3 Inaudible Whispers in the Movies

Sparingly used in movie history, the inaudible whisper can give an audience a powerful moment of terror and intimacy, sometimes both. Here are the three big examples:

Lost in Translation

You may have re-watched Lost in Translation in the past few days due to the news that a sort-of sequel is going to be released.

Aside from Bill Murray’s great performance, as well as a naive looking Scarlett Johannson showing sensitivity we don’t see from her often nowadays (Lucy, The Avengers…), the movie can hold claim to one of the most beautiful final scenes in film.

The scene involves a whisper between the two leads, one that is shielded from the audience and kept between the loving characters. In the entire movie they are able to share everything with us as they rollick through Tokyo, a place where no one understands them and they understand no one. But in this moment, this isn’t for all of us, this is just for them.

Grandma Death Whisper Donnie Darko

Donnie Darko

Grandma Death is an enigmatic piece of the crazy Donnie Darko puzzle. In this scene she walks back and forth across a road checking and re-checking an empty mailbox. She then stops, looks up to Donnie (Jake Gyllenhaal), and whispers something to him. At the time, unless you are a bat, you don’t know what she says. It is only until later in the movie Donnie reveals she said:

‘Every living creature on this earth dies alone.’

Like most things in the movie, it’s tough to decipher what this means in relation to the narrative, but it’s still pretty creepy.

There Will Be Blood

Evangelical leader Eli (played by Paul Dano) has just humiliated the oil baron Daniel Plainview (played by Daniel Day-Lewis) in front of his entire communion. At the end, Daniel gets up to shake Eli’s hand, and as he does so he whispers to him.

For the remainder of the scene, Eli stands motionless and terrified as Daniel smugly makes his way back down the aisle. This is probably the most effective example as the editing doesn’t make a big deal of the moment.

So what did Plainview say? Here’s a theory: In the final scene of the movie, Plainview berates Eli as he begins to beat him, saying this:

‘I told you I would eat you.’

Daniel isn’t heard saying to Eli he would eat him at any point in the movie, so maybe this was said in the whisper…

Can you think of any more examples? Let the world know on Twitter via @MovieMasticator!

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