A Quiet Place: Family Over Fear

by Patrick Stallwood

 

WARNING: This article contains minor spoilers from A Quiet Place

 

A Quiet Place has been dominating the box office this month and for a good reason. The movie has garnered praise from critics and amateurs alike, who were pleasantly surprised by John Krasinski’s ability to direct, write, and star in an action-horror movie after rising to fame as Jim in The Office. John Krasinski and his wife Emily Blunt play the parents of actors Noah Jupe and Millicent Simmonds; collectively, they are known as the Abbot family. Simmonds performance is especially remarkable, as she is deaf and is playing a deaf child, bringing authenticity to the role. 

The premise of the movie is alluring in its simplicity. Blind monsters lurk the earth and hunt using sound. In this post-apocalyptic world, the Abbot family must find a way to survive. Any loud noise leads to certain death. As a result, the movie relies on creative storytelling to flesh out characters with limited dialogue. Sound is designed so creatively that it becomes a character. There are many deeper themes to investigate. One could analyze the importance of silence in a noisy society, or how deafness is treated with dignity through Simmonds’ performance. However, the theme that Krasinski has been the most vocal about is family, going so far as to state that the movie is more of a family story than a fear-filled horror film.

            

The Abbot family finds a way to live through the apocalypse and sustain a somewhat normal life through reciprocal sacrificial love. In times of disaster, it is common for families to become stronger as a result, and the Abbot’s are no exception. They start every meal by joining hands in silent prayer, unifying themselves to each other and God despite the circumstances. Silence is a survival mechanism, but it also makes all communication ordered toward good. Throughout the film, the Abbot family represents the ideal depictions of a father, mother, and children.

            

First, Emily Blunt’s performance reflects that of the ideal mother. Near the beginning of the movie, it is revealed that she is pregnant. Despite the potential risk of having a noisy newborn, she welcomes new life as a sign of light and hope. Additionally, she is dedicated to making life as normal as possible for her children. She homeschools them, protects them, and even modifies a game of Monopoly so her children can play quietly. Though she is motherly, she is in no way subordinate to her husband. She is dedicated to sacrificing everything to protect her children. “Who are we?” she askes her husband. “Who are we if we can’t protect them?”

            

Supporting the matriarch, John Krasinski’s performance as the patriarch displays the ideal characteristics of fatherhood. No matter how dire the situation, he always loves his wife and shows her that love. Since talking is dangerous, this love is demonstrated mostly through actions. While she is pregnant and vulnerable, he is dedicated to protecting her. Secondly, he is present to his children and teaches them how to survive on their own. He tells his son how important it is to be strong and support his mother. He then uses his intelligence to construct hearing aids for his deaf daughter. Even if they don’t work, he will always keep trying, because he will never give up on his daughter.

            

Lastly, Simmons’ and Jupe embody the ideal children. Though they still struggle with their parents at times, they always trust them. The son does not want to learn how to fish with his father, but he goes with him anyway. Simmons doesn’t want to take her father’s broken hearing aids, but she wears them anyway. They learn to lose their pride to follow the greater wisdom of their parents. Additionally, the children support and protect each other.

            

The roles of mother, father, and child are unified by love through action, which is sacrifice. Though they cannot speak, they embody agape love that Christ wants for all families. The movie is tense, frightening, loving, and hopeful, showing that no matter what horror arises, family survives. 

 

Featured image by Jonny Cournoyer / Paramount Pictures


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