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A Quiet Place is a scary movie, but scary along the lines of a Steven Spielberg thriller like Jaws or Jurassic Park. It’s directed by and stars John Krasinski, whose wife, Emily Blunt, steals the show in her lead role. Many movies have great first acts, and then stumble in the second and third acts. A Quiet Place gets better with each act.
The premise is a post-apocalyptic America where monsters hunt down anyone who makes a sound. Members of the Abbott family—a mom, dad, and kids—are trying to survive in silence on a farm, where they’ve painted the floorboards to know which ones creak and they pray before dinner by simply holding hands and bowing heads. (Seeing it in a full theater is both tense and funny because moviegoers are all trying to eat their popcorn as silently as possible. Don’t let the monsters hear us!)
The oldest daughter in the Abbott family is deaf, so she can’t hear if she makes a sound, but she’s also more equipped to handle this silent world. Millicent Simmonds, a young actress who is deaf, is fabulous in this role, and Krasinski (like Spielberg) shows much of the story through the eyes of children.
Rated PG-13, the movie is “monsters jumping out at you” scary, without the more disturbing gore associated with horror films. In one brief shot of a monster victim, you see only a sliver of the wound.
The real story is the intense love the Abbotts have for each other, a love that perseveres in a scary world where someone can be snatched from you in a moment. How can a mom go on teaching her son long division when monsters lurk in the fields outside?
In a way, that’s how we live. Though sound-crazed monsters don’t lurk in the real world, death can still come without warning. Like the Abbotts, we face mortal dangers, but sacrificial love enables us to go on having babies, learning division, and playing Monopoly.