea Bocelli is one of the most popular singers in the world.
Born nearly blind with eyesight that would fail entirely at age
twelve, he learned to absolutely adore music. He sang as a child
but gave up singing and only went back to it as a profession in the
1980s. He sings popular music and opera. He is now considered
among the very finest singers in the world. Many people know of
him from the popular song "Con Te Partiro" ("Time to Say Goodbye").
There is a link to the song on YouTube below. (It tends to be an
earworm.) Curiously while this is Bocelli's signature melody, it
is never played in the film until the very end of the end titles.
To date, Bocelli has sold over 80 million records worldwide.
THE MUSIC OF SILENCE is a musical biography of Andrea Bocelli,
based upon his autobiography. The musical biography is a form that
has been with us at least since the 1940s when there were such bios
as A SONG TO REMEMBER (1945) about Chopin and NIGHT AND DAY (1946)
about Cole Porter. The biographical portion is generally just a
frame for pieces of music (often by the supposed subject of the
film). The accuracy of the framing story is usually of secondary
importance. NIGHT AND Day's version of Cole Porter's life is miles
wide of the mark--so much so the film bore almost no resemblance to
DE-LOVELY (2004), a second biopic about Porter. THE MUSIC OF
SILENCE is a semi-autobiographical story by Andrea Bocelli. The
film is filled with music from Bocelli's career and his love of
great music. The film has abundant pieces of music, especially
While I do not know specifics, undoubtedly the framing story has
some of the rougher edges smoothed down. The film tells the story
of Amos Bardi (played in the film as an adult by Toby Sebastian).
Amos was born with severe glaucoma. We see the world through his
eyes as just some blurry shapes. He cannot see visual beauty but
he can hear great music. As a baby he cries almost all the time,
but the one thing that will calm him is to hear opera music. His
problems multiply when as a teenager he has a football accident and
goes entirely blind. But his whole life from a baby to a young man
is an on-again, off-again relation with music, singing music and
making it. His curse is that he has a very good voice, but not
what it would need to be great. Also hurting his career is that he
refuses to submit to authority. He is his own man and lives his
life that way.
While Amos is a young man the viewer wants to see him succeed. The
film has direction. Later the story is not so keenly told. We see
disagreements that Amos has with other people and betrayals. But
we have lost investment in the character and will go along mostly
for the musical pieces that come wrapped in the story. Take away
the musical interludes and the film needs more to engage the
viewer. The characters are thin and needed to be developed more.
Sadly, the greatness of the music is not enough to pull the viewer
into the story. If one does not love the music the film loses all
its appeal. I rate The MUSIC OF SILENCE a +1 on the -4 to +4 scale
What others are saying:
Andrea Bocelli singing "Con Te Partiro":
Mark R. Leeper
Copyright 2018 Mark R. Leeper