Sound of Metal [Grade: B+]

Director: Darius Marder

Cast: Riz Ahmed, Olivia Cooke, & Paul Raci

* * *

This is the last of 3 films I had on my list to check out during the month of March due to the many positive conversations I’ve seen across my social media. I was intrigued early on by this film at the start of this year, but I just never had a chance to fit it in the schedule of other things I wanted to see, so I’m glad the buzz was still going about this film to keep it fresh on my interest wave. 

The buzz wasn’t the only thing that grabbed my attention again for this film; there was a scene still shared on an IG post of the lead actor, and it was just a stunning shot (in actuality, and also the lead character—he’s snacky!). Did I enjoy the movie? Yeah, it was an interesting story that pulled at my heartstrings a little bit. 

* * *

Below are my grades for key components in #SoundOfMetal that I find to be key in any story/film—Theme, Plot, Pacing, and Character Arc/Development. I think it is also important for me to add that moving forward, I will not include a plus-rating in my breakdown, but will continue with minus-ratings.

Additionally, I have added an entertainment factor scale to help you determine whether or not the film is something you’d be interested in taking time out of your weekend, evening, or day to watch. The scale range consists of: Worth the Watch, Interesting Enough (if looking for something new to start), & Don’t Rush.

I have also added a few non-spoiling thoughts, wonderings, and comments as I watched the film to help give some rationale for my grades and entertainment scale.

* * *

Theme: A

Plot: B

Pacing: B

Character Arc/Development: A-

Entertainment Factor: Interesting Enough

* * *


1. To repeat what was mentioned in my introduction, that damn Riz Ahmed… baby. Mm mm mm… 😍😍😍😜😩🙌🏾

2. The way sound editing and mixing was used in this film was so immersive. I mean, the moment Ruben starts to have difficulties, I was able to feel it too, and I appreciated feeling part of Ruben’s struggle. 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾🙌🏾🙌🏾

3. There were a few inconsistencies in the beginning phase of Ruben’s problem in terms of how he was interacting with people… like, can he or can’t he? If it’s difficult, why isn’t he showcasing that it’s difficult? Especially when in the RV talking with Lou after the diner… 🤨🤦🏾‍♂️

4. I was NOT a fan of the random toss in of additional challenges that Ruben faced in the past. Not only wasn’t it ever utilized as this wrench in the midst of his progress, but his character doesn’t really exude having such issues in the ways that other character would bring it up… 🤦🏾‍♂️🤦🏾‍♂️👎🏾

5. This plot missed 2 very interesting opportunities for me. The first that truly annoyed me (especially with pacing) was the opportunity to develop Ruben with the students—especially the “student at the slide” who he seemed to have a connection with. Especially considering Ruben came off as this very guarded and angry individual due to this attack on his ableism privilege, it was clear that the students/student was what seemed be his antidote…why not run with it? 🤦🏾‍♂️

6. I really appreciated the moment at Lou’s father’s party… such a necessary and powerful turn of events for Ruben’s character arc/development. As a viewer, I was watching feeling unfortunately happy because of how his decision that led to this particular point hurt those who tried to be there for him on this journey. He needed that wake up call/reality check for him. 👍🏾👍🏾

7. Random, but when I saw “nudity” as a rating disclaimer… …look, I just loved me some Riz Ahmed, and I was ready! 👀🤷🏾‍♂️😅😅

8. Lou was a very interestingly used character… I found her purpose at the start of the film strong; her purpose at the middle of the film weak but reasonable given our understanding of how we met them at the start of the film; and her purpose not as necessary, but made useful towards the end—well the context that included her is what made it useful. 🤔🥴

9. The second plot point that I felt was missed was with the teacher. On one hand, I understand that music was important to him; but once he made the “online discovery” it would have been interesting to see how that added disappointment became motivation towards his progress, which got him closer with not only the students/student, but also the teacher, which could have led to another conflict with the plot and his development to make him move forward with his ultimate decision and later reunion. 🥴

10. The ending was just acceptingly beautiful. I really loved it! 👍🏾👍🏾

11. Was it just me, or did it seem like Ruben’s poor communication skills impacted how the doctor was able to adjust things for him? Was that supposed to be the case? If so, I wish there was more backstory to Ruben as maybe a diverse learner. 🤨🤔

12. I appreciated seeing a Black man, with a Black name, engaging in this space. 👍🏾

13. YOOOOO! The dinner scenes with Joe and everyone! 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾I don’t think I’ve ever seen moments like that in film. It was subtly powerful for me! 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👍🏾

* * *

Overall, I definitely appreciated #SoundOfMetal for many reasons, but I think the few ways in which I was able to experience Ruben’s journey with him is what really elevates this film for me(Shout out to sound mixing and editing—it might even lend itself to an Oscar nod…). I do wish, however, that the story allowed more development for Ruben’s character—there were quite a few missed opportunities that could have added tremendously to Ruben’s actions and resolution, especially while with Joe. 

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