‘The Ultimate Playlist of Noise’ is an emotionally nuanced portrayal of something as menial as noise. It is cast into the premise of a simple story surrounding its protagonist Marcus (Keean Johnson), who is obsessed with music. His favorite past time is often to muse over sounds that reach his ears, be it any frequency or scale. But an unfortunate trial of fate encloses him in an irreversible tragedy. Marcus is diagnosed with a brain tumor, for which he has to undergo surgery that would permanently render him deaf.
With a month left to make the best out of this ordeal, he resolves to create the ultimate playlist of sound. Marcus travels across the country to chance upon different auditory aesthetics that he would include in his list. Along the way, he meets a charming musician Wendy (Madeline Brewer), who gives him company. The narrative is straightforward yet elegantly sentimental. Directed by Bennett Lasseter, it is a charming young adult drama. Naturally, fans must be wondering how the idea behind it took shape. Is it based on a true story? Let’s find out.
Is The Ultimate Playlist of Noise a True Story?
No, The Ultimate Playlist of Noise is not a true story. It is an original screenplay by Mitchell Winkie. The story is vaguely reminiscent of the Disney Plus film ‘Clouds,’ which is based on the true story of Zach Sobiech. It follows Zach (Fin Argus), who spends his last days making music with his best friend before succumbing to cancer. Over time, audiences have seen multiple storylines involving loss that strikes people at an early age.
Movies like ‘The Fault in Our Stars’, ‘A Walk to Remember‘, ‘Me and Earl and the Dying Girl’ are examples of such movies, loved and adored universally. Even though we’ve seen films with similar themes before, ‘The Ultimate Playlist of Noise’ still evokes empathy and engages audiences. The reason is its unique powerplay of something as basic as sound. However, what could potentially decrease its appeal is its resemblance to ‘Sound of Metal,’ a story about a metal-drummer (Riz Ahmed) losing his hearing capacity, a movie that impressed audiences significantly.
But let’s talk about ‘The Ultimate Playlist of Noise’ and take a deeper dive into the root cause of the protagonist’s despair: the medical condition that kills whatever he lives to achieve. Marcus is diagnosed with a fatal tumor that could be removed only through surgery. And the operation, thereby, would make him lose all sense of sound. Although rare, his condition can loosely be compared to an acoustic neuroma, a non-cancerous tumor that affects the brain and other nerve functions.
Its symptoms include loss of hearing (very rare), a faint ringing in the ears, and imbalance. It is fatal if the tumor increases in size, which can be removed through surgery if it does. Permanent loss of hearing after surgery is not uncommon when the tumor has significantly grown. In such cases, a different surgical approach is adopted – Translabyrinthine craniotomy. This method is advantageous for surgeons because of the incision type performed that exposes the cranial nerve, the area primarily affected by the tumor.
But it causes permanent loss of hearing, which is one major drawback. Hence, Marcus has no option but to go through with the surgery. Before entering a life without sound, he steadily prepares for it. Keean Johnson stated that the movie could empower audiences to value and cherish the lives they’ve been given. For his role as Marcus, he had to learn a bit of sign language. Although not based on a true story, Marcus’ poignant journey is nothing short of experiences that tug at the heartstrings.