Stewart plays another high school student in Speak, albeit not one about to be inducted into a wacky world of supernatural hunks. Nope, here she plays Melinda Sordino, arriving back in class for the first day back after summer and finding herself shunned by her oldest friends. Deeply scarred by an incident from the summer which she has kept bottled up within, Melinda has become selectively mute, only communicating with a select handful of individuals she feels comfortable with (as well as the audience via interior monologues). Just one such individual is the unorthodox but highly-enthused art teacher Mr. Freeman, who is played by Steven Zahn, and there are also adult roles for Robert John Burke as a xenophobic teacher, and D.B. Sweeney and Elizabeth Perkins as Melinda's parents. There is only so long Melinda can keep herself isolated for though, and she is eventually forced to confront the trauma she experienced the previous summer – both for her own benefit, and to prevent history from repeating itself.
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