When Time Got Louder | My Thoughts

A few days ago I watched “When Time Got Louder” (Thank you Liz and Connie!) and it is one of the best movies I have ever watched in my entire life. I believe I went through such a personal growth by watching this project and I am so grateful for that.
The story centers on a family with an autistic son and touches difficult topics with a grace and an authenticity that I have never seen before.
Right from the beginning  it feels like you’re not watching a movie, but you’re watching these four people’s real life. Perfect the choice to start it with the father making the home video of the family, setting up the atmosphere of the entire film, even though what I think is so prevailing to convey that feeling is the acting.

LIZ’S ACTING AND CHARACTER
The whole cast was amazing. The stand-out performance Elizabeth gives in this is probably the finest I have ever seen. She is always mindblowing for sure, but the impact that she had on me with this was immeasurable.
A few minutes into the movie she has this powerful scene, where Tish is completely destroyed, broken, but mostly terrified for her son. You find out towards the end what happened, but the way you are suddenly pulled into her world creates this anxiety and empathy that you can help but wishing to help this woman and feel sorry for her even if you don’t know her yet. The way Liz plays this initial scene shocked me and it’s only the beginning of a crescendo I keep seeing evolving during the entire movie.

Elizabeth’s acting choices amazes me in every role she creates. It doesn’t matter if I have been watching her for over the past 23 years, it doesn’t matter if I watched everything she has ever done, she always finds a way to surprise me, mesmerize me or shock me like in this case. She is a chameleon. She completely disappears in her roles, she becomes them and they become her. I know that is what happens all the time, but the different way she does that is what makes my journey to discover her new woman the most compelling part.
The first thing that I told Liz after watching  only 30 minutes of “When Time Got Louder” was: “Your performance is Oscar material.” And I wasn’t joking. I got it from the first instant that she was going to be a powerhouse.

All the scenes from the light-hearted to the most dramatic and tragic ones, passing through the difficult moments to handle the teenage boy, are so well executed, so truthful, that you are sure you are watching real life happening before your eyes.
The scenes with the social worker, the one where Tish explains to her young daughter that Kayden is autistic, the one when Mark (her husband) mentions assisted living, the visit to a group home are the ones where Liz exells the most and also the most surprising part of her performance.

Tish is the fireplace, the caretaker, the warm blanket, the glue of this family, and Elizabeth makes sure that this warmest side of the character is completely balanced with the severe and resolute aspect this mom and wife needs to have when necessary.
This ability to show all these facets of the role and the balance between them results in a portrait of a strong woman, a brave mom, who is also able to make her practical husband a better dad.
Tish doesn’t neglect anyone and she always makes sure both her children receive enough love and encouragement from her and her husband. She is not afraid of relying on her daughter, but she also wants to make sure Abbie doesn’t feel a burden on her shoulders and that she feels free to live her own life.

What blows me away more than any other scenes (and believe me her entire performance is a masterpiece) is towards the end when the social worker gives them the news [SPOILER] that a supervised care facility is better for Kayden.[END OF SPOILER].
The state of confusion, terror and desperation on Tish’s face is so overwhelming. I love how only her face is in focus while the rest of the shot is blurry. It’s like seeing Tish’s stunned condition into a physical image.
She can’t find the strength to talk, the air to talk. The way Elizabeth conveys that is so impressive that I thought that I’ve just seen the highest of her performances here, how could it be better than that?  I was wrong.
Tish finally finds the voice. All the emotions in Liz’s eyes, the muscles of her face and her trembling, desolated voice hit me and at some point when I thought that the only tool she had left to be listened was to yell towards the social worker, she lowers her voice, she whispers in her pleading [SPOILER] “he is my baby, he is my baby, you can’t take him away from us” [ END OF THE SPOILER].
I think this was the most unpredictable choice Liz made in her performance here and she left me in agony for this woman. I’m still not recovered from the whole performance, but particularly from this scene. I cannot get it out of my head.

For the entire movie you see this incredibly strong woman, who is able to face all the difficulties of her life with firmness and gentleness and now she is in front of you at the peak of her despair and helplessness.This contrast made this scene and Liz’s performance even more powerful and devastating.

I believe that the director was smart and wise enough to let Elizabeth just be. I don’t think there’s a better director than the one who allows the actors to have their personal choices for the characters, to improvise if the waves flow, because it is what makes the result more genuine and believable.
I have a firm belief that characters belong to actors more than anybody else. They transform (and in Liz’s case, she transcends) what is written in a whole person. Nobody knows the character as much as an actor who plays it, because they become that person, they feel what that person feels, so their instinctive reaction/action is the most genuine, honest and authentic, you can possibly get.
Smart writers and directors would absolutely embrace actors’ ideas, thoughts and instincts and they would feel blessed to have someone like Liz in their projects. I’m so glad she had the chance to work in this environment here. I also remember Elle Callahan (writer and director of “Witch Hunt”) was like this, so I truly appreciate people who allow the cast to fly and to be completely free. What a gift for us as well.

