Sound of Metal

Sound of Metal ★★★½

Could have easily felt like an overly sentimental, after-school special about learning to live with deafness, but a few things really elevate it:

-The performances all-around - not just Riz (a desperate, mostly interior performance) but also Olivia Cooke (who instantly, understandably seems terrified at having to play the Devoted Girlfriend role in his life) and Paul Raci as the deaf counselor who doesn't sugarcoat that acceptance of the new reality will be hard won.

-The sound design, which not only frames silence as terrifying or isolating, but also as a moment of serenity.

There are a few weird choices in the third act that made parts of Ruben's journey feel rushed, but it lands on such a powerful moment that it's a minor complaint, and this is up there with the best films of the year I've seen so far.

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