If you have an ear for music and sound, you might be able to enjoy The Sound of Silence, but if you’re tone deaf and have no musical background like me, this is not your film.

Peter (Peter Sarsgaard) is a “house tuner.” He uses his perfect pitch and his decades of Ph.D. level research to identify dissonant sounds in peoples’ homes. Is your toaster out of frequency with your fridge causing insomnia? Tamp down the vibration on your radiator! Is your coffee pot clashing with your alarm clock causing depression? Time for a new blender!

Homeowners are as skeptical as they should be that his work sounds crazy, but it seems to work for all his clients. His ear for the most mundane, subtle, otherwise inaudible sounds is able to cure mood disorders all across cacophonous Manhattan. He is so meticulous with hearing and recording sounds across NY that he practically has the entire city mapped out with musical notes corresponding to every landmark and intersection. Think A Beautiful Mind but with sounds. And his work is supposed to look as crazy and manic as A Beautiful Mind.

Of course, Peter’s research and success solving all his clients’ home issues can’t continue smoothly. He can’t solve whatever sounds in Ellen’s (Rashida Jones) home are causing her distress and it’s causing him to second guess all his research. On top of that, scientific journals are practically laughing off his lifelong research. Everything he ever had confidence in is gone.

For a story that’s so focused on the soundscape of New York, the sound design and score are immersive. If you just closed your eyes and listened, there is probably a story to be heard in the music. But with your eyes open, it’s a lot less interesting. Peter isn’t necessarily a sympathetic character, so when he loses his way, it’s hard to care that he’s just one more New Yorker lost in the rat race.

Usually cast in comedic roles, Rashida Jones plays the drama well, but there’s no chemistry between the two characters. Peter is obsessively trying to solve the sound in her apartment, but other than the fact that he has to regularly visit her apartment, there’s no relationship between the two of them. The climax appears to set up a happy ending between Peter and Ellen, but there is still too much ambiguity for any satisfying resolution.

If you go into The Sound of Silence with an ear for music, this might be a fulfilling auditory experience. It also might be a noisy mess. Otherwise, you’re just not missing anything.