Raise Your Voice Review


Hilary Duff as Terri Fletcher
Oliver James as Jay
rest of cast listed alphabetically
James Avery as Principal Garrison
John Corbett as Music Teacher
Dana Davis as Denise
Rebecca De Mornay as Aunt Nina
Kat Dennings as Sloane
David Keith as Simon Fletcher
Johnny K. Lewis as Kiwi
Marshall Manesh as Cabbie
Laura Mayhew as Student
Lauren C. Mayhew as Robin
Sean McNamara as Dr. Mark Farley
Fred Meyers as Matthew
Carly Reeves as Student/Singer
Jason Ritter as Paul Fletcher
Robert Trebor as Mr. Wesson
Davida Williams as Lauren
Rita Wilson as Frances Fletcher

Hilary Duff is cashing in on her star power and has had five movies released over the last 18 months. This time out, Hilary stars as Terri Fletcher, a 16 year old small town aspiring musician and dedicated daughter. Her big dream is to head off to Los Angeles for a summer at the foremost music conservatory in the United States. Unfortunately for her, her father (David Keith) is against the idea.

Raise Your Voice starts off with a music video. A choppy, truncated, and frenetic montage of clips, foreshadowing the majority of the rest of the movie. The first third of the film is setting up for Terri’s inevitable trip to LA, and it is excruciatingly slow. There is a good plot twist that comes on unexpectedly which sets up for some good conflict later in the film. It is the turning point in the glacial pace of the movie, but you still must endure the incomplete songs and MTV video edits.

It is understandable that a movie about a girl going to a music school would have plenty of music in it. However, other than a couple well handled performances at the end of the movie, the majority of the music takes the viewer outside of the film and terribly disrupts the pacing. To add to the music problems, most of the songs are cut and pasted in an incomplete fashion and are abandoned just as they start to become interesting on their own.

The one real good aspect is that Hilary Duff has elected to maintain a, mostly, wholesome image and it is reflected in the movie. Strong values are expressed and even though some rules are broken, the overall moral tone is very positive. The PG rating, although deserved, seems a bit harsh and parents should have little fear in letting children of all ages see it.

Technically, the movie is solid. The problems with the soundtrack are intentional – it is not the fault of the sound technicians if the music is never given a chance. The cinematography is adequate, and there are no noticeable special effects.

Who should see this movie? Nothing I write will keep away Hilary Duff fans, and they will be well served by this offering. Hilary gets to try on clothes, chase/get chased by a guy, and sing. Music students and people that still fondly remember their days in the school band will probably enjoy most of the last two thirds of the film. With little humor and even less action, people wanting either of those should look elsewhere. There are some parts that will make you think and the resolution of the drama at the end has a good payoff. Plus, you have the requisite love interests and romance. Overall, Raise Your Voice is not a terrible movie if you can get past the first 30 minutes. Hilary Duff has extended her acting range at least a little, and for fans of her music, she does sing throughout the film. The target audience of tween/teen girls should love it; the parents dropping the kids off might want to get some early Christmas shopping in.