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  • Hollywood is full of overly wrought love stories in which the conflict seems contrived merely to create drama or comedy or both. In Children of a Lesser God the love is so simple, and the conflict so believable, that it feels less like watching a movie, and more like watching friends walk through their own personal story. The attraction between Matlin and Hurt is obvious, but genuine, and is filled with the kind of "touches" that make it feel real. It is also a visually beautiful film. Each shot is set like a still photographer capturing an image. The overwhelming beauty of the New Brunswick coast creates a background for the film that leaves one with the feeling of watching a moving painting. Matlin has unfortunately not since been offered anything near this piece in which to display her amazing talent. It is a shame that a woman who could stand alongside Katherine Hepburn and Jodie Foster as all time great actresses is not having the opportunity to display that talent because of her hearing disability.
  • This is perhaps the most moving and thought-provoking film about love and being in a relationship that I have ever seen. Matlin takes your breath away as you fall in love with her and she breaks your heart. Randa Haines documents, meticulously, the real effort and struggle that must go into negotiating a romantic relationship between any two individuals, and also the priceless dividends we reap by doing so- namely, love, home, friendship, acceptance, family: life.

    "Children of a Lesser god" allows you to think, feel, and experience the things all good movies should. I highly recommend it...Matlin gives an awe-inspiring performance, 100% deserving of the Oscar she won for it. William Hurt balances the entire film, a feat which perhaps made him even more deserving of an Academy Award. All-in-all, if you want to watch a movie that tackles the timeless and immortal themes of love, communication, our relationship to the world, our relationship to our significant other, and most importantly our relationship to ourselves, I highly recommend this film. It will move you to tears.
  • There are certain minorities that are not often represented in films, and the deaf is one of these groups. It is fascinating to watch this film, as it provides an insight into working with the deaf, and trying to make it so they can cope in a world full of noises. William Hurt gives off a very naturalistic performance, managing to add eccentricity to his role without overdoing it, and his acting also includes having to sign naturally. Even though it seems like an audience pleaser to have him translate out loud everything that Marlee Matlin is saying, it is still a credible performance. Matlin is also very good, deaf in real life, and she won an Oscar for her role. The film is let down however by the choice of a generic plot structure. The impending character relationships and storyline are very predictable, although the screenplay has some interesting ideas to keep it afloat. A lot of the film is concerned with being able to accept a person for who he or she is, and whether one should adjust one's ways or having others adjust for them. It is a good film, and has careful sound mixing work too. Matlin's constant anger is perhaps not realistic, and it is very easy to see where the film is going, but these points do not stop it from being effective viewing and good film-making in general.
  • When I first saw this movie I knew only the hand alphabet, but this movie made me want to learn more. After years of picking up bits here and there I am amazed at how well William Hurt used signs. Personally I think basic sign language should be taught in all schools. This is a very touching love story and I never get tired of seeing it. James is not perfect as the teacher trying to deaf students to speak. He makes many mistakes, but you can see how he cares very much. The love he has for Sarah is very real. I felt so sorry for Sarah but I also knew that she was a survivor. I would love to have that kind of strength. I have seen Marlee Matlin in lots of things since this and she is definitely a great actor.
  • Yes, this is a love story about two unusually attractive people but its power comes from Hurt and Matlin's ability to increasingly convey vulnerability and authenticity as they fight to become completely real to each other. Marlee in particular is remarkable in her expressiveness. There is a scene where she watches Hurt while she's in an indoor swimming pool and you only see her eyes over the edge of the pool -- but the depth and variety of what "just those eyes" express!

    Because all of us intuitively know what they are going through as they strip away layer after layer -- who of us hasn't feared exposure of the person we feel the world shouldn't see? -- we are drawn into their revealing their secret selves because we wish we knew who OUR OWN secret self is.

    And the film is funny, engaging, touching, crazy and human!
  • This is one my favorite movies of all time. The quality of the acting leaves me breathless. The scene where Sarah is dancing slowly to a song by the Staples Singers says so much - the tempo is fast and most people were disco dancing or "stepping" to "I'll Take You There." Sarah feels the real underlying slow beat of the music and responds to that. It was a very moving scene.

