Questions about the ending of "Sound of my Voice"
February 24, 2013 6:16 PM   Subscribe

Just watched the awesome indie sci-fi/thriller "Sound of My Voice," and have questions about the ending, and the film itself. Massive spoilers inside.

So, I have this notion that Maggie is Peter's mother, but I can't really point to why, other than the vague bicycle scene at the end, and the fact that we hear her speak his name in a voice-over during that scene. That, and the fact that she was able to break through to him during that scene with the apple. But what did that final scene mean, where we see her once again standing by the side of the road wrapped in sheets? What was her timeline, with the little girl and all that?

Also: I am wondering if the name of the film is itself a clue, because early in the film we hear two voiceovers from a nameless narrator, giving us Peter and Lorna's backstories. Sounded a lot like Maggie's voice to me.

Finally, why face-down in a bathtub? What other clues and puzzles have I missed in this film?
posted by jbickers to Media & Arts (6 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
My take was that Maggie was lying/confused and was the little girl's mother. She didn't have custody and was going through Peter to get to her daughter.

Also Maggie's stay was that she came from the future, not the past so she could not have been Peter's mother.
posted by mountmccabe at 8:20 PM on February 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

I didn't think Maggie was Peter's mother, either. I thought the movie presented two possibilities: either A) Maggie is insane or B) Maggie is from the future and is the little girl's daughter. The movie asks, "Is A or B true?", and the movie's answer is "Yes."

In other words, while I think it's a fascinating film, I also think it's fundamentally a cop out.
posted by lewedswiver at 12:41 AM on February 25, 2013 [3 favorites]

I like both of those explanations, but feel that they both leave too many unexplained things. For instance:

* What was the dad injecting in the daughter's foot, and why?
* Why did the little girl write "TERRORIST" on the other girl's backpack?
* Why did the cult collect blood from its members?
* Why did they go to those elaborate lengths to grow fruit indoors?
* If Maggie was crazy and just trying to see her daughter, why go to all that trouble to create a cult? And where would the money for it come from?
* If that woman was really an FBI agent, what was she up to in that hotel room?
* Why did they have a shooting range?

I feel like there's a more elaborate explanation that ties it all together, that I'm not seeing. (If not, then man, it really is a massive cop-out.)
posted by jbickers at 5:31 AM on February 25, 2013

I saw that movie about 5 times when it first came out on DVD. I am no more clear about what's going on than I was the first time I saw it. I read a lot of critiques online and I think I remember that Brit Marling was considering a sequel, so I came away with the understanding that there is a lot more to the story, and it has yet to be revealed.
posted by lakersfan1222 at 7:24 AM on February 25, 2013

I got the sense that the little girl was being sexually abused by her father, hence the acting out. I also think the little girl was supposed to be Maggie's mother.

As for the rest of it, it was a group of lonely people who had found a cause -- so the blood collecting, and indoor fruit growing, and gun ranges all make sense in that context.

I think the "FBI Agent" was the strongest proof that Maggie was a time traveler. My read was that the "FBI Agent" was a counter agent from the future, sent back to stop Maggie.
posted by gsh at 8:52 AM on February 25, 2013

Good news, all: This film is apparently the first in a trilogy:

You and Brit have talked about the idea of marking this a trilogy, and obviously you've moved on to your next film [The East], but is that something you're still thinking about?
Yeah, to make Sound of My Voice we had to conceive the entire world, and understand it holistically. If you want to show less in a movie, you've got to figure out more. If audiences respond to Sound of My Voice, whether now or it gains a following later, we'd love to continue it as a trilogy, or on TV or whatever it is.

But as a filmmaker who's just establishing himself, you move on to another film with more famous actors and a bigger budget, its it a big commitment to say you're going keep returning to this thing that made your name, without taking like a Spider-Man job, or some big leap?
I wish I thought like that. The Sound of My Voice story just keeps getting better and better I think. The end of the third act would be something people would be talking about.

posted by jbickers at 11:30 AM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

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