Nina (Elisha Cuthbert) is a grade-A bitch. The pretty, popular cheerleader so doesnít like that her parents have taken in the orphaned, deaf-mute Dot (Camilla Belle) after Dotís dad passed away. Dot is a freak, always skulking around and in general creeping other students out. But, as Dot soon discovers, maybe Nina doesnít have the best of everything. Maybe her dad (Martin Donovan) isnít the mostest bestest dad ever. Maybe thereís a reason why Ninaís mom (Edie Falco) spends her days in a self-medicated haze of pills and Chardonnay. Director Jamie Babittís The Quiet is, on one level, an arty, tad more risky after-school special about not judging books by their covers as everything--and everyone--isnít what or who they seem. And while the movie does eventually plummet into the ludicrous, credit Cuthbert and Donovan for holding it together as long as they could. Cuthbertís Nina is a study in teenaged alpha-femininity as defense mechanism, and in her father, The Quiet keenly makes use of the rather icky undertow that always lurks just beneath Donovanís seemingly normal roles. Otherwise, though, The Quiet is a slow descent into clichťs.