Marlee Matlin. Nuff said.
Before this exquisite creature was Bette’s sexy girlfriend on the L Word, Ms. Matlin played a deaf woman in ‘Children of a Lesser God‘ for which she won an oscar for best female in a leading role. It was her debut performance! She was on par with Julie Andrews! She was (and STILL is) the youngest woman to win an oscar for a leading role – at the age of 21…
and what are you doing?
Anyway, this film deals with James, a speech language teacher with a lot of energy. He starts to teach at a deaf school where Sarah (Marlee Matlin) is the cleaner, despite being the brightest student that school has ever seen. When James isn’t teaching deaf children how to sing ‘Boomarangrang’ he’s following Sarah around, trying to make sense of her.
Sarah, on the other hand, is a very angry deaf person in a hearing world (sounds familiar my non-binary darlings?). She is tired of reading lips and therefore refuses to do so, causing James to have to sign to her for her to communicate back.
James cannot understand why she won’t speak. And let’s face it, he’s a speech language teacher for a reason. He wants Sarah to start speaking, to aim higher than her cleaning job at the school. She angrily signs to him ‘I will not do anything I can’t do well’.
After investigating Sarah’s past, he starts to make sense of her situation and her anger.
They fall in love, but their differences in values: hers of being independent without having someone speak for her, and his of pushing her to speak like everyone else, causes a huge rift between them.
This movie is pure gold. There isn’t closed captions however you can always understand what is going on either from movement or from the others. For example James would say what Sarah is saying out loud. He says his signing is rusty so this could be his way of understanding what she is saying. Whatever, either way, don’t worry this movie is very understandable.
Another note, the sound. When James is alone, the music is loud. He plays classical music on his LP player, there’s the sound of footsteps, of doors, of things happening outside. When there’s Sarah, you only hear the bare minimum. A footfall, maybe a door opening or shutting. But most of the time it is silent. I found this very powerful to try understand the differences between them.
Final verdict: WATCH THIS MOVIE NOW