Screenplay Review: The Silent Recital
Written by Lia Wu, The Silent Recital is a morality tale about Aria, an aspiring concert pianist, who struggles with insecurity and PTSD. Because of her insecurity she is self-preserving and must learn how to become selfless.
Lia Wu takes the reader on a fascinating ride with a protagonist full of flaws - one that must change in order to win the reader's sympathy. Aria only thinks of herself and tends to not care about the feelings of others. She is a driven young woman with dreams of being a well-known and well-respected pianist, and through her hard work, she only wants to have people think she is good enough.
But then, at just the right moment, Aria meets a stray dog, and she decides to adopt him. The dog brings good energies with him and provides Aria with moments of contentment. When she is informed that she has qualified for the next stage of a concerto competition, things go wrong again in Aria's life.
Aria's good friend, Dylan, comes to help her, but in fact his arrival also contributes to the change that Aria must go through. Dylan makes it difficult for her, thus giving her the tools to understand she needs to change her way.
Through flashbacks, we discover the cause of all the flaws in Aria's character, and thus she manages to capture the hearts of readers. The traumas she deals with on a daily basis remove her tough and selfish shell, and present to the reader the real, vulnerable Aria. The flashbacks help the reader understand Aria's behavior and beyond, make us think about how we tend to judge strangers without really knowing them.
The recital provides a great plot complication for Aria. Aria wants to follow her dreams even though her dreams come at the expense of others. Her struggle is relatable, and her selfishness comes from a deep-seated trauma. She has PTSD from childhood, from her teacher expecting nothing less than perfection. She cannot handle stressful situations now because of her past.
When the climax comes, Aria has to decide what really matters in life, and rearrange her priorities in order be happy again.
Lia Wu manages to bring Aria to the climactic moment when it is not clear which way Aria is going to choose, which is excellent. Aria's conflict is real, and her choice is between change and healing, and the fulfillment of a dream.
This script has a clear and compelling character arc. It has a great message at its core that speaks to the power of selflessness, and how invasive PTSD can cause abused individuals to lash out.
About the writer
Lia has been described as a cultural filmmaker, and her background is coloured with diversity. Born in China, educated in Australia, now living in Japan, she has been a storyteller since childhood, and she fell in love with filmmaking as a teenager. As a young girl she was enthralled by the storytelling, editing, music scores, cinematography, sound effects, and animation ingrained in such movies.
She holds a double Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Japanese Studies from Macquarie University, Australia, and she has a Masters degree in Film Studies and Digital Image from University of Sydney. Her attention to details skills has been invaluable in her film editing career, but it was at the University of Sydney that she reignited her passion for filmmaking. She moved to Japan in 2020, and she started her first job in the film industry with Cuttingedge, Tokyo, as an assistant editor. She later joined a production company in Tokyo, Mr. Positive as a fulltime editor and post-producer.
Lia's trilingual fluency in English, Chinese, and Japanese have connected her with range of creators across the world.