Monday, October 17, 2005

Children Of A Lesser God

People consider all sorts of films as romantic but not this one – I’m surprised why ??? Maybe what people consider romantic is those mushy films (which I hate absolutely) where people go only to go for a movie and eat popcorns, where they do not want to be inspired, where they do not want to think, where they do not want to be moved, I mean deeply moved since after having been deeply moved you find yourself not much in that candlelight mood, that flippant mood, which so often characterize people “looking for romance”. And considering the number of clumsy and third-rate “romantic comedies” turned out in America on televison as well as on cinema screens, I think of that as the most probable explanation.

But for me this is the most wonderful romantic film. The build up of love between the hero and the heroine leading to the inability of enjoying of some things of one since the other cannot do so( the inability of absorbing himself into Mozart for the instructor to deaf William Hurt since he now loves a deaf girl, Marlee Matlin) is nerve-wracking ! And shouldn’t the greatest of loves be shown as intensely nerve-wracking on screen ? – nerve-wracking to the viewer and possibly to the lovers in the plot themselves.

The whole personality of the instructor is shining through William Hurt, and Marlee Matlin is simply excellent. She’s every inch the obstinate, the self-willed, the imaginative, the emotionally deep, the beautiful, the intelligent , the deaf girl that she is meant to portray. And of course the plot is excellent.

The story’s brilliant, and all the support cast is very able, thus letting not one weakness to creep into the film. The school principal, the other students, and lastly Laurie Piper, everyone’s excellently suitable for their roles. The cinematography is great, especially the underwater one. And the soundtrack also.

But what really uplifts the film into the realm of sublime is the brilliant screenplay and direction, the whole concept in fact of not letting too much of the normal world into the film. Without stifling the viewer, the film manages to come more from the heart of the dumb heroine rather than the hero (the old classic Johnny Belinda had also this difficult characteristic though in a less marked manner – in that Jane Wyman film the effect was achieved more through the camera rather than absence of sound, more through showing vast, flat, beautiful landscapes rather than through the raw vitality of two persons trying to communicate with each other). Most of the talking in the film is through sign language! And to aid the viewer, the hero of course speaks in undertones most of it, but still those sounds of dialogue do not obtrude since the story itself provides that the hero is slow to comprehend sign language while the student is very fast, very able in it. So he is simply talking to himself, interpreting to himself whatever Matlin is saying, and the viewer is the beneficiary. The attempt to keep most of the film in the soundless world of Matlin is excellent and it has surprisingly succeeded without boring the viewer.

One of the best films that I’ve ever seen, and the climax is really excellent. If you haven’t seen it, please see it now.

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