VIDEO: Speak (2004)

Despite her lackluster performances in the Twilight movies, Full of Questions thinks that Kristen Stewart is a good actress. To help explain why, she reviews Speak, a movie she saw way before she knew about Twilight, where Stewart plays a high school student who becomes mute after after a traumatic incident.

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  • Alexa

    Yes, Yes, Yes!!! I completely agree and feel the same way! I seriously thought I was the only one who thought this. I read Speak as required reading in High School, and read it on my own because I liked it that much. I of course eventually saw the movie and really liked it. The book and movie really helped me get through high school, since I gained perspective on what truly matters as I was going through it. Also favorite moment in the movie was when Melinda flipped off the person making announcements on the intercom. 🙂
    I even read Twilight in high school as well, before it became super popular, and well I was unimpressed, to say the least. Let’s just say it breaks my heart the book Speak and its movie adaptation don’t get nearly as much attention as it should.

    And really it always baffles me when people blame actor’s when sometimes its not their fault in some cases, for their bad performances. I do like Kristen Stewart and get pretty angry when people say she is bad when in reality she had crap material to work with. I really hope she stars in something where she can show that she has talent. She actually got pretty good reviews when she played Joan Jett. And even before Twilight and even Speak, she really held her own against Jodie Foster and Forrest Whitaker in Panic Room.

    P.S. What’s wrong with The Scarlet Letter? I’ve never read it, so what’s the deal?

    • FullofQuestions1

      You had Speak as required reading in high school? Wow, I’m impressed! It was suggested reading when I was in seventh grade, but people are iffy about having that as required reading due to the subject matter. Yet, somehow, the book Night was okay.

      Have you read Catalyst?

      It makes me mad too, and it’s sort of unfortunate that Twilight is what had to be Stewart’s big break (Pattinson’s also, but he was somewhat well known before then), As another commenter said, she can do the best job ever in a different movie, but for a while, people will just keep on associating her with Bella.

      As for The Scarlet Letter, it’s not AWFUL, but I had to read it junior year, and I didn’t read it willingly. The amount of symbolism drove me crazy, and I know that this isn’t the best analogy, why is it that Hawthorne gets praised for making everything a symbol but Shyamalan gets bashed for that?

      • Alexa

        Yeah, I went to a pretty chill High School, but no I have not read Catalyst, should check it out. And in High School, besides Speak, I read a lot of great books such as I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou, Of Mice and Men, Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver, the graphic novel Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi and The Great Gatsby, which I loved due in part that the 20s fascinate me. And I think that book uses symbolism pretty well, but again haven’t read Scarlet Letter, so I can’t compare the two until I do.

        Really none of the books I read in High School were all that uninteresting, except maybe the Old Man and the Sea, and Midnight at the Dragon Cafe by Judy Fong, which I disliked because I wasn’t all that wild about the prose. And while I didn’t hate it and I have a lot of respect for Hemingway, Old Man and the Sea was quite the chore.

  • Marshall Oliver Estes

    I’m so glad I’m not the only one who hated The Scarlet Letter.

    • FullofQuestions1

      You are not, although the fact that I had to read it in school certainly influenced my opinion of it. I respect him as an author- he was a genius- but it’s dull reading. Yes, every little thing was a symbol. But why in God’s name did he need to let us know that Hester was stigmatized over and over and over?

      As I said, maybe if I’d read it willingly, I may have liked it better. The same goes for The Old Man and the Sea- if I hadn’t had to read it when I was thirteen, I might like it better now.

      • CaptainCalvinCat

        I didn’t read “Scarlet Letter” (mostly because I went – like I said – to a german school, so I had to read “The judge and his hangman” and “The Physicist”), but from that, what I am reading here from you, it probably is the same thing. Boring, dull. *shudders*

      • The_Stig

        At least it’s not Atlas Shrugged.

      • Marshall Oliver Estes

        I can certainly respect the book, and I respect Hawthorne’s place in America’s literary heritage, but you can’t make me like it! In general, I find most stuff from the 19th century and before to be too superfluous.

  • The_Stig

    After the Twilight films, Snow White & the Huntsman and The Runaways, I’ve come to the conclusion that while Kristen Stewart isn’t a bad actress, she’s not good enough to rise above bad material.

  • Bob_in_Baltimore

    Welcome back, Yulia, it’s been a while since you posted here. The only non-Twilight-related movie with Kristen Stewart I’ve seen was Into the Wild, and she wasn’t on screen in that one long enough to make any impression. With this review you’ve convinced me that, badly flawed as the Twilight movies were, it probably wasn’t Kristen Stewart’s fault. I think this is like Hayden Christensen in the Star Wars prequels- the man can act (see Shattered Glass if you doubt me), but there’s not much even a great actor could do when saddled with terribly written dialogue and a director who is more focused on CGI spectacle than on coaxing a good performance out of his actors.

