Children Of A Lesser God (1986)

RANDA HAINES

Bil’s rating (out of 5):   BBBB

USA, 1986.  Paramount Pictures.  Screenplay by , , based on the play by Mark Medoff.  Cinematography by .  Produced by , .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

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)

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