THE MARRIAGE
Another scene I feel I need to comment on is the visit at the group home.
During the whole film you see the difference between Tish and Mark, which is the real life difference between a mother and a father and how they connect with their kids.
The mom is always the one more involved in every situation and there’s nothing more real than that. Nobody would love you more than your own mom. Moms have their own different way to love their children. It’s visceral, it’s instinctive, it’s love without boundaries.
Mark is more practical, he worries about the future, he worries about the money. What is most on his mind is how to solve problems, how to make things better, how to push their son into the world, which leads to the incident.
Tish is more cautious, she is more attentive towards their kids and she makes sure that Mark shows them they are important, especially to Abbie and it’s not all problems to solve, but also about wishes, hopes and everything that a mother thinks, while a man doesn’t. And in the end Mark takes that from Tish and does things without her telling him to. I love that.
After Abbie leaves, Tish gets pissed because he forgets the chicken strips, he forgets to buy eggs, but you also see that Mark is tired because of work, that he is doing anything possible. So you basically have two points of view of the situation and you see how both parents reach one another to make this family work and that is beautiful beyond words. Their willingness to stick together makes them listen to each other and that is what makes this marriage stable and strong, despite the arguments and the difficulties they have.

During the scenes with the social worker, you see how they look at each other, almost like channeling strength, but what I loved the most about the marriage is the particular scene at the group home.
During the entire visit you see how Tish has perplexities about the group home, she’s scared, she fears (actually she knows) that is not the place for her son, she sees things that makes her basically run away. Liz is the first one who goes out of the house and enters the car. Tish is desperate, she doesn’t even have to speak. Her husband, who was the one who was more ok with this possibility, absorbs Tish’s reaction. She is crying and he understands that this is not ok for his wife.
I think this scene is amazingly executed by both actors and they don’t speak a word. Extraordinary!
Every character of this movie has enough space and development and the viewer has the chance to dive into them and really understand how it is to live in that situation from all the four points of view (the main characters).  None of them is neglected, they all live this in their own way. They are four different people of different age, gender, role and responsibility. And what I found even more surprising is that it’s not all about the autistic son, but every one of them has other things going on.

WRITER/DIRECTOR/CAST
“When Time Got Louder” immediately catapults you in a whirlwind of emotions and you are like in there with these people.
It’s not just a story, it is personal and it is written and made by someone who truly knows what she is talking about. It is very rare to get such a genuine, truthful and heartfelt movie and in this case the cast and writer/director let their sensitivity and empathy blend into one another.
Usually projects with a theme like this one tend to be melodramatic. They try to gain sympathy from the audience, but in this case your feelings towards the story, the relationships and the characters are not forced nor artificially raised. Nothing looked built up and how you feel is exactly how you would feel if you were part of the story
This requires not only an open mind and heart that clearly Connie Cocchia has, but also a cast who is not afraid to challenge itself, actors who are not afraid to show vulnerability. Liz excels in this and it only makes me think how brave she is.
The writer and director gave the actors the possibility to really shine, be free and to reach a level of acting and freedom that I think it’s hard to top.

A FEW MORE NOTES
LGBT STORY
Abbie falls in love with this girl, Karly, and their relationship is so well built. It’s sincere, pure and like this movie, it is authentic. I think LGBT community should truly watch it and see how they are so graciously and genuinely represented . But also I think these are the kind of stories that can actually open minds and hearts towards acceptance, so it’s truly well done.
Those two girls create a connection, you see them care about each other, you see the fear on both parts for different reasons and it is real.

KAYDEN’S WORLD
Kayden is smart, talented and he lives in his own world made of drawings, silence, Eeyore (which is I think it’s just the representation of her sister when he needs her closer), his family and especially Abbie.

SECONDARY CHARACTERS
This is another thing that I loved about this movie because even secondary characters come with a personality or a backstory that you cannot help but notice their presences in the movie. I love that Connie took care of them as well even though they have less screen time.

MAKE-UP & OUTFIT
Everyday clothes worn by the entire cast only made this movie more real. There is basically no makeup and also that helps to establish the atmosphere of the movie. Besides that I am so grateful they showed how gorgeous Liz is in real life. You can make her better than that.

SOUNDTRACK
The soundtrack is beautiful and it takes you through the vision matching the emotions the movie needs to convey.

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