    Piper Laurie as her mother was phenomenol. Her expressions and body language said so much more than her words. You could tell she really loved Sarah and was frustrated that she didn't really understand her. She also had a little bit of the "bury your head in the sand" approach to Sarah's deafness.

    Sarah was determined to have the world accept her on HER own terms and simply turned her back on it when it did not. Sarah was intelligent, beautiful and fun. She couldn't understand why people seemed to define and categorize her by her deafness. She was so much more than that and William Hurt's (I don't remember his name in the movie) character was sensitive enough to recognize that. His character was a little condescending and pushy, and I can see where he would get on any girl's nerves because he was not a good listener. He wanted Sarah to be the person he though she should be and justified it under his guise of "helping" her to cope in a hearing world. She was smart enough to figure him out and reject his attempt to mold her.

    You could feel Sarah's loneliness in her silent world and you knew that she wanted love, friends and happiness just like the rest of us, but didn't know if she would ever get them.

    I really loved the character and the whole movie. It gave us a brief glimpse into a deaf person's world through some extraordinary scenes: Sarah swimming and describing to William Hurt exactly how she imagined waves sounded, and getting it right; Marian Lesser communicating only in sign language at the party which gave William Hurt's character a chance to see things from another perspective. I think he learned that there is more than one standard way to live and enjoy life and being unable to hear isn't the worst thing that could happen to a person.
  • Hurt is excellent, Laurie and Bosco are outstanding, but Matlin gives one of the most amazing cinematic performances of all time. She is scintillating. The play is even more forceful with her gritty performance that it was with Phyllis Frielich on broadway. The direction makes up what it lacks in imagination with conviction and sincerity. I recommend it highly.
  • "Children of lesser god" is an unique movie. It was the first film directed by a woman (Randa Haines) to be Oscar nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. Marlee Matlin is the youngest ever winner of a Best Actress Oscar. Matlin is also one of only four actresses to win the Best Actress Oscar for a debut film performance. The movie is one if the few movies about people with hearing problems and deafness. The film was the first major motion picture since the 1926 silent film You'd Be Surprised to cast a deaf / hearing impaired actor in a major role. Marlee Matlin has only one spoken line in English during the entire film. The rest of her performance is in American Sign Language.

    The movie is based on critically acclaimed Broadway stage play that was very popular. The playwright Mark Medoff also wrote the screenplay for this movie. The film and source play's "Children of a Lesser God" title is derived from the twelfth chapter of Alfred Lord Tennysons "Idylls of the King" cycle of twelve narrative poems.

    The screenplay is both simple and complex. Hollywood is full of love stories where there isn't really no humor and the drama feels forced. Here it all feels real. It feels like real life. The characters are well written and the conflicts the face are completely natural and believable. It's interesting that the movie starts like one of those movies about inspiring teacher , but slowly turns into wonderful melodrama. There are many scenes involving Hurt's work with the deaf children and they are good , but it's the love story that counts the most. The screenplay rightfully deserved the Oscar nominee.

    The chemistry between Hurt and Matlin is brilliant. It's not strange , because they really felt in love with each other while making "COLG". They even lived together for few months after movie was finished and it's a sad thing that it didn't last. When you watch the movie you can see perhaps the most authentic romance I've ever seen in cinema.

    Marlee Matlin is spectacular in here. You could say it's a kind of cheat for deaf person to play def person. It doesn't change the fact that she is wonderful . I've never thought that a sound of hand clapping other hand might be chilling (watch the movie – you will know what scene I'm talking about). Matlin is able to say so much with her hands or face . The only time she speaks it's truly heartbreaking.

    William Hurt is in the shadow of Matlin , since he got the less interesting role. Still , he is great. He always was a master of subtlety and this movie is no exception. His character also changes and suffers during the movie. His also one of the best inspirational teachers in history of cinema.

    Piper Laurie has not too much screen time , but beautifully makes a complex character of Sarah's mother. In hands of less skilled actress it would be a cliché character and trivial performance . Laurie gives the audience a character who isn't black or white and quite possible the one they could relate to the most.

