The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
We all know how much suffering bullying causes those affected by it, even to the perpetrators themselves. The 2016 movie directed by Naoko Yamada, A Silent Voice, makes this pretty clear. The film narrates the tale of 6th grader Ishida Shoya and how he bullies fellow classmate and deaf girl Nishimiya Shoko, ultimately causing her to leave school. After that, he deals with the consequences: the shame and regret that come with his actions. I recommend this movie completely, but I also want to give a trigger warning as tons contains loads of heavy, yet important themes such as bullying, suicidal thoughts, friendship, shame, and redemption.
After Nishimiya leaves school, all the other students turn their backs on Ishida. Even though most of them also bullied her, he even starts getting bullied by the people he once called his friends. The rumors of his bullying then follow him for years, and because of this, he struggles with depression and anxiety. He can’t look people in the face, which we can see through the big ‘X’ in almost everyone’s faces.The movie begins with Ishida making money to repay his mom and quitting his job. When he gives the money to his mom, we can see he was actually settling his affairs, because he was thinking of commiting suicide. When he stands on the bridge, the sounds of fireworks nearby stop him. He decides not to kill himself and to try to make things better with Nishimiya.
After he finds Nishimiya again, they start to hang out together, two broken people trying to find solace in each other. Slowly, together with Nishimiya’s younger sister, fellow ex-classmates and current classmates, they start to discover the true meaning of friendship. Ishida even begins to see more people as he starts to consider them friends, and some of the ‘X’s start to peel away. Even though they become friends and begin to find happiness, they both still struggle with their mental illnesses.
This movie was a beautiful, yet hurtful experience. It probably doesn’t seem right that Nishimiya becomes friends with her bully. But honestly? I think it gave an amazing example of second chances and forgiveness. It’s amazing that Ishida didn’t ignore the bad things he did, but that he felt regretful enough to want to make things right with Nishimiya.