""Children of a Lesser God" is one of the best films released in 1986, starring William Hurt and Marlee Matlin. Its brilliant plot never loses its emotional value. Its story about a high school teacher, James, who teaches deaf students, then meets a deaf female janitor who doesn't speak, Sarah, is unique. As secrets are revealed about Sarah's past, the film becomes increasingly interesting. James and Sarah later fall in love, but the battle between Sarah and her inner demons prevents the relationship to function at the fullest. Such twists turns arise within the characters that keep audiences always awaiting anxiously for what happens next. Therefore, this film is more than a love story; it's a story about hope. Such combination adds more unique themes. The distinction between the spoken words and the sign language was brilliantly translated. Rather than typing subtitles on the lower screen during the sign language scenes, James usually speaks what they are saying. Many say that having subtitles may have likely ruined the film's emotional affect. Such accomplishment makes the writing more brilliant. Marlee Matlin became the youngest person to win the Oscar for the Best Actress catagory (age 21). Her role as Sarah proved highly difficult, considering she only expressed herself nonverbally. Her body language distinuish Sarah's emotions perfectly in every scene. Few others have accomplished this in such magnitude. Only one other actress has won an Oscar for playing a non-speaking lead role (Holly Hunter, "The Piano", 1993). William Hurt performs his role as James wonderfully. Though not as demanding as Matlin's role, his emotional value still holds on top. James struggles between love and reaching out are expressed beautifully in every scene. All other actors, major or minor, also perform their roles beautifully."Children of a Lesser God" is a wonderful film for those looking for powerful themes. This is sure to continue pleasing audiences for many more years. Its quality proves that this is destined to become a classic."
David P Oller | Albuquerque, NM United States | 01/03/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I would have to wonder about anyone who gave this movie a bad review, is it lack of empathy, or just understanding?The acting was superior, and the tale was gripping. Even before I understood the issues personally, the movie was enlightening.If it had a failure it was in assuming those of us with hearing understood the depth of the issues, and perhaps the play conveyed this more clearly.One example: I learned to sign both ASL (American Sign Language) & SEE (Signed Exact English) I learned the latter first. SEE was designed by Hearing educators who felt it would help Deaf people learn to read better. It has a sign for each word corresponding to english, including signs for past participles, etc. "Going" is two signs "go" & "ing" In SEE "Are you going to the store?" requires seven signs. In ASL only three are required "You go store" The eyebrows are raised to indicate an interogative, (question) where telling someone (command) the eyes are squinted and covey a sort of forcefulness, (which is why some hearing people assume they are angry) but the same three signs are used. The "ing" is a hearing-designed sign flipping the little finger from the body towards the other person. If you sign for just one hour your eyes are getting tired, especially if you are using three times as many signs, and at that point when someone throws that "ing" at you it feels like they shot you between the eyes with a pellet gun.ASL is simply a better language than the one designed by hearing educators who feel the deaf are "Children of a Lesser God." Whether it's thinking it's better for the deaf to learn how to speak, or thinking their language should be changed for their benefit, the message is the same, and the moviee did a good job of presenting this."
Love on screen between silence and sounds.
Pat Cash | Belfast, Ireland. | 04/16/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Sounds familiar I'm sure, man meets woman and they fall in love, fall out, and fall in again. So,when hearing man falls in love with deaf woman, and they fall out, and so on, there is good reason to think you have been there, heard it all before. Well, listen up, you may be surprised by the quiet assured tale that is the Childen of a Lesser God. A film that gives us an idea of what we thought we knew: Love needs more than words to keep it lit.This is a film about a deaf and a hearing world trying to find a compromise in communication and echoes of all our stories of love and grief. William Hurt as a Speech Therapist, arrives with a maverick reputation and a certainty in his expectations of the speaking deaf. He can interpret the signs, yet can't undertand his lover's abused heart.
Marlee Matlin has agony across her face that has little to do with cleaning the toilet of a School for the Deaf, or her own deafness. Fortunately, the expressive face also shows the vulnerable tenderness that lies beneath and makes you believe in her struggle to be heard. The script avoids shouting about how the experience of loving someone who has hurt her, affects a woman who is deaf. She falls in love as a woman, and is affected as a woman.In the company of a strong supporting cast, the characters learn something about their special needs when in love or alone. They stutter into love with a simple but limiting,vocabulary of passion and desire. Like all our own tales of love and grief, the early promise proves illusory when the enduring relationship requires more understanding of the other than we believe ourselves capable."
Beautiful film..I can't believe it took me almost 20 years t
D. Pawl | Seattle | 11/20/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Marlee Matalin received critical acclaim and a well-deserved Academy Award, for Best Actress, in this beautiful and intelligent drama. Sarah (Matalin) is a deaf janitor at a school for deaf children who encounters a talented and patient hearing teacher who has just arrived (William Hurt). Together, they embark on a relationship, filled with challenges along the way. Nevertheless, Sarah comes to learn that love and respect does exist for her in the world. What's more, the teacher comes to gain a new perspective, understanding and sensitivity for people born without the ability to hear. He also learns that just because they lack this sense doesn't mean they aren't gifted in other ways, with their other senses (inward and outward). Sarah can literally express to him what a wave sounds like, as it rises out of the water, and she can sense the rhythm of music in her nose.
The acting is believeable and very compelling, in this film, as William Hurt's character interprets his signing (and Sarah's) with feeling and a real connection to their unspoken language. There are great, humorous moments in this film, as well as intense, introspective scenese, where we get a sense of Sarah's struggle to co-exsist with hearing, speaking people. Since Sarah never spoke, she learned to build a rather isolated existence as a cleaning woman, and also as a very sensuous woman. She never felt she belonged though. This story truly brings dignity and humanity to this story character study of an extraordinary, intelligent and beautiful woman who just happens to live through her sensations, as a means of connecting to the sounds she cannot hear. You will truly look at deaf people in a totally new light once you see this film. Everyone needs to watch it......"
Tryanny of The Deaf!
D. Pawl | 07/29/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A Superbly mounted film starring William Hurt . Marlee Matlin..with good work from the likes of Phillip Bosco and co,Its heartfelt and true and the director should be applauded for handling the subjects of alienation, loneliness and isolation.Its not too ironic that Piper Laurie shows up playing the mother. This wonderful actress lets the audience know what pain there is in all the subjects examined by this film. I can only think of that same Piper Laurie look in 1961,s " The Hustler" and gain some perspective on life.Unique film experience."