Children of a Lesser God (1986)

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Starring: Marlee Matlin (her film debut), William Hurt, Piper Laurie, Philip Bosco

Director: Randa Haines (her first feature film)

Summary: A teacher at a school for the deaf falls for a deaf custodian

Other Nominations: Actor (Hurt), Actress (Matlin)*, Supporting Actress (Laurie), Adapted Screenplay

I enjoyed this one quite a bit. It’s briskly paced while still getting all the information it needs to across, and there’s great chemistry between Matlin and Hurt-that the two had a relationship in real life after the movie (even if it eventually ended badly) doesn’t surprise me. Matlin does a wonderful job of getting everything across just with body language and facial expressions. That she’s the youngest Best Actress winner at age 21 just makes her performance ever more remarkable. The characters grow and play off each other in ways that feel logical, when each character is being unreasonable, the movie calls them out on it. I would say it gets sappy in the last 20 minutes or so however. Also, ”hip teacher reaches students through untraditional methods” movies really were all the rage in the 80s and 90s (Dead Poets Society, Stand and Deliver and Dangerous Minds just off the top of my head).

It never really touched me emotionally, which is the sign of a great romance movie, but even so it’s still a really good movie that could have gone wrong in so many ways but mostly avoids all the pitfalls and delivers an intelligent romance movie

Rating: B+

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