Voice from the Stone (2017) - full transcript

Verena is a young nurse hired to help a mute young heir within an isolated castle in Tuscany. The more she observes the boy, the more Verena becomes convinced he has fallen under the spell of a powerful and otherworldly persona trapped in the castle's stone walls, one that seems to be quickly approaching on her.

Jakob. Are you there, Jakob?

Are you listening?



I'm here.

I'm right here.


Be silent. And hear me.

This is how it must be.

Another woman will come.

You will see.

There will be another.

You will know her...

...by the love she shows to you.

Let the words you speak...

...be the words that call me back to you.

Promise me.



I will always be your mother.



- Carlotta...
- Arrivederci.

I hardly know the woman I see.

Her name is Verena.

She is alone.

She remembers all of them.

Every parting.

Her life is measured out in goodbyes.

Each one harder than the last.

Enter La Rocciosa...

...and the boy who wouldn't speak.

My first language.

I have these from previous employers.

Did you live with each family?

Yes. I find it helps in understanding
the child to know the family.

And do you remain in contact
with these people?

When a child recovers, the family
will generally choose to forget.

You've no degree. But they say you've a gift.

My skill comes through experience...

...and a certain, um, sensitivity.

Sensitivity. Mmm.

You have no children of your own.

- No.
- Hmm.

Your son.

He prefers English?

His mother.

My wife wanted him to speak it.

She died. There was an illness.

My son has not spoken since.

Seven months...

...and 16 days.

Alessio will see you to your room.

I would like to introduce myself to your son.

You haven't told me his name.

I must say there have been other nurses...

...all of them as sure
of their talents as you.

My son's name is Jakob.

Hello, Jakob.

My name is Verena...

...and I'm going to be
staying here for a while.

I promise I'm not like the others.
I'm much worse.

Please look at me, Jakob.

I'd like to help you. Do you understand?

There's no point.

He won't even nod his head.
He won't write or draw...

Sing or laugh, hmm?




We'll begin our work in the morning, Jakob.

Say 9:00?

Your questions are wasted.

Jakob doesn't need to answer me.
I think he understands that.


Sit down.

Now you may go.

Good night, Jakob.

- He is very obedient.
- Hmm.

This is part of it.

To disobey is to say something, so...

...so he obeys.

He isn't trying to hurt you.

That's my son, signorina, not me. Hmm.

Jakob doesn't want you here.

He hasn't shown it yet, but he will.

There is such power in his silence.

You will feel it.

You speak very harshly to him.

Braver than the others.

- I have some things I need to ask.
- What things?

Tomorrow, perhaps.

To begin with, I will tell you what I see.

I see...

...that if you wanted to speak, you could.

Hmm, and I see how hard it must be...

...to truly say nothing.

How hard you must be
concentrating every moment.

And I must admit, you're very good at it.

I know a little something of what
it feels to be apart from the world.

I lost my mother when I was
a little bit younger than you.

And my father when I was a little bit older.

It's a lovely day.

I have an idea.








Oh. Please, forgive me. I didn't...


The nurse, of course.

Come closer. Come.

Let Lilia see you.

You've come to make the boy talk.

- Just to help if I can.
- Oh, welcome.

Welcome. Welcome to La Rocciosa, my child.


You're very kind.

But I should go.

Yes, of course. Go find the boy.

Make him talk.

I'm sorry. I was looking for Jakob.

- Do you play?
- No, I, uh, never could.

- This is your wife?
- Yes.

What was her name?

You spent time with Jakob this morning.

- Yes.
- And did you observe anything?

I need to understand
what he has been through.

Malvina. Malvina Rivi.

You may have heard of her.


That's Carnegie Hall.

She played all over the world,
in all the great halls...

...for kings and queens...


She was very beautiful.

Six months after that photograph
was taken, she was dead.

It began after our return.

It started as a simple fever
and it became like fire.

Each day, it consumed a little
bit more of her strength...

...her beauty.

I had to leave to find help...

...and Jakob stayed with her.

He and Lilia nursed her together.

He wouldn't leave his mother's side.


He has his mother's gift.

They would sit here
and play together for hours.

He chooses not to speak?

Oh... oh, this...

...this must be that incredible
sensitivity of yours?

I mean, there is no injury?

No incapacity?

Something inside him has been broken.

It is simply a refusal.

A denial.

As if, by this vigil...

...he can undo what is done.

You're telling me he wants
his mother back, hmm?

Well, that's a... that's a revelation.

I've... I've been looking for you, Jakob.

I'm here to work, not to play hide-and-seek.


I haven't finished yet, Jakob.

You have a very beautiful home.

Thank you.

I do hope you'll be comfortable here.

