Children of A Lesser God
Directed by Randa Haines
Fair warning, I am totally going to gush over this film. I know it is often dismissed as a melodrama, but I think it is a masterpiece. I am currently learning American Sign Language, as one of my many "what can I do so that I don't lose my mind during surgery recovery" projects. It is a beautiful language and I am glad that it was featured in such a brilliant film.
James Leeds is an unconventional new teacher (not the unbearable Robin Williams type, thank goodness) at a deaf school in New England. He meets and is instantly attracted to Sarah Norman, a deaf janitor. James encourages his deaf students to speak (because what if you are doing a handstand and someone comes to ask you for money?) but Sarah is resistant to his efforts. The two begin a relationship, despite the communication barriers between them.
I have heard a lot of people complain about there not being subtitles and how annoying it is to have William Hurt say all of Marlee Matlin's dialogue. But they really had no choice but to handle it that way as subtitles would take your eyes of Matlin's signing. Part of the brilliance of this film is watching Sarah's character speaking so emphatically and passionately without ever making noise. Also James is an incredibly pushy character so having him speak for her fits.
Just a beautiful story and the pool scene always gets me. *Runs for tissues*
First film directed by a woman to be nominated for Best Picture. Yay!
At 21, Marlee Matlin was the youngest actress to win for Best Actress.