Distant Voices, Still Lives
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Distant Voices, Still Lives
Set in 1940s England, Distant Voices/Still Lives is a compassionate look at a radically dysfunctional family. The son and his mother must endure the casual and overt cruelties of the bull-necked father. The ongoing abuse takes its toll in the form of failed marriages and misguided attempts at seeking security outside the family unit. As was the case with his earlier short subject trilogy (The Children, Madonna and Child, Death and Transfiguration), director Terence Davies based much of the material on his own life, combining rheumy-eyed cynicism with soft-edged nostalgia (the musical track,… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 78%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"A gripping and original piece of work, itself sure to be remembered as one of the finest films of the year."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Tribune
"Screen dreams are strangest and strongest when they hit close to home. In Terence Davies' searing [Distant Voices, Still Lives]... mystery resides in the vision of his mother, magically poised on the hall sill, washing the outside windows."
‑ Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine
"Even the movie's "smile though your heart is aching" optimism is depressing. What keeps the movie going is the director's always distinctive, sometimes arresting style, and the earnest, authentic acting."
‑ Gary Thompson, Philadelphia Daily News
"The editing is relegated to a series of quick (often mercifully so) blackouts. Time shifts occur at random and often confuse."
‑ Roger Hurlburt, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
"Arguably Terence Davies' masterpiece, this poetic evocation of the director's childhood in Liverpool is highly stylized and original in conception and execution."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"Just as you think you have its moves all doped out, a scene of such shocking beauty flashes before you that it takes your breath away."
‑ Sheila Benson, Los Angeles Times
"Sadly, most of the time Distant Voices is a hit parade of Father's swiftest punches played to the hit parade that he might have been listening to on the radio."
‑ Carrie Rickey, Philadelphia Inquirer
"A rigorously controlled account of the experience of Davies's older siblings growing up in a working-class Merseyside terrace in the Forties and Fifties."
‑ Philip French, Observer [UK]
"Tinted with all the sensuous pathos of a faded photograph, Terence Davies' 1988 debut remains one of the most stunning British films ever made."
‑ , Total Film
"A rich tapestry, which delves into how our reminiscences work."
‑ Amber Wilkinson, Eye for Film
"When a forty-four-year-old man makes a movie about his family and friends sitting around singing old tunes, you certainly don't expect an unforgettable amalgam of humor and heartbreak. But that is precisely what Terence Davies delivers."
‑ Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
"This isn't a film based on nostalgia, though; its very special qualities stem from the beautiful simplicity of direction, writing and playing, and the accuracy of the incidents depicted."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"It's a movie of astonishing power and bold originality, marked by poignant humor and a stream of transcendent song that tempers the frequent harshness of the story."
‑ David Sterritt, Christian Science Monitor
"In this very personal portrait, Davies, the artist, has re-created universal experiences -- familiar passions and needs -- that draw us to his family's humanity."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"Brilliant, unique and poignant autobiographical drama."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
More reviews for Distant Voices, Still Lives on Rotten Tomatoes