    The movie is very well directed by Randa Haines , which is surprising since it's her movie debut. Yet she never allows the movie to be too sentimental or manipulative with the viewer's emotions. The mix of humor and drama is perfect. The movie is also quite well photographed, the beauty of New Brunswick coast makes you wanna go there.

    Some people are complaining that the movie is too noisy for a film about deafness , that there aren't any scenes that use silence. I don't really see a need for that. The use of sign language feels natural here. The subtitles would be distracting in my opinion. The movie does justice to deaf people portraying them as real people with ambitions , passions and desires , not like poor cripples.

    This is a beautiful movie about acceptance , finding yourself and emotional growth. This is what love should be. Find out if the world of sound and world of silence can meet. I give it 9/10.
  • I enjoyed this movie because I understood, at least in part, the need for isolation as a defence against the world. I also believe that one can find someone to share the silence and it is that that makes being vulnerable worth it. Life can have a harmony of two together if you are willing to give it your all.
  • William Hurt plays a speech therapist, James Leeds, a gifted teacher. His success in his field has not prevented him from being an egotist, anddisrespecting other cultures.

    Marlee Matlin plays a Deaf woman, Sarah Lee, who's damaging family experience has caused her to become so angry that even though she is an intelligent, sassy, sensual, independent woman, she prefers to mop floors in her old school.

    Sarah is contrasted with the other Deaf people who are working on their speech. Although he signs, James is highly dogmatic about the primary necessity of speech. The other Deaf people come across as disabled in comparison, their speech flawed compared to Sarah's eloquent and expressive signing. Their vocabulary is basic; in one scene their attempt at signing delights the hearing audience as they imagine the Deaf kids getting closer to being "normal".

    James falls in love with Sarah's strong and commanding personality, but paradoxically still treats her in a patronising way, aiming to "improve" her by working on her speech. It becomes a battle of wills between them as Sarah seeks to have autonomy over her preferred medium of communication.

    Even so, the dynamic of the relationship spurs Sarah on beyond the narrow horizons of her menial job.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The worst thing about "Children of a Lesser God" is its title, which sounds impressive but has no real meaning and is never explained in the film itself. I presume that the implication is that because handicapped people are often discriminated against in society they must be the creations of a lesser god rather than of a greater one. (Some very odd theology involved there). I preferred the German title, "Gottes Vergessene Kinder" ("God's Forgotten Children").

    In form the film is a simple love story; boy meets girl, boy and girl (after an initial period of dislike) fall in love, girl leaves boy, boy and girl get back together again. The setting is a specialist school for the deaf in New Brunswick, Canada. The boy and girl involved are James Leeds, one of the teachers, and Sarah Norman, a former pupil who now works as a janitor at the school. Unlike some of the other pupils, who have some residual hearing, Sarah is profoundly deaf; she has never learnt to speak or to read lips, and relies on sign language as her only method of communication.

    Sarah is obviously intelligent, and James cannot understand why she chooses to remain in such a humble job. He believes that if he can teach her to speak and to lip-read she will be able to compete in the hearing world. Sarah, however, does not want to be a part of that world, from which she feels isolated behind a wall of silence. The hearing world will not deal with her on her terms, so she will not deal with it on its terms. She knows she will never be able to speak as well as a hearing person, and her pride will not allow her to attempt anything unless she knows she will be able to do it well. The story tells of James's attempts to break through that wall of silence into Sarah's world, and also to overcome his own preconceptions about deaf people.

    William Hurt- who had to learn sign language for his role- is very good as James, but the real star of the film, and the reason why I have given it such a high mark, is the beautiful Marlee Matlin. Marlee is herself deaf, and speaks only very briefly in the film. Virtually the whole of her performance is delivered in American Sign Language. Sign languages are sometimes wrongly thought of as being codes for spoken languages, with every sign corresponding to a spoken word, but this is not the case. According to those linguists who have studied them, they are fully-fledged languages in their own right, with their own vocabulary and complex rules of grammar. American Sign Language, for example, is quite different from, and not mutually intelligible with, British Sign Language, even though the two countries share a single spoken language.

