Distant Voices, Still Lives
Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988)

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… More

Directed By:
Rated: PG-13
Running Time:
Genre: Drama
Release Date: September 11, 1988
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Critic Score: 79% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews

Consensus: Bracingly original and beautifully composed, Distant Voices, Still Lives is an invigorating period drama that finds director Terence Davies in peak form.

Richard Brody
New Yorker

With an unfailing eye for place, décor, costume, and gesture, the director glides his camera through tangles of memories to evoke joys and horrors with a similar sense of wonder.

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Peter Travers
Rolling Stone

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.

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Gary Thompson
Philadelphia Daily News

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.

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Dave Kehr
Chicago Tribune

A gripping and original piece of work, itself sure to be remembered as one of the finest films of the year.

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Richard Corliss
TIME Magazine

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.

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Philip French
Observer (UK)

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.

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Sheila Benson
Los Angeles Times

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.

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Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer

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.

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David Sterritt
Christian Science Monitor

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.

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More reviews for Distant Voices, Still Lives

Flixster Audience Score: 82% Flixster User Reviews
Cassandra Maples
Terence Davis moving, harrowing and elegantly artistic masterpiece is one of the few Britsh films of recent years to embody a distinctly British identity. The… More
John Ballantine
Pete Postlethwaite never made enough films for me. A great earlier performance from him here.
Emily B.
Terence Davies's autobiographical film of working-class life in 1940s/50s Liverpool. A brilliant, emotional and powerful film full of great acting. The… More