Remember how I said Speak reads like a Lifetime Channel movie? That’s because the move version was broadcast on Lifetime (and Showtime.) It seems like they’ll make a movie out of anything nowadays,huh?
Now, I’m not one to watch Lifetime. In fact, I avoid the channel like the plague. The only reason for me seeing this movie was because I read the book and was curious (isn’t that always the case?) For a movie that was made for Lifetime this was actually really good.
The actors did a fine job of portraying the characters exactly like the book. Steve Zahn as the art teacher Mr. Freeman is perfect. He got the character’s eccentric personality down perfectly. He is even hilarious at times. In fact he’s the best character out of everyone .
That does does mean that Zahn overshadows the others. Robert John Burke as Mr. neck (the racist “my family came here on the Mayflower” teacher) brings out the character’s overzealous patriotism nicely.
The movie itself brings the book’s story to life nicely even if a few things were left out for time. Good thing those scenes were Melinda hanging out at a hospital for no reason except to see what it’s like and shopping for a dress for the prom. Those scenes didn’t do much and having them out was a smart move. It’s also well paced for a made for TV movie. In fact, this is one of the better made for TV movies.
And now for the movie’s black sheep. Notice how I did not mention Melinda at all above? That’s because the role was played by… get ready for it…Kristen Stewart. Yes, this was a young, pre-Twilight Stewart but she still acted the same here. Wooden, emotionless acting. The same two facial features: stoned out of her mind and bored out of her mind. Not to mention she does her usual noises here as she did in Twilight. In a movie filled with good acting we get this actress who can’t emote one bit.
Despite Stewart’s usual awful acting, speak is still a solid film. It has good acting, a solid story, pacing and will keep you interested.