    The film does not use subtitles to translate Sarah's signs; instead, James provides a spoken interpretation for her and for some of the other students. I cannot understand American Sign Language, but it was obvious from watching Marlee's wonderfully fluent gestures that it is a language capable of conveying not only basic meanings but also feelings and emotions. Her performance is something unique in the history of the cinema; the only thing I can compare it to is Jodie Foster's equally remarkable performance in "Nell" from a few years later, in which she plays a young woman who is unable to speak English and can only speak an unknown, private, language. Marlee won an Oscar for this, her first film; she was, and remains, the youngest-ever winner of the "Best Actress" award.

    The film itself was nominated for "Best Film" but did not win; 1986 was a good year in the cinema, and it was up against some very strong opposition. ("Platoon", which did win, is probably my least favourite of the five films that were nominated). It is, however, an excellent film; I have always been surprised that Randa Haines made so few films subsequently. 9/10
  • When I saw this movie; Children of a Lesser God in 1986. I didn't watch in 1986, I watch later, like in the early 1990's to 2000. The movie itself has produced when I was not born. Naturally, u know obviously I'm a teenage. It is really unbelievable of how the first deaf female actor has won the awards, whom named Marlee Matlin. Myself, I already met Marlee Matlin in one of the deaf school in the United States.

    So when I watched the movie the actress, Marlee Matlin has struck me very hard, because it is hard to believe that Marlee has the led of opens to deaf world that kind of opportunity for all deaf people to access to turn to an actor or actress. Her acting in the Children of a Lesser God were surely very excellent and beautiful sign language. As all of people know that Sign Language is the most beautiful language of all language. Marlee Matlin has really show me that she work hard into the movie, it would be definitely hard to communication other actors. But she made it, that really show how courage she is.

    It was shocking that she took place for movies at one of the deaf school in the United States, probably in Chicago, Illinois. I could see other deaf actors and actress really involved in the movie and they act really outstanding. It is unbelievable explanation into the movie. I can tell that William Hurt; the actor who was interpreted the sign language from Marlee Matlin is a lot of work. He has to understand sign language and talk all the signs that Marlee has signed. I am sure that William Hurt would lost his mouth, when he talk a lot, I can't talk that long. I think it is wonderful that he does the work, it seems like he has a lot of respect to deaf community. It is really struck, when William Hurt tried to force Marlee Matlin to speak. I can understand of how deaf people, who has no idea how to talk, they will get forced to speak, they will be definitely like Marlee Matlin, they will be like speechless. I have that kind of feeling sometimes.

    Myself, I have watch it again and again, the movie really hits me bad, it is too good movie. I will say to this movie an rate between 1 to 10. I will give this movie an 10. I would like to watch it again, yo u all too..the movie really show how deaf people are like. Deaf people can do anything, except hear.
  • I was reading some reviews and why do people think this was a boring movie? This was a big time love story and had wonderful moments. William Hurt gave the performance of his career. And this movie won in the best actress category. Need to watch a slow paced love movie see this one.
  • Oh, I loved this movie! What a wonderful romance through the barriers of language! Marlee Matlin is wonderful, and William's singing is really good. Watch with someone you love and appreciate your relationship even more, also pay attention to the words and ways that Hurt looks at her, so romantic!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Children of a Lesser God is a sensitive love story about James, a speech teacher who moves to a new deaf school and falls for introverted Sarah, a former student who decided to stay in the school because she can't relate with people.

    This movie is basically a story about overcoming the difficulties of communication between two people, but it's never that simple since Sarah has one of the strongest and most defensive personalities ever seen in a movie.

    As a deaf person, Sarah decided to rely on sex to gain men's affections and so can't commit to a meaningful relationship. She also fears James will treat her like everyone else always has. It's up to him to prove her wrong.

    William Hurt and Marlee Matlin are both perfect in this movie. The '80s were a great decade for Hurt, and he was already riding on the success of his previous Oscar victory. One could only expect a great performance from him. It's Matlin who's the revelation here, conveying her personality through body language and sign language. She proved that acting has nothing to do with words and deserve the Oscar for this performance.