Once, Jakob...

...I stayed with a family in Lucca.

Their house hadn't been cleaned in years.

There were cockroaches
as big as your father's watch.

And once, I stayed with a family in Piacenza.

I shared a room with the cook...

...who snored come un bufalo.

So, yes, I'm sure...

...I will be very comfortable here.

In truth, I cannot think
of this place as my own.

My wife's family
has lived here for 1,200 years.

I'm just a visitor.

Alessio's family has been here
for just as long.

The women work here in the house.

The men, in the quarry.

- The quarry?
- Mmm.

It's where all this comes from,
the wealth of the family.

The stone was once highly prized.


She allowed it to flood
at the beginning of the War.

Times were difficult...

...and she had her career.

No more need for the stone.

Jakob swims there.

He'll take you there if you wish.


I'd like that very much.

Let me.

Per favore.

It's been so long.

I used to do this to her
every night of her life...

...since she was a tiny girl.

She began to perform...

...when she was 14.

She took me with her everywhere.

Nobody knew her as I did.

Knew her moods...

...her needs.


How I loved her.

Jakob, was it you? If it was, then all
you've done is tell me you're afraid.



Jakob, what is it?


- Ah!
- What?

Jakob, no! Wait! Wait!

Jakob? What? Hey!

Jakob. Jakob, no.

Quiet. Quiet. Be quiet. Be quiet.

Quiet. Enough.


I should have left him. He was...

- He was by the wall as if he was...
- Listening.

Yes, I've seen him do it.

In his bedroom. Also in the garden.

In the quarry.

I assume it's his mother
he hears or thinks he hears.

- It seems to give him comfort.
- I should have been told.

It changes the situation.

It may indicate a far more serious condition.

You don't believe in such voices?


- No, signore, I do not.
- Nor do I.

Sometimes I wish I did.

Have you considered
taking him away from this place?

Yes, of course. It was impossible.

It was as you saw last night. He became
a danger to himself and to others.

- Then he should be in a hospital.
- No, absolutely not. No.

Signore, I'm no longer sure
I can care for your son.


I have been misled about what is required.

I must consider whether
I am properly qualified.

You're just like the others.

I await your decision.


Jakob! Jakob!

Help me down.

You scared me, Jakob.

But you've helped me realize something.

I can't leave you.

I once knew a boy who thought
he could hear his dead sister...

...through the teeth of an old comb.

He would sit with it for hours...

...listening and whispering his secrets.

He was as sure of what he heard as you are.

The mind is capable of extraordinary things.

It is your mind that is speaking
to you, Jakob, nothing else.

I'm not saying that...

...that what you hear isn't real, because...

...anything we experience is real
in its own way, but it's...

...it's not what it pretends to be.

It's important to understand that.

I want to hear you speak.

But I am not your enemy.

I care about you.

What is it?

You wish to leave?





La signora Malvina.


Come with me, please.

I think you're afraid that
if you speak, the voice will cease.


We'll listen together.

I'll tell you what I hear.

It's strange...

...the sounds.

One could imagine almost anything.

But she's not there.

I want you to stop this.

The dead do not speak.

I know it, Jakob.

I know it well.

However hard we wish them to...

...the dead remain silent.

Good night, Jakob.

Your father told me you have her gift.

What would she say if she knew
you might never use it again?

She must have spoken about the future...

...before she died...

...about the wonderful things
that lie ahead for you.

Try to remember what she said.

And imagine what she might
say now if she could see you.


- Signore.
- There's a story about that cat.

It was the custom amongst
those building houses such as this to...

...to seal a cat within the walls
as a protection against evil.

- A dead cat?
- No. Not dead.

- That's horrible.
- Of course.

I'm a fool to speak lightly of it.
Forgive me.

- Jakob will be waiting.
- Yes.

Now, if you were to play...

...it would mean only
what you wanted it to mean.

Play for me, Jakob.

Perhaps I was wrong earlier
when I spoke about your mother.

Perhaps your silence wouldn't...

...horrify her as it does me.

It is said that a true performer
cares only for the love of her audience.


...your silence is a fitting tribute.

More adoration as she leaves the stage.

What are you telling me, Jakob?
That I'm wrong or that I'm right?

You can't...

I do it to help you, Jakob.

The boy was upset today.

He's sick.

He needs help.

And he's breaking his father's heart.

The boy...

...is all that matters.

He is the future.

Look at yourself...

...how beautiful you are.

Give me your hands.


They're strong...

...like hers.

He will not speak to please you.

The boy will speak when the time is right.

He's waiting.

But he's waited long enough.

Surely that is clear to anyone.

When he speaks...

...where will you go?

To the next place.


Lonely child.

