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This film was highly recommended to me - what a mistake - it was so boring I fell asleep - the acting was good - I love William Hurt but the story was awful - forget it!
I first saw this film when it was released around 1985. I found it powerful then-on a par with the 'Miracle Worker' the Anne Bancroft film about the relationship between Helen Keller-a deaf mute(as Helen's condition was termed then) and her teacher Annie Sullivan. Children of a Lesser God is also about the relationship between a teacher and a young woman who is deaf and who for reasons revealed in the film refuses to make sound or attempt to speak. Essentially it is a story about the deaf world and the hearing world and how people who live in one can misunderstand the other. Like the 'Miracle Worker' this film does not pull it's punches. It is not an attempt at political correctness nor is it banal with sentimentality. It has a story to tell and it tells it. The central characters acted by William Hurt (who had to learn Sign Language when he took on the role) and Marlee Matlin (the first deaf actor to win an Oscar) are played with a tongue in cheek humour, passion and intensity. A totally satisfying and entertaining experience.
Children of A Lesser God is adapted from a stage play of the same name and the influences are clear - and rewarding. The plot concerns a new teacher moving to a island based residential school for the deaf and falling in love with one it's former students - now working as a cleaner in the school and the problems they have living in each other's worlds. This film is an impressive piece of work in every way for which Randa Haines is to be commended. William Hurt gives a star turn that will quickly make you forget the travesty of Lost in Space. In the co-lead is Mahlee Matlin whose virtually silent role gained her a much deserved Academy Award such is the passion and anger she brings to the work. It is a shame that Hollywood has failed to provide many mainstream vehicles for her talent. Equally exceptional is Piper Laurie as Matlin's mother - a small but beautifully played role. The supporting cast is very strong with the headmaster of the school (whose name I forget) giving a small but impressively wry performance as a man concerned for his former star-pupil and his new star-teacher. You can never doubt what the conclusion of the romantic storyline will be - such is the way of film - but it is uplifting and worth watching again and again.
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