    This movie is slow, sometimes dull, but for those with patience, it'll be quite rewarding on an emotional level.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Despite its apparent incursion into the groundbreaking and the unusual, CHILDREN OF A LESSER GOD (and its God-awful title) is just another way of telling a story that is as perfunctory as the oldest love story you would find in any category romance section. The addition of a disability and the doctor's verve in introducing a New Way into a stagnant school is really no more than salad dressing -- by avoiding the real situation, Marlee Matlin's disability, and having William Hurt verbalize her emotions and her needs, we get only a fifty per cent of the picture and the story loses all of its punch. A much different picture, BABEL, presented a girl, Chieko, who was also a deaf-mute and needed to connect with Someone. With limited screen time, her story was the most memorable of the quartet, her lone cry as she let loose her pent-up feelings in front of a young detective who seemed to understand her loneliness as he recoiled in horror at the fact that she was a girl, plain and simple, and he couldn't take advantage of her, was something that has haunted me since. In CHILDREN OF A LESSER GOD, Matlin also screams in rage, but by then, her emotions, her language -- everything about her -- has been spelled out to the public by Hurt's condescending manner that it muddles her own suffering. Yes, she goes through a lot; yes, she's so bottled up in her own baggage that any letting go, any real trust, becomes a litmus test. I think that the main problem with this badly titled movie is the time when it was made. Had it been done today, with today's production values, it would have been a much more rewarding experience, and the love story, as nearly impossible and daunting, would have really resonated. However, it's an okay movie that even with the large amount of faults within its fabric, should be seen.
  • I first seen this movie just after I met my girlfriend. I was the most brilliant movie I ever seen. I wasn't a fan of romantic movies but after I seen it, I got quite fond of them. William, how great was he in that flick? This was his second of four Oscar nominations. I gotta say that was his best role in his career so far. I haven't seen A History of Violence or Kiss of the Spider Woman yet. With those two it just might change. All in all, he did a great job in that movie. It just solidified me as a William Hurt fan. Marlee Matlin was unbelievable. To me, she is tied with Kathleen Turner for the best Oscar nominated performance of 1986. Piper Laurie was insane in there also. It was awesome to see her trying to be the good mother she never was to her daughter. Overall, this movies changed my perception about romance movies.
  • So, this movie has been hailed, glorified, and carried to incredible heights. But in the end what is it really? Many of the ways in which it has been made to work for a hearing audience on the screen do not work. The fairly academic camera work keeps the signing obfuscated, and scenes that are in ASL are hard to follow as a result even for someone who is relatively fluent. The voice interpretation of Matlin's dialogue, under the excuse that Hurt's character "likes the sound of his voice", turns her more and more into a weird distant object as the film goes on. Matlin does shine in the few scenes where her signing is not partially hidden from view. But nonetheless, most of the movie, when this is a love story, is only showed from a single point of view, that of the man. As Ebert said, "If a story is about the battle of two people over the common ground on which they will communicate, it's not fair to make the whole movie on the terms of only one of them."

    The idea that an oralist teacher who uses methods that have been imposed in many deaf schools for decades would be presented as "revolutionary" is fairly insulting in itself. His character becomes weakened as a credible teacher as the movie goes on. Drawing comedy from a deaf accent is, quite honestly, rather low. And his attitude towards the male students of his class is pretty symptomatic of how he seems to act with women: as an entitled man. A party scene involving a number of deaf people including a few academics meeting together leaves him seemingly isolated, in a way that's fairly inconsistent with his credentials: I have seen interpreters spontaneously switch to asl between each other even when they weren't aware of a deaf person being in the area, and yet somehow he feels like a fish out of the water in an environment his education should have made him perfectly used to. As a lover, he seems like a typical dogged nice guy, including his tendency to act possessively afterwards. And yet the movie is, indeed, only really seen through him, as everything his lover says is filtered through his voice.

    The scenes involving the other deaf kids are, in general, wallbangers. The broken symbolism fails, the dance scene, the pool scene, even the initial sleep scene which is supposed to carry some of it - all these scenes that try to hint at the isolation of the deaf main character are broken metaphors, at best: many hearing people I know do dance on the bass beats that deaf people feel (instead of squirming like copulating chihuahuas), and going to take an evening dive for a hearing person is rarely an excuse to make a deep statement on the isolation of deafness (no, seriously, when I go swim, I go swim)...

