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Children of a Lesser God (1986)

Director:
Randa Haines
COUNTRY
USA
GENRE
Drama/Romance
NORWEGIAN TITLE
Kjśrlighet trenger ingen ord
RUNNING TIME
119 minutes
Producer:
Burt Sugarman
Patrick J. Palmer
Screenwriter:
Hesper Anderson
Mark Medoff


Cast includes:

CHARACTER ACTOR/ACTRESS RATING
James Leeds William Hurt
Sarah Norman Marlee Matlin
Mrs. Norman Piper Laurie
Dr. Curtis Franklin Philip Bosco

 

Review

William Hurt and Marlee Matlin began their volatile real-life relationship prior to commencing shooting for this narratively rather run-of-the-mill romantic drama about a hearing speech teacher (Hurt) who arrives at a school for the deaf and strikes up a relationship with a young deaf custodian and former student of the school (Matlin). And what is most rewarding about Children of a Lesser God is exactly the fiery interplay between Hurt and Matlin, which almost boils over of affection, attraction and frustration. Now, Matlin and particularly Hurt are both fine performers, but there is every reason to believe that the former's eventual Academy Award for the part was helped ashore largely by the emotion she had already invested in Mr. Hurt before the cameras began to roll. Add to that her handicap, which - apart from the strong performances - is the only thing that really sets this story apart. Unfortunately, American audiences' objections to subtitles impair the film's otherwise impressive authenticity; in order for us to understand what the mute Matlee character says when communicating using American Sign Language (ASL), Hurt's character is forced to repeat her every word for us. In addition to appearing ridiculous, this hampers the rhythm of the otherwise forceful exchanges between the two leads, and the film now feels dated - due to this and an utterly horrific musical score by Michael Convertino, whose synthesizers seem to be on a bad acid trip.

 

Copyright © 15.5.2012 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang

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