The Silent Forest (Taiwan 2020) - Movie Review

A hearing-impaired teenager transfers to a special needs school where he witnesses a "game" on the school bus involving a young girl named Beibei.
Director Chen-Nien Ko
Starring Troy Liu, Yan-Fei Chen
Alternative Names 無聲

Welcome to our short review of the Taiwanese true-story drama movie The Silent Forest

What’s this movie about?

Chang Cheng transfers to a new school where he feels he will fit in, it’s a special school for children and teenagers with hearing impairments.

He takes an interest in girl called Beibei, and they start a friendship. But one day on the bus to school he notices a commotion in the back seats. Beibei is being pinned down by a group of seniors, who take turns at assaulting her. They say its just a game, and she validates their story, but Chang doesn’t agree.

As Chang tries to make the school faculty aware of what happened, he and a younger teacher Mr Wang begin to undercover that what is actually going on is much worse than they ever thought possible.

Is it Worth Watching?

Movies based on real events, especially based on this topic of sexual assault, tend to be very delicate in how they approach the situation, and The Silent Forest is no different. It’s not gratuitous or explicit, rather it focuses more on the aftermath of each assault, the effect that it has on the lives of all those involved, not just the victim.

Indeed, in this movie, there is more than one victim. While it focuses on Beibei as the main story component, as we uncover more about the situation, more victims are revealed. And in most cases the bullies themselves are also victims.

Helplessness is a strong feeling that overcame me while watching this movie. Not only were these children who were involved in this horrible situation, but they were even more vulnerable due to their hearing impairment. A group of children who must rely on the safety provided by adults, find out that adults are not there to help them at all

Two relative newcomers take the lead in this film, with Troy Liu playing Chang Cheng and Yan-Fei Chen in the role of Beibei, winning her an award for Best New Performer at the Golden Horse Awards, a prestigious Taiwanese film festival founded in 1962 open to any Chinese language film, including films from the mainland and Hong Kong.

There are eerie similarities between this movie and the 2011 Korean drama Silenced. They even share the same name, with the original Chinese name of this movie Wúshēng, meaning Silent.

Both movies are set in schools for hearing impaired children. Both movies have a young teacher who discovers the truth, and both movies have schools who are covering up the truth. Both movies are uncomfortable to watch, but both are excellent movies.

While I don’t recommend you rush out and watch this, I do recommend that you do eventually find the time to experience this film and the stories of the children within.

This movie gets a thumbs up