    It also fails at carrying the end of the play, instead making it a story of a deaf woman who submits to a strong man. Even though the original play ended with a more equal ground, where both have to accept each other as they are, and where he has to finally recognize her real voice is the movement of her hands, not the vibrations in her throat.

    And for all the breakthrough that it may have seemed to be, Marlee Matlin remains Hollywood's token deaf woman to this day.
  • Everyone agrees that the acting, directing and photography In Children of a Lesser God was superb. One fatal flaw prevented it from being one of the best big-screen love stories ever: it is that we understand Sarah's signing through James' convenient habit of repeating aloud everything she says.

    This may work (and is, of course, absolutely necessary on the stage) but in the film it is often awkward and strained. More importantly, the dynamic between Sarah's silence and James' sound is the central element of the story. The screen being a visual medium, this could have been developed powerfully through subtitles. The interplay between Matlin's eloquent signing and Hurt's resonant voice would have been a stunning cinematic effect. The silver screen could have told the story better than the stage because it allows the artists to tell the story of two characters with different modes of communication, without having to restrict itself to one mode only.

    The main disadvantage of this strategy would have been commercial. American audiences don't like subtitles. Thus it would have gotten bad reviews and performed poorly at the box office--but would have been spectacular as art, and possibly cleaned up at the Academy Awards.

    From an artistic perspective, the disadvantage would have been our need to glance at subtitles, which would distract us somewhat from the fluent signing and facial histrionics that earned Matlin an Academy Award. But this deficit would be minimized by the fact that in many exchanges, subtitles were not necessary, and Hurt's vocal translation would have been acceptable in others.

    I think the story would have been far more convincing if Sarah had been allowed to speak for herself.
  • BreanneB9 November 2005
    Warning: Spoilers
    I've had this movie for a few years now and finally thought up the perfect comment. It's excellent, 10 out of 10 stars. Marlee Matlin and William Hurt are excellent. Iam taking an American Sign Language class. I also have a deaf friend who also goes to my school.

    Not only was it cool watching deaf people lead normal lives but also the romance between Sara and James. I think they made a really great couple. I felt really bad for Sara, that people took advantage of her. Also, that it hurt her to see other deaf people talk. I really liked the part at the end when they really fall in love.

    Kudos to the cast, crew and filmmakers. Two Thumbs Way Up! Hoorah.
  • This is a film that really needed to be made, giving the "hearing" population a glimpse into not only the physical world of deaf and hard-of-hearing persons, but their emotional world, as well. This is not to imply that all hearing-impaired persons react identically, nor even similarly, to their limitation, but, as we see in the film, the conditions of the person's life, both inner and outer, are significantly altered by the deprivation of this sense.

    An important aspect of deafness is addressed in Children of a Lesser God: That of the psychological/emotional impact of those who verbally and physically abuse and neglect hearing-impaired persons. We see Sarah (and some current students) locked int their own world, to varying extents, refusing to communicate or even try. Sarah explains her avoidance and hostility at one point, describing childhood scenes when she was mocked and derided by her "hearing" peers.

    Her courage (and the very fire that breeds her hostility) enables and impels her to communicate (in no uncertain terms). Other, current students of the school are not so brave nor lucky: Some refuse to communicate even by sign language, and we can easily assume that this avoidant behavior is the direct result of not the disability, but the resultant abuse (including condescention) and neglect from family, "friends" and other members of society.

    Marlee Martin does an incredible job of acting, communicating her thoughts and feelings with just a look. If only the director had given John Leeds the responsiveness to be able to interpret Sarah's messages in her eyes, body language, etc., then the film could have been even better.

    Instead, Leeds often stands dumbfounded, not particularly intuitive, nor deep, nor complex. It is this deeper level of engagement that is missing from Hurt's acting, and from the script, in-general.

    When Leeds asks Sarah, "Who are you?", after having known her for quite some time, it is his own failure and shallowness that is illuminated. Sarah makes every effort to reveal as much of herself as she can. I am not certain that William Hurt had the chops for this role.

