Terri Fletcher (Hilary Duff) is a teenager with a passion for singing and dreams of becoming a professional singer. She wants to participate in a music program that could give her a $10,000 scholarship. Her father Simon (David Keith), a second-generation restaurateur, disapproves of Terri's plans, stating that being a singer may not be a worthwhile life choice. In reality, his opposition stems from resentment; Simon turned down a similar scholarship to run his parents' restaurant when they became ill; he is intimidated by the thought of his daughter flourishing where he couldn't bring himself to try. Terri is very close to her elder brother Paul (Jason Ritter) who fully supports her dream, despite what their dad says. At Paul's graduation-day barbecue, he has a fight with Simon, who, in the heat of it, grounds his son. Terri sneaks Paul out of the house to attend a Three Days Grace concert. On the way back, they are in a car accident. Terri awakens in the hospital, where she learns that Paul was killed.
Terri loses interest in her singing, and also in the music program. However, Terri's mother Frances (Rita Wilson) feels differently; knowing that Paul would have wanted Terri to attend the program, she convinces her surviving offspring to go. Frances tells Simon that Terri plans to live with her aunt Nina (Rebecca De Mornay) in Palm Desert for the summer and allows her daughter to travel to Los Angeles.
Terri arrives in Los Angeles and weathers some difficult ordeals: her jacket is stolen, her cab driver is crabby, and when she arrives at the music school, the door is locked; fellow student Jay (Oliver James) lets her in and Terri arrives safely. While at the program, Terri makes new friends and learns a great deal about music, but problems arise when she is plagued by memories of the car crash which took Paul's life and finds it increasingly difficult to keep her participation in the program a secret from her father.
Throughout the film, Terri develops a mutual fondness for Jay, but she faces competition from Robin Childers (Lauren C. Mayhew), who was involved with Jay the previous summer. Although Robin still harbors feelings for Jay, it is obvious that he does not reciprocate these feelings. Jay tries to get Robin to cease her efforts to keep him and Terri apart. On one occasion, she kisses him just as Terri walks in. Jay pushes Robin away, but Terri runs off in tears, ignoring Jay's insistence that the kiss meant nothing. Later, finding him drunk, Terri and her roommate Denise (Dana Davis) take Jay elsewhere to sober up. When he does, Jay apologizes, and Terri agrees to finish the song they've been working on for the scholarship contest.
At home, Simon learns of Terri's ruse and becomes furious. On the final day, Simon comes to the school and Terri finds him packing up her belongings; he reams his daughter for disobeying and deceiving him, and for turning his own sister and wife against him. She begs him to let her finish what she started and not let the summer go to waste. Ultimately, realizing how selfish he had been acting concedes and allows her to perform. Terri and Jay then perform the song they wrote with Terri, dedicating it to Paul. The scholarship prize is won by Denise, yet Simon is proud of his daughter and her talents. He is also glad that her last memory of Paul is one worth having (the concert), as opposed to Simon's own (their argument, and Paul's subsequent restriction to his bedroom). Terri's teachers hope to see her next year; Simon replies that they just might. Over the end credits, Terri performs for her parents and Nina, with Jay cheering her on.Hilary Duff as Teresa "Terri" Fletcher
Oliver James as Jay
Jason Ritter as Paul Fletcher
Dana Davis as Denise
Rebecca De Mornay as Nina Fletcher
Rita Wilson as Frances Fletcher
David Keith as Simon Fletcher
Lauren C. Mayhew as Robin Childers
Johnny Lewis as Engelbert "Kiwi" Wilson
Kat Dennings as Sloane
John Corbett as Mr. Torvald
James Avery as Mr. Gantry
Robert Trebor as Mr. Wesson
Gibby Brand as Mr. Holcomb
Adam Gontier as himself
The film received mostly negative reviews, receiving 33 out of 100 by Metacritic and achieving a 16% (rotten) rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
The film opened on October 8, 2004 and grossed $4,022,693 in its opening weekend at #6, behind Shark Tale's second weekend, Friday Night Lights, Ladder 49's second weekend, Taxi, and The Forgotten's third weekend. The film was also a flop at the box office.
By the end of its run, Raise Your Voice grossed $10,411,980 domestically and $4,455,534 internationally, totaling $14,867,514 worldwide.
In contrast to the negative reviews, for her role, Duff won Favorite Movie Actress at the 2005 Kids Choice Awards. Duff received in 2005 also a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actress nomination.
The film was released on VHS and DVD February 15, 2005.
Raise Your Voice was the first live-action film to air on The CW, having aired on Thanksgiving Day 2007.
The soundtrack was planned to be debuting before the movie, but was never released because Duff released her eponymous second album with the songs featured on the film. Three Days Grace also contributed the songs "Are You Ready" and "Home" to the movie, the latter from their self-titled debut album. The upbeat "Lift Off" by Tina Sugandh.Unreleased tracklist
- "Play It Loud" – MxPx
- "Someone's Watching Over Me" – Hilary Duff
- "Jericho" – Hilary Duff
- "Fly" – Hilary Duff
- "Shine" – Hilary Duff
- "Walking on Sunshine" – Katrina and the Waves
- "Home" – Three Days Grace
- "Are You Ready?" – Three Days Grace
- "We Might as Well Be Strangers" – Keane
- "Lift Off" – Tina Sugandh