Making the Grades
The spirit of teenage independence sings out loud and clear in Raise Your Voice, starring Hillary Duff playing Terri Fletcher-a girl with a big voice in the small pond of Flagstaff AZ. Her greatest problem is her protective father, Simon (David Keith), who isn't interested in letting his little girl venture into LA to attend a summer music school.
Although Terri is willing to live with her father's decision, that's not the case with her best fan and brother Paul (Jason Ritter). So while Dad has been saying "No", the techno sibling has been videotaping his sister singing into her hairbrush and many other impromptu performances. Compiling a DVD of her greatest hits, he pops it in the mail to the music school. Then, this brother from heaven, surprises Terri with a pair of tickets to a rock concert that evening.
In spite of being grounded himself, Paul convinces Terri to sneak out of the house, with a consenting nod from Aunt Nina (Rebecca De Mornay). The visiting relative is the liberated artsy of the family, and fears her brother Simon's firm grip on Terri is choking the girl's future opportunities.
But when a fatal twist of fate with a drunk driver befalls them, the ambitious teen has to replace her dreams of singing with waiting on tables at the family coffee shop. Months roll by before Terri receives an envelope in the mail informing her she's been accepted into the exclusive summer school. Unwilling to let this chance go by, Aunt Nina and Terri's mom cook up a plan in order to work around the stubborn Simon who still adamantly desires that his daughter stay home.
Yet even with their help, all is not smooth sailing. In California she finds herself swimming in a whole new kettle of fish... or perhaps sharks. Now she must truly prove her worth -- while also coming to grips with the obligatory romance this genre demands.
With a soundtrack and theme of taking control of your life, this film will undoubtedly have strong potential with young female audiences. Parents however are sure to be concerned with the lie both the child and adults agree to perpetrate, and the lack of consequences for their deception. They may also be surprised Terri displays such a passive reaction to her love interest when he shows up drunk, (especially considering the negative connotations such behavior received earlier in the film). Fortunately, aside from a steamy moment between two secondary characters, sexual content, language, and violence are minimal.
While the relationship between Terri and her loyal, supportive brother Paul is admirable, it is too bad the same level of trust and teamwork isn't portrayed between the older siblings of Simon and Nina. For families, this teeter-totter of good and bad make this movie difficult to really sing about.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Raise Your Voice.
Is lying ever justified as a way to reach your goals? What other options did Terri have? Do we ever see her sit down and seriously confront her father with her request? Do parents ever have other reasons for saying “No”?
If your life had been affected by drunk driving the way Terri’s is, how would you react to people who drink?