    One scene I wish had been done differently: That scene when John and Sarah are at his home, and he lays down to listen to some classical music: His relentless tension, deeply-ingrained rigidity and seriousness prevent him from allowing him to enjoy both Sarah's company, and the music, at the same time.

    He is completely at a loss of how to communicate anything of the music to her. He should have shown her the sheet music, and somehow illustrated the music, pointing to the notes and rests, revealing the flow (tempo) of it to her as it plays. This man seems frozen in some sort of selfishness and convention (even though he's been to all of the best schools).

    I commend the acting of the students of the school. If these persons are, in-fact, hearing-impaired, then it took great courage to break past the fears and antipathies that separate the "hearing" persons from those who have a hearing impairment. The direction was done in a manner that the dignity of all was maintained. Even the principal was shown to not be a monster of rigidity, and I appreciate the director's stepping outside of the standard formula in this regard.

    Children of a Lesser God is an important movie. The movies I consider important, I can count on both hands. If you want to broaden your world, watch it.
  • James (William Hurt) is a new speech teacher at a school for the deaf. He falls for Sarah (Marlee Matlin), a pupil who decided to stay on at the school rather than venture into the big bad world. She shuns him at first, refusing to read his lips and only using signs. Will her feelings change over time? Every so often a different sort of love story comes along. This is one of those, featuring a deaf woman and a man who wants to be her teacher (and more). It is interesting, and one has to wonder how deaf people react to it. Is this a compassionate and understanding film, or is it exploiting the deaf community? Certainly it seems that the intentions were good.

    Marlee Matlin is excellent, and it's nice to see she was honored for her role. I mean, I guess it's not a huge stretch to play a deaf woman, but it was probably an emotional role for her, knowing she was representing a great many people.
  • Children of the Lesser God is a love story, but before the grumbling begins, it is not your typical love story. The film has the pleasure of it's main female lead actress and character being deaf, though that does not impair her ability to fall in love. I love how the movie is very warm and funny, as well as the ability to engage the audience. The film is about courage and the strength to not lot anything stand in the way of happiness. I can actually relate to the movie because I have hearing problems myself, though not nearly as bad. This is a beautiful, well- written film that displays a vast amount of authenticity.

    This film is about a young speech teacher named James who falls in love with one of his pupils, Sarah. But she shuns him at first because she feels he is making fun of her disability. But as they spend more time together, Sarah begins to have feelings for James whom reopens her eyes to the world.

    William Hurt does a very strong job as James as he made another 80's movie that featured a strong performance of his. However, the award of best performance has to go to Marlee Matlin who played Sarah. Her powerful performance, which gave her the Oscar, shows that strong performances can be given without words. It's all about the heart.

    Overall, Children of a Lesser God is a fantastic movie and is one of those hidden 80's movies that you should check out. The movie starts a little slow, but the acting and the screenplay are excellent. The movie always keep things light, which is good for this kind of subject matter. The film may be a love story, but it's a different kind of love story.

    My Grade: A
  • Marlee Matlin may have taken home Oscar gold for "Children of a Lesser God" (and she deserved it) but I really do have a newfound respect for William Hurt after watching this. Using Matlin's singing as a comparison, you can tell that he really put in the time to learn sign language for the role. And he has the largely thankless role of interpreting both characters during dialogue scenes. I dunno, I just liked him very much here; he was a great teacher, very sympathetic, and integral in the film's sincerity.

    And if you can get past that oppressive sore, this is overall a great romantic drama.

  • James Leeds (William Hurt) is the new speech therapist at a school for the deaf. He has limited signing skills and is intrigued by Sarah Norman (Marlee Matlin). She was the school's most promising student but she is now the school's janitor. He tries to teach her to speak but she rejects him. She is filled with anger but eventually she allows him into her world.

    It's the acting debut for Marlee Matlin and it's the first time I watched deaf acting. It was a revelation because she gives it so much emotions. She's doing acting like the old silent stars. It's amazing how visceral the fights become. It's a relatively simple romance but it's the signing that is so important. It broke down barriers at the time and literally gave cinema a new visual language.
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