    Oh, and before you go all Pi on your head just because of The Scarlet Letter, two things: 1) The House of the Seven Gables is actually a fun read, check it out if you want to have your opinion of Hawthorne improved. 2) Google “transorbital lobotomy”. Make sure you include the Image search. (You weren’t planning to sleep well for the next month anyway, right?)

  • Magdalen

    Thanks for the trigger warning, Q. <3

    • FullofQuestions1

      No problem. This isn’t actually the first video where I’ve attached one.

  • danbreunig

    You still have a Dover Thrift Edition of Hawthorne? I didn’t know they’re still around. Cool!
    My Hawthorne experience was oddly enough a DTE collection of short stories including that one that no student escapes–I’m talking about Young Goodman Brown. #2 is the Birthmark.

    • FullofQuestions1

      I read both of those in school! Well, I read Young Goodman Brown, but I skimmed The Birthmark more than read it. Sorry Mrs. W.

  • Pratchettgaiman

    YES! This movie was my first introduction to Kristen Stewart, so I as well can’t think of her as a bad actor. I really loved this movie, and it’s part of my permanent DVD collection. I really do need to read the book, though (I keep meaning to and then forgetting). Thanks so much for reviewing it!

    • FullofQuestions1

      Thank YOU for watching it! If you like this movie, you’ll like the book even better. Catalyst, the semi-sequel is very good too.

  • CaptainCalvinCat

    That was a great review.
    I mean, I didn’t watch the movie, however I think, it is interesting.

    Yeah… School.

    While I was going to a german school (which might be a result of me being a german and living in germany ^^), I know, that it was at best tolerable and at worst really, really uncomfortable, being a teenager and trying to fit in.

    Who didn’t have this problems – interspersed (interspursed?) by moments, in which you were saying “You know what? I am, who I am… if you don’t like me for being me, go frak yourself.”

    And by the way – my first dosage of Kirsten Stewart was “Zarthura” or so – the continuation of Jumanji…

    those parts, in which she was not an ice-cube, she was really good.
    Twilight – like I said in the comments of Sophies reviews of the Series – I only watched partially and that was, because a friend of mine and her boyfriend wanted to watch those.
    And Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire… that was where I stumbled upon David Tennant (without knowing, that it WAS David Tennant, I found that out, after I watched Doctor Who) ^^

    I will try and watch “Speak”; when it is aired in germany, maybe then I can tell something more.

  • Thomas Stockel

    You make a very compelling argument, Yulia, this was a wonderful review. Amazingly enough Kirsten Stewart is able to shut her mouth all the way; I thought her case of Fish Mouth was a birth defect or something.

    In high school the book that made me want to take a power tool to my skull was The Grapes of Wrath. I think everyone has That Book, the book they never, ever want to see ever again.

    • FullofQuestions1

      Thank you so much!

      Oh, I definitely have That Book. It’s called Founding Brothers, and it somehow managed to make the Hamilton-Burr duel boring!

    • Toby Clark

      Ulysses in my case, partly because a university unit entirely devoted to that book was quite literally not what I signed up for.

  • Kristen stewart was also in Catch That Kid out the same year!!

    • FullofQuestions1

      I still have to see it!

  • $36060516

    Cool review! Was your shirt choice a tribute to Storm Thorgerson (creator of the “Dark Side of the Moon” cover design) who died the week before you uploaded this?

    • FullofQuestions1

      It wasn’t, but I was very sad to hear that he died. He wasn’t that old either.

      No, it was more that I just got my poster of The Wall, and that was my weird way of celebrating that.

      • $36060516

        Thank you for the answer, Questions!

  • Cristiona


    They’re dressed like flappers. I assume there was a reason for that, but… flappers?
    Also, this book and movie seem particularly harrowing considering recent events in Canada and Ohio…

    • FullofQuestions1

      They were dressed up for Halloween. It was the one point where they showed up in the movie.

      And yeah, it is harrowing. The movie even takes place in the Midwest…

  • chromesthesia

    You are right. This is a fantastic book and the movie is very good. I feel so bad for her character that I want to give her a blanket and a cookie.

    • FullofQuestions1

      Me too.

      • EliLex

        you had to read the scarlett letter? we never did when i was in high school. we read the alchemist 😀

        • FullofQuestions1

          We read that too. 🙂