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Movie Review: Sound of My Voice

June 1, 2012

One of the most fascinating films I saw at SXSW 2011 was an indie film called Sound of My Voice.  The premise is modest-an aspiring pair of filmmakers decide they want to infiltrate a cult they have learned about, presumably to expose the leader as being full of crap. She claims to be from the future, anyone in her presence must go through a scrub down and wear white robes so as not to expose her to any present time germs. Her group has a slavish devotion to her, because they believe she has true knowledge of the future, but her only proof is a “traveler” tattoo on her ankle. How gullible can you get?

When ethereal actress Brit Marling plays that woman, you can almost see why. She’s gorgeous, she’s mysterious, and she is masterfully manipulative at controlling her subjects through some mind-blowing psychobabble. And she’s sooo good at it, you might find yourself getting sucked in. What if she’s the real deal?  That’s the question the film posits, and our two filmmakers (Pete and Lorna) find themselves going through complex reactions during their increasing time with the cult. It’s a remarkably smart movie and a unique take on a cult. Most charismatic cult leaders are depicted as creepy men (think Martha Marcy May Marlene), but having an innocent and frail woman take on that role adds a twist. We see quick glimpses of Pete and Lorna’s pasts, and you can see how easy it is for Maggie to crack their psyches. It’s chilling and enthralling.

The acting is solid, but Marling is the standout. Keep an eye on her; she’s headed big places. She has now co-written and starred in two films (the other being Another Earth, catch it if you haven’t seen it).  They have both been one of my favorites of the year.

Sound of My Voice was done on a true shoestring budget, there’s nothing special about the look of the product, this is just great, original writing, and that’s exciting. I hope Marling continues to contribute to the indie set. The ending is frustratingly ambiguous, but it produced lots of discussion on the way out. What was really amazing is that not one person in my party had the same theory on the ending. That’s the kind of movie I love, one that initiates intelligent discussion.

Sound of My Voice is rated R and playing at the following locations:

Tivoli Manor Square

  • Wheelchair Accessible Hearing Devices Available 4050 Pennsylvania Avenue, Kansas City MO 64111 | (913) 383-7756


1:30 pm | 4:30 | 7:30


Directed by Zal Batmanglij. Written by Zal Batmanglij and Brit Marling. Starring Brit Marling, Christopher Denham and Nicole Vicius. 4/5


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