Why 'A Quiet Place' Was So Much Like My Family's Life With Illness
“A Quiet Place” was easily the most stressful movie I’ve ever seen. And it was also beautiful. I want to thank John Krasinski for this film.
The film hit me in a way I did not expect. Sure, it has parts that could be heart-wrenching for anyone who watches. But it really put me in my feels in ways that I was not prepared for.
I’m chronically ill. I have been for seven years now. This movie really struck a chord with me. I knew immediately after seeing it (I just saw it for the first time!) that I need to make my whole family watch it.
OK, major spoilers ahead — you have been warned!
Their life reminds me so much of my family’s life with a chronic illness! In so many ways! Life with a chronic illness is very much like tiptoeing around horrifying, ruthless monsters. I have set paths to follow, certain places to step, particular things I can do, so as not to make a disturbance in my body to alert the monsters (be it the monster called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, autoimmune disease, fibromyalgia, or one of the others lurking around!).
But not only am I affected by this, my entire family must tiptoe as well, to keep me safe, and to hold off the other monsters, Crushing Anxiety and Depression, that many of us face because of this life.
My entire family has a life that revolves around surviving by keeping things as stable as possible, and with a chronic illness, that is exactly as simple as it is in this movie!
I read an interview with John Krasinski about the movie, and he said he wanted the movie to be more than just a horror film, and for it to go deeper and ask, “What would you really do for your kids?”
My favorite scene (although I have many!), was when John’s character, the father, presents a new hearing aid he’s made to his daughter who’s deaf. It’s made clear that he has attempted to make a working aid many times, to no avail. The daughter becomes frustrated, repeatedly signing, “It won’t work,” and pushing his offering away.
I cried a full-on ugly cry during this scene. I can’t tell you how many times my parents have come to me with a new idea to help make my life easier, and how many times I’ve said those exact words to them, with the same frustration: It won’t work.
But just like the parents in this movie, they’ve never once given up on me. Even though I’ve been right pretty much every time (just have to rub that in a little), and nothing in seven years has worked until very recently, they have never stopped trying, just as the father in the film continued to try. They would give their life to save mine without a second thought, as the father did, and I could totally see my mom kicking ass and blowing the head off an alien monster thing in an instant to save any of us kids! They would — and they do — do anything and everything to keep me alive.
I also loved the scene where the father takes the son to the waterfall. I liked the way they portrayed the fear the son had, being exposed after seeing his brother taken. I often feel extremely vulnerable and fearful. I’ve been very traumatized by my experiences in the world, with doctors and procedures and whatnot, and also in my own body. I get scared to do things I know I need to do to keep alive, like continuing to go to doctor’s appointments, or even scheduling the appointments, as the son was afraid to learn to catch fish for dinner for survival.
I also feel very exposed, as it seemed he did in this scene, when I go out into the world. I feel panicked like he was, as if everything is threatening. I’m constantly terrified to do, well, anything, because it might make a “sound” that’s too loud for my body to handle.
And another reason I loved this scene was because the father took him behind the waterfall, and they both just screamed. Because you really need to do that sometimes! Sometimes it’s all you can do; you can’t hold it all in anymore. And my family is my outlet. They scream with me, cry with me, laugh with me.
Which leads me to the (few) peaceful scenes. I really liked the scene where the wife and husband listened to music and danced in the basement. And when the kids were playing a game together. Those little moments are so valuable. It’s so cheesy, but they’re moments that I treasure. They make the sheer, unbelievable terror of the situation at least tentatively bearable. They get you through, from moment to moment and day to day.
All of this, and not to mention John Krasinski only wanting to hire a deaf actress to play the daughter. People who are deaf and people with disabilities are hired less frequently in general, but are frequently overlooked for parts involving deafness or disability! So it’s awesome that he made it a point to hire someone who is deaf (and what an amazing young actress she is!).
And at the very end of the movie, I think a point could be made about the way we look at deafness and disabilities. When the mother and the kids were in the basement, facing one of the monsters, the daughter is looking around, realizing the signals from the hearing aids harm the monsters. There is a part where she looks pointedly at her father’s board, which has the question, “What is the weakness?” written on it.
To me, it seemed in that moment she realized how much power she was wielding, and that she was the opposite of weak. I think society often views deafness as a weakness, whereas in this movie, had she not been deaf, the entire family would likely have died, and they’d never have figured out how to hurt the monsters. She kicked some monster ass!
Overall, I just adored this movie. I think it’s powerful as a stand-alone horror film. If you went just to be scared, you would be. But it’s also very touching, and has a deeper message about the strength of family.
Lead photo via Facebook