Echo

Sound, like light, is one of the few things in the world that can continue to exist after its source has stopped producing it. Try whispering in the halls of an empty old church, a school on Christmas break and an old house and one could hear his voice reverberate through the silent rooms. It is as if after one speaks, the walls begin to mimic what was said and do so over and over again. To me, the movie “Voice” was appropriately titled because it speaks of a human truth that can be described similar to that of an echoing, reverberating voice. That human truth is the truth that deals with death, with loss and trying to cope with such tragedies.

As human beings, we recognize that we are indeed alive, but in order for us to be able to say so, we also need to accept the corollary that one day we will die. We are temporal beings after all and one day, we will grow old, die and eventually disintegrate. The many things, achievements and even people that we hold dear in our lives, we would have to say farewell to one day and how we deal with that loss can vary from person to person. Yes, it may be difficult to accept that we will die, but it is probably more difficult for those who will be left behind to deal with the fact that they have been left behind. And to me, the different coping mechanisms is what stands out as the shining message of this film.

The story begins somewhat at the beginning of a plot, with many questions still left unanswered in the history of the characters that would determine their eventual fates. We are exposed to this budding young girl, Young-eon, who wants to be a successful singer one day. There was also this music teacher who once had an illustrious career but after getting sick of cancer had her dreams cut short. We also hear of the story of this other girl, Hyo-jung who was found dead in the school a few years back.

At the beginning of the story, we encounter this horrific scene where Young-eon is killed by this stranger in an equally strange way. The next day, she realizes that she’s suddenly invisible and that she could not interact with anyone aside from her friend Sun-min. This reminds me of a very human phenomenon wherein when a loved one dies, we try so desperately to keep the memory of that person alive in us to the point wherein we could even convince ourselves that we could still talk to that person. We continue to communicate to the loved one we could no longer see nor touch, pretty much like how Sun-min continues to talk to Young-eon.

Sun-min experiences a loss and tries to cope with it by continuing to communicate to her lost friend. There are other people who have also experienced losses though at a different degree. The music teacher once had a promising career but it was taken away from her by her sickness. She tries to cope by being unusually close to students who have singing voices that reminded her of the voice she once had. These students were Hyo-jung and Yeong-eon. As the story eventually reveals, the music teacher has an unusual relationship with Hyo-jung, the latter falling madly in love with the former. Hyo-jung is eventually persecuted by the whole school and eventually kills herself. After death, Hyo-jung and the music teacher continues to communicate with each other, similar to how Sun-min continues to talk to Young-eon. When the music teacher begins to “fall in love” with Yeong-eon and her voice, Hyo-jung loses the love of her life and she copes by killing Yeong-eon.

Yeong-eon lost something very fundamental to her – her life. And throughout the story we see evidence of her desire to live. There was this part of the story where Young-eon confronts herself and asks her what she really wants. Does she really care so much about her friend, Sun-min or does she just really want to live? She lost her life and copes by taking over Sun-min’s body so that she could continue living. The dead trying desperately to live and eventually succeeding is probably the freakiest part of the film.

The tragedy of life is that there will be moments when we will have to suffer losses. That’s something inevitable. We can never avoid these tragedies. What we can control though is how we react to them, how we’ll find a way to patch up what was lost and to move on.

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