Silence of the Heart

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Silence of the Heart
DVD cover of the movie Silence of the Heart.jpg
DVD cover
Genre Drama
Written by Phil Penningroth
Directed by Richard Michaels
Starring Mariette Hartley
Dana Hill
Howard Hesseman
Chad Lowe
Charlie Sheen
Music by Georges Delerue
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
Executive producer(s) Jon Avnet
Steve Tisch
Producer(s) James O'Fallon
David A. Simons
Cinematography Isidore Mankofsky
Editor(s) Peter E. Berger
Running time 100 minutes
Production company(s) David A. Simons Productions
Tisch/Avnet Productions Inc.
Distributor CBS
Original network CBS
Original release
  • October 30, 1984 (1984-10-30)

Silence of the Heart is a 1984 American made-for-television drama film starring Charlie Sheen, Chad Lowe, Mariette Hartley, Dana Hill, Howard Hesseman and Silvana Gallardo, directed by Richard Michaels and written by Phil Penningroth.[1]

The film was considered groundbreaking for the time period and heralded a coming trend of films that dealt with teenage suicide, a topic previously not discussed in family film,[2][3] with an emphasis on the surviving family of a teenager who commits suicide.[4]


Skip Lewis (Chad Lowe) is a 17-year-old boy who has been having academic problems; also, a girl named Andrea, whom he has been pursuing has told him that she has no interest in him. He tries to talk to his parents (Mariette Hartley & Howard Hesseman) about this but can't bring himself to, thinking that they won't understand. He commits suicide by driving his car over a cliff onto rocks. Now, his parents are in denial saying that his death was an accident. However, his best friend, Ken Cruze (Charlie Sheen) who was the last person he saw before his death, was told by Skip that he was considering killing himself and is feeling guilty that he didn't try to stop him. Skip's sister Cindy (Dana Hill) tries to bring her family out of denial so they can heal.

Partial cast[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

The New York Times wrote that "In any television project of this sort, the dramatization elements tend to be shaped by requirements usually associated with a how-to manual. This is the problem, we are told, and this is the way to cope with it." They noted that with San Mateo County's director of the Suicide Prevention and Crisis Center acting as technical adviser, the film's "dramatic clout gets lost in the authenticity shuffle." They praised the cast, writing that "the performances lift the production far above run-of-the-mill exercises", with special note made of the "powerfully wrenching" performances of Mariette Hartley and Howard Hesseman as the grief-stricken parents, and that both actors "add important new dimensions to their careers". They concluded that "Overall, Silence of the Heart manages to make all of its cautionary points while, in the process, being genuinely affecting. It represents one special form of the television movie at its best."[1]


  1. ^ a b O'Connor, John J. (October 30, 1984). "'Silence of the Heart', teen-age suicide". The New York Times. Retrieved August 4, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Television". 104. Newsweek. August 27, 1984: 114. 
  3. ^ Knight, Ken (2008). The Midnight Show: Late Night Cable-TV "Guy-Flicks" of the 80's. A credit to her craft: An interview with Silvana Gallardo: AuthorHouse. p. 10. ISBN 1-4343-4148-8. 
  4. ^ Farber, Stephen (October 11, 1984). "3 TV films on suicide by youths". The New York Times. Retrieved August 4, 2011. 

External links[edit]