Speak (2004) - Rotten Tomatoes


Speak (2004)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Speak Photos

Movie Info

Award-winning short filmmaker Jessica Sharzer makes her feature debut with the teen drama Speak, based on the young-adult novel by Laurie Halse Anderson. Kristen Stewart stars as high school freshman Melinda, who has lost her ability to speak. Ever since a traumatic event that occurred at a party over the summer, she has chosen to remain silent. She's abandoned by her friends, while her mother Joyce (Elizabeth Perkins) is too wrapped up in her own problems to notice. By recalling the details of the past situation, it becomes clear that a date rape occurred. Yet no one has offered her support in order to deal with the psychological consequences. Eventually her art teacher Mr. Freeman (Steve Zahn) reaches out, helping her develop ways to express herself. Also starring Hallee Hirsh and Eric Lively. Speak premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2004 as part of the American Spectrum competition.


Kristen Stewart
as Melinda Sordino
Elizabeth Perkins
as Joyce Sordino
D.B. Sweeney
as Jack Sordino
Steve Zahn
as Mr. Freeman
Michael Angarano
as Dave Petrakis
Hallee Hirsh
as Rachel Bruin
Eric Lively
as Andy Evans
Leslie Lyles
as Hairwoman
Allison Siko
as Heather
Dick Hagerman
as School Bus Driver
A. Remy Brommer
as Yearbook Photographer
Kimberly Kish
as Ms. Keen
Jamie Lee White
as Social Studies Student
Caitlyn Folley
as Girl at Pep Rally
Tony Roseboro
as Principal
Susan Gardner
as Guidance Counselor
Aaron Kinser
as Art Student
View All

Critic Reviews for Speak

All Critics (5) | Top Critics (1)

A strikingly relevant and underseen slice-of-life drama with an award-worthy turn from Kristen Stewart.

May 25, 2020 | Full Review…

The film's entirely commendable message is to believe women; I just wish I could believe the film.

September 14, 2021 | Full Review…

High school rape, teen drinking in intense movie.

November 15, 2016 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

From start to finish, lead to co-stars, director to writers, this is a film experience that reminds you that it doesn't matter how many stars are around, or how much is spent.

March 3, 2004 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Speak


Structurally, this film requires a strong, central performance, and Stewart simply isn't good enough. There are moments when she is quite good, but often she is so understated that she is essentially dead -- I see nothing in her face or movements that betrays anything worth looking at. Dead people make bad film characters. Now, you could say that rape victims often report feeling numb, but playing numb requires more than Stewart is capable of providing (cf. Rose McGowan's rape scene in The Doom Generation). I did like that the film primarily portrayed high school as the command-and-control hell that it usually is.

Jim Hunter
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

This is not a bad little film. It's very slow moving - painfully so at times - but it's very well acted, particularly by Kristin Stewart in an earlier role. It deals with date rape, so is not exactly cheerful viewing, but it's an important topic and I liked how they handled it.

Nicki Marie
Nicki Marie

Super Reviewer


Who says Lifetime doesn't have good programming? Kristen Stewart does quite well as Melinda: the pre-trauma smiles and laughter; the post-trauma silence and distance. However, I can't help being overcritical of her. All her good performances are good in the same way, you know what I mean? Dead, unblinking eyes (except for that unfortunate period during which she blinked too much...), monotone voice, pretty girl with aura of mystery. She's certainly cast well, but I'm curious about her range.

Alice Shen
Alice Shen

Super Reviewer

Speak Quotes

News & Features