Lorna's Silence

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Lorna's Silence
A woman in the bathroom is seen without clothes from the shoulder up, slightly wet as if from the shower and looking somewhere while putting her right hand on the back of her hair.
Theatrical poster
Directed byJean-Pierre Dardenne
Luc Dardenne
Produced byJean-Pierre Dardenne
Luc Dardenne
Denis Freyd
Written byJean-Pierre Dardenne
Luc Dardenne
StarringArta Dobroshi
Jérémie Renier
Fabrizio Rongione
CinematographyAlain Marcoen
Edited byMarie-Hélène Dozo
Distributed byCinéart (Belgium)
Release date
  • 19 May 2008 (2008-05-19) (Cannes)
  • 27 August 2008 (2008-08-27) (Belgium)
Running time
105 minutes
Budget€4 million[1]
Box office$1.8 million[1]

Lorna's Silence (French: Le Silence de Lorna) is a 2008 drama film by the Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne. It was the winner of the 2008 LUX Prize,[2] as well as the Best Screenplay Award at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival.


Lorna, a young Albanian woman living in Belgium, is in sham marriage with a drug addict named Claudy who accepted her money to become her husband. Lorna's dream is to own a snack bar with her boyfriend, Sokol. In order to see this dream fulfilled, she agrees to have another fake marriage with a Russian man, but Claudy is in the way. Fabio, the one who orchestrated the whole plan, will not wait for Lorna and Claudy's divorce.

Initially Lorna had agreed to Fabio's plan of killing Claudy with an overdose, but Lorna is moved by Claudy's determination to stay clean, so she pleads Fabio to wait for their divorce. But Fabio does not understand why Lorna cares, and an overdose will not look suspicious, because drug addicts often relapse.

Claudy attempts to stay off of drugs by locking himself in his apartment and asking Lorna to get him medicine at the pharmacy that will help with his pains. One night, the pain becoming unbearable, and he asks Lorna to call his doctor and take him to the hospital. There, he begs Lorna to stay with him until the nurse comes, he leans against her like a child in need of protection.

In order to obtain a quick divorce, Lorna decides to hurt herself and make it look like Claudy abused her, she does not manage to convince Claudy to beat her and ends up hurting herself at the hospital and crying out for help. The nurse who looks after her agrees to act as a witness for the police report; the same day, Lorna goes to the station and fills out a report. Fabio, who seems to control everything, has her followed, and he asks her why she went to the police station, she explains that the divorce will be faster since she has found a way to make it look like Claudy is a physically abusive husband.

The next day, Claudy gets out of the hospital and goes to see Lorna at her workplace, he asks for money (Claudy has asked Lorna to carry his money for him to prevent him from using it on drugs) to buy cigarettes and to prepare a meal for when she gets back from work.

Later that night, Lorna receives a letter from the judge granting her a quick divorce, she leaves a depressed Claudy behind to let Fabio know the news. When she tells Fabio that the divorce will now only take a month, he does not look pleased, she asks him to talk to the Russians and see if they will accept the delay. A short while after, as Lorna crosses the street to enter her apartment, Fabio in his taxi honks and as she gets close, telling her that the Russian has accepted to wait.

At home, Claudy has invited one of his drug dealers over. Lorna forces the drug dealer out, locks the door, throws the key out of the window, and makes love to Claudy.

The next day, Claudy and Lorna, who look like a content couple, go to a shop to get a new pair of keys and a bike for Claudy to pass the time and take his mind off drugs. After having agreed to see Claudy at her workplace at noon, Lorna runs playfully after his bike.

In the next scene, Lorna carefully chooses a pair of jeans that she puts in a bag that previously contained Claudy's belongings. Then, she goes to the morgue where she gives the clothes and asks to see Claudy once more. Later, she packs up a bag under the watchful eye of Fabio and Spirou, his assistant. Fabio tells her it was necessary to get rid of Claudy as the Russians would not have waited, he explains that she would not have accepted his decision, so he could not have told her. He offers her a thousand euros for staying with Claudy and helping him out with his addiction. Lorna does not take the money; as they are heading out, two detectives ask to speak to Lorna. They question her about Claudy, and after a while she tears up; the detectives leave, apparently convinced of her sincerity and innocence.

Lorna goes back to her old apartment and finds a place to rent for the snack bar with Sokol, she also meets the Russian man she is going to marry. She accepts the money Fabio gives her for her future marriage and even takes the one thousand euros that she had previously refused. In the meantime, she discovers that she is pregnant, she goes to the hospital to get an abortion, but finds that she cannot do it. She does not wait for the ultrasound and runs out of the doctor's office; when she tells Fabio that she is pregnant, he insists upon an abortion, mumbling that Sokol and she were crazy for not being careful. Lorna goes to the bank to open an account for her unborn child; the clerk tells her that the money can only be transferred to an actual account upon her child's birth. When the clerk asks for the baby's last name, she says "Moreau," which was Claudy's last name. Despite Fabio having told her not to talk about it, Lorna brings up the baby to the Russian during their second meeting; the Russian says through his interpreter that a baby is out of the question, and Fabio gets angry with Lorna for bringing it up. After the Russians' departure, Fabio roughs out Lorna and shouts that she must do exactly what he tells her to. Lorna crouches down while holding her stomach.

At the hospital where Fabio takes her, the doctor tells Lorna that she is not pregnant, but Lorna seems convinced that she is. On her way to the hospital room where they want to keep her overnight, she meets the doctor who took care of Claudy, she asks the doctor if she remembers her, explains that she is Claudy's wife, and requests that the doctor come say hi to her later.

Fabio realizes that he can no longer use Lorna, so he meets up with her and Sokol and takes back a good amount of the money he had given her; the next day, Lorna once again has packed up all her things, and Fabio takes her sim card from her cell phone before she enters the car that Spirou, Fabio's assistant, is driving. In the car, when Lorna asks Spirou why he has not taken the highway, he says that he needs to go to a gas station; when the next gas station is in view, Lorna tells him that she will use the bathroom while he buys gas. But Spirou says that he must go to a specific gas station, not that one. Lorna realizes then that Spirou has received the order to kill her, she asks Spirou to stop because she needs to relieve herself. He accepts to let her go urinate, but keeps her bag in the car. Once she is outside, Lorna takes a rock and hides it under her coat as she crouches to pee. Back in the car, she hits Spirou twice and runs out into the woods.

The movie ends as Lorna arrives at a little cabin in the woods where she decides to spend the night, she goes out to find wood and talks to her imaginary baby, telling him that she will not let it die like she let Claudy die.



Critical response[edit]

Lorna's Silence received mostly positive reviews from critics. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives it an 85% approval rating, based on 96 reviews, with an average score of 7.2/10. The site's consensus reads, "Subtle and emotionally bleak, this gripping thriller features the Dardenne brothers' recognizable penchant for realism and very strong performances.[3] At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the film received an average score of 80, based on 24 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[4]



  1. ^ a b "Le Silence de Lorna". JP's Box-Office.
  2. ^ "LUX Prize 2008 | LUX Prize". luxprize.eu. Retrieved 11 April 2014.
  3. ^ "Lorna's Silence (2008)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
  4. ^ "Lorna's Silence Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
  5. ^ "Awards 2008 : All Awards - Festival de Cannes 2014 (International Film Festival)". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 11 April 2014.
  6. ^ "European Film Academy : Home". europeanfilmacademy.org. Retrieved 11 April 2014.

External links[edit]