There's a story
about that cat within the walls.

He's waiting.


I wondered if Jakob was still here.


May I see?

If you wish.

It's, uh, my wife.

She was the worst possible model,
restless, complaining.

She was the worst...

...and also the best.

And this one?

I have not worked in many months.

It was to be of her.

You cannot finish it, so you abandoned it.

Perhaps, to see you work...

...it would help Jakob.

Perhaps it would signify hope.





I keep it clean for her.

She was here at the end.

We nursed her day and night...

...me and the boy.

He saw terrible things.

He heard...

...terrible things.

And when she died, I washed her...

...and tidied her hair.

The room upsets you.

You've torn your dress.

Uh, yes. Yes, I wondered
if I might borrow some thread.


I have an idea.

Oh, no.

- No, no, I... I couldn't.
- Wait.

I can't... I really...
please, I really can't.

Let's see. This? No.

Try this on. See how it fits, huh?

Brava. Sei bellissima.

Ah, perfetto.


I... I tore my dress... my skirt.

- Take it off.
- Yes.



Put it on.

Put that one away.



I have something to ask.

You may very likely refuse.

What is it?

I saw this afternoon...

...something I had previously
failed to notice...

...certain resemblances between you...

...you and my wife. I...

I think you know what it is I ask.

If I have offended you, I apologize
and ask that we forget the matter entirely.

Your work here will be unaffected.

Look at yourself...

...how beautiful you are.

Your left leg forward.

Your hand. Yes, your hand.

Your head.

This way, yes. Just a little more.

Don't move.

Bring them in.

Bring them in.



I'm here.

I'm right here.


I'm going to look after you.

I promise.

You're hurting him now.

Let me care for him.

Let me care for them both.


Is it her?

Or is it me?

You wanted to see me?

I think it's time for us...

...to review the progress of your work,
to discuss any changes in Jakob's behavior.

He needs me.

- I can help him.
- And yet he has still said nothing.

It's for me to protect him,
and now I have made things worse.

She wants me here...

...to take care of Jakob and...

...and to take care of you.

The voice is real.

You're mad.

Yes. You said it yourself.
"Serious condition."

- I should have paid closer attention.
- No!

Instead of helping Jakob,
you've made yourself unwell.

- Now you hear whatever you wish!
- No.

Yes. Why would she speak to you
and not to her husband?

Please don't send me away. Please.

I must do what is best...

...above all, for Jakob.


Jakob! Jakob.

He's going to send me away.

Tell me what I must do.

Tell me.

Tell me.

Tell me.

Tell me. Tell...

Tell me.

Tell me.

Tell me.

Tell me! Tell me!

Tell me. Tell me.

Tell me!



Another woman will come.

This is how it must be.

We must help her.

Jakob. Jakob, listen to me closely.

Your mother is watching over you.

But she is suffering.

And she is tired.

And she is trapped. Jakob...

...we must help her. We must help her.

You know what you must do.

Jakob. Jakob. Jakob!

Jakob! Stop!



Stop, Jakob!

Jakob, no. No, no, no.

It's time.

It's time.

You have to let her go.

No. Jakob!

No, it has to be now.

Do you understand?

He will send me away if you don't speak.



Speak! Speak! Speak!

Oh, no. No.


Jakob. This is how it must be.

- What are you doing?
- I must leave.

- No.
- Sir, she's given me her illness.

You have a fever. That is all.

You don't have to leave. I want you to stay.

Forgive me. We've been under
her spell too long, not only Jakob...

...all of us.

- I can't.
- No, Jakob needs you.

For him.

I'm so afraid.

Lilia, where is she?

- Who?
- Lilia.

What do you mean?

Where is she?

She's dead.

On the day of Malvina's funeral,
she put stones in her pockets...

...and walked into the lake.



Look at yourself.

Not here.

Not this room.

No. No, no, no. No, no, no.

Not this room.

It's all right.

Tutto. Tutto, tutto.

The door was locked.

- It's for your safety.
- Please, Klaus, not this room.

Alessio thinks it's best to confuse, confuse.

Please don't leave me here.

I'm going to fetch a doctor,
and he'll be here as soon as he can.

Don't leave me here. Not this room.

I must speak to Jakob.

I must speak to Jakob.


The boy will speak when the time is right.

Help me.


Help me.

Oh, God, please.

Good morning.

You're feeling better?

Everything's going to be fine.
I promise. Hmm.

I was worried.

Where is Jakob?

I miss my mama.

I'm here.

I'm right here.


I try to think of a time before this.

I hardly know the woman I see.

But the past is a dream from which
we wake with each new morning.

We are, none of us, quite who we were.

Come, Jakob.

Sit with me.