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Children of a Lesser God (1986)

 -  Drama | Romance  -  3 October 1986 (USA)
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 9,784 users  
Reviews: 51 user | 27 critic

James is a new speech teacher at a school for the deaf. He falls for Sarah, a pupil who decided to stay on at the school rather than venture into the big bad world. She shuns him at first, ... See full summary »

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(stage play), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Title: Children of a Lesser God (1986)

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Mrs. Norman
...
Dr. Curtis Franklin
Allison Gompf ...
Lydia
John F. Cleary ...
Johnny
Philip Holmes ...
Glen
Georgia Ann Cline ...
Cheryl
William D. Byrd ...
Danny
Frank Carter Jr. ...
Tony
John Limnidis ...
William
...
Orin
E. Katherine Kerr ...
Mary Lee Ochs
John Basinger ...
Alan Jones
Barry Magnani ...
Tom Schuyler
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Storyline

James is a new speech teacher at a school for the deaf. He falls for Sarah, a pupil who decided to stay on at the school rather than venture into the big bad world. She shuns him at first, refusing to read his lips and only using signs. Will her feelings change over time? Written by Colin Tinto <cst@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Love has a language all of its own.

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Release Date:

3 October 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Children of a Lesser God  »

Box Office

Gross:

$31,853,080 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Initially, Marlee Matlin believed that she was rendered deaf in infancy before the age of two by a bout of roseola infantum or infantile measles but later found out that roseola doesn't cause deafness. In the 1990s, a doctor told her mother that he believed that Matlin had a genetically malformed cochlea, which meant that she could likely hear when she was born but that her hearing receded over the first couple of years of her life. See more »

Goofs

Multiple cars had the license tag "3952" -- a blue Ford and a brown Pontiac. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Dr. Curtis Franklin: This is the most amazing résumé I've ever seen.
James Leeds: I've been with some really good schools. The best.
Dr. Curtis Franklin: All of them. All of the best. One right after another. You've also been with the Lucky Erin Bar and Grill.
James Leeds: Pittsburgh. Bartender.
Dr. Curtis Franklin: And a disc jockey.
James Leeds: Yeah, that was in Oklahoma. I used to broadcast in sign language.
Dr. Curtis Franklin: You've covered all the map, Mr. Leeds.
James Leeds: I've got a lot of energy.
Dr. Curtis Franklin: I'm sure you do have a lot of energy and a lot of new ideas. I did too when...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Thick of It: Episode #3.8 (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

I've Been Loving You Too Long
by Otis Redding & Jerry Butler
Performed by Otis Redding
Courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corporation by arrangement with Warner Special products
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A film about hearing oppression of Deafness
6 November 1999 | by (Bristol, England) – See all my reviews

William Hurt plays a speech therapist, James Leeds, a gifted teacher. His success in his field has not prevented him from being an egotist, anddisrespecting other cultures.

Marlee Matlin plays a Deaf woman, Sarah Lee, who's damaging family experience has caused her to become so angry that even though she is an intelligent, sassy, sensual, independent woman, she prefers to mop floors in her old school.

Sarah is contrasted with the other Deaf people who are working on their speech. Although he signs, James is highly dogmatic about the primary necessity of speech. The other Deaf people come across as disabