Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA, 1986. Paramount Pictures. Screenplay by Hesper Anderson, Mark Medoff, based on the play by Mark Medoff. Cinematography by John Seale. Produced by Patrick J. Palmer, Burt Sugarman. Music by Michael Convertino. Production Design by Gene Callahan. Costume Design by Renee April. Film Editing by Lisa Fruchtman.
William Hurt goes to work at a school for deaf children and befriends a young janitor (Marlee Matlin) who was once a pupil there. Getting to know her, he realizes she has been avoiding the outside world from fear, and through their friendship and eventual love affair, they give each other much in the way of confidence and emotional awakening. Piper Laurie is fantastic in a small role as Matlin’s emotionally restricted mother, who finally comes to grips with the ways in which she failed as the mother to a hearing-impaired child. Hurt is his usual colourless self, while Matlin does quite an impressive job with the role; to be fair, she got better later on, even if Hollywood never really had enough work for her to show off in. An emotionally satisfying, deeply felt experience, and one of the bigger dramatic successes of the eighties.
Academy Award: Best Actress (Marlee Matlin)
Nominations: Best Picture; Best Actor (William Hurt); Best Supporting Actress (Piper Laurie); Best Adapted Screenplay
Berlin Film Festival Award: Best Artistic Contribution
Golden Globe Award: Best Actress-Drama (Marlee Matlin)
Nominations: Best Picture-Drama; Best Actor-Drama (William Hurt)