Raise Your Voice

Pop singer/actress Hilary Duff starring in a movie about an aspiring singer: It seems like a no-brainer, but she hits all the wrong notes in this light drama. On the last day of school, excited, 16-year-old Terri (Duff) just might be the only person anxious to spend her summer continuing to study with her choir teacher. The Flagstaff, Ariz., teenager knows...read more

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Reviewed by Angel Cohn
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Pop singer/actress Hilary Duff starring in a movie about an aspiring singer: It seems like a no-brainer, but she hits all the wrong notes in this light drama. On the last day of school, excited, 16-year-old Terri (Duff) just might be the only person anxious to spend her summer continuing to study with her choir teacher. The Flagstaff, Ariz., teenager knows she has to work hard if she hopes to achieve her goal of becoming a big-time professional singer and, in the more immediate future, earn a spot in the coveted summer music program at Bristol-Hillman Conservatory in Los Angeles. Her father (David Keith), a restaurant owner, stubbornly refuses to entertain the idea and forbids Terri to even think about going to the decadent big city, where she'll surely get into trouble. But her unbelievably supportive brother, Paul (Jason Ritter), himself a recent high-school graduate who plans to get out of town as quickly as he can, hopes that his dutiful sister will break a few rules and live up to her potential. So without Terri's knowledge he sends the conservatory a DVD of some of her impromptu performances. Later that night, the siblings sneak out of the house to go to a concert; a car accident on the way home has tragic consequences. Reeling from the death of her only brother, Terri loses interest in life and ignores her acceptance letter from Bristol-Hillman. But her mother (Rita Wilson) and look-alike aunt Nina (Rebecca De Mornay) convince her that Paul would want her to go; so Terri reluctantly lies to her dad and Nina covers for her, saying that Terri will be staying with her for a month. Once in overwhelming L.A., Terri's hipper and more sophisticated classmates make her feel like an uncool country mouse. Has she made a huge mistake? Terri slowly finds her voice with the help of encouraging professor Torvald (John Corbett), befriends her roommate Denise (Dana Davis), and falls for the smooth-talking Jay (Oliver James); she and Jay decide they'll compete together in the school's final competition, where the winner earns a $10,000 academic scholarship. To be fair, the normally likeable Duff gives an adequate performance, but the poorly executed scenes in which Duff's singing voice was clearly post-dubbed and her own lack of emotional range keep the film from rising to whatever potential it may have had.

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  • Released: 2004
  • Rating: PG
  • Review: Pop singer/actress Hilary Duff starring in a movie about an aspiring singer: It seems like a no-brainer, but she hits all the wrong notes in this light drama. On the last day of school, excited, 16-year-old Terri (Duff) just might be the only person anxiou… (more)

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