"Shouting Secrets” tells the story of Wesley, a Native American writer who, after nine years, is faced with seeing his family after his mother suffers a stroke. Old wounds are opened as Wesley and his family deal with the events unfolding before them while trying to stick together through their mother’s illness.
“Shouting Secrets” is poignant and heartwarming, sad and heartbreaking, honest and hopeful. Every character is mapped out and three dimensional, never once feeling contrived and over exaggerated. There are times when it feels like we aren’t going to be getting any payoff in terms of character development. But by the end of the film, every character is in a better place even when it feels like there will never be a true resolution for some.
The setting in Arizona is beautiful yet simple in its atmosphere, the tension only with the people inhabiting the land. Director Korinna Sehringer really uses the outside shots to her advantage. During the majority of the film, out in the open is where the characters have their heart to hearts with each other.
Chaske Spencer plays Wesley, the proverbial outcast of the family. A writer living in New York City, he thinks his family hates him and he resents them for not supporting his dreams and work. Spencer plays Wesley with an underlying anger; a match ready to ignite and lash out with his fiery hatred. Spencer also plays Wesley as the vulnerable man who is still not ready to accept the fact that his mother may be dying. His interactions with different members of his family range from gentle to fiercely impatient and angry.
Tyler Christopher plays Wesley’s brother, Tushka. Christopher is the true stand out in “Shouting Secrets”. He plays all different ranges of emotions one could possibly feel in his situation. From hope to frustration; from calmness to anger to guilt, Christopher really puts his whole body language into expressing the way his character feels. And although his character makes a mistake which may cost him his family, we are still able to sympathize with Christopher’s character.
Gil Birmingham plays Cal, the imperfect father and loving husband. Birmingham plays Cal cool and collected on the outside and full of turmoil and regret on the inside. Birmingham gives Cal an authoritative air while still balancing his soft and caring side. It’s when he bonds with Brody, his daughter’s partner, and talks to his comatose wife that we really get to see him open up about his true emotions. Birmingham lets the emotion in his eyes do most of the talking for him.
Q’orianka Kilcher plays Pinti, Wesley and Tushka’s little sister. Although Pinti isn’t the perfect daughter and is already making her share of mistakes, Kilcher gives her a vulnerability and innocence that, by just looking at her, one can tell that she’s the little sister and is used to being looked after. Pinti is scared and hopeful, unsure and helpful. Kilcher helps her grow from a little sister into her own woman and by the end of the movie she is more confident about her life and its course.
June (Tantoo Cardinal) is comatose for most of the movie, but her presence and solidarity is what brings everyone together. Brody (Connor Fox) is the comedic relief as he wades through the awkward family meeting. The rest of the supporting cast do well in their talent and aren’t just cardboard characters. They instead add more layers to the story and help hold it together.
“Shouting Secrets” is a movie that really strikes an emotional chord. It’s intelligently written, captivating, and really zooms in on the characters and story without being over dramatic in its execution. It is an independent film which is most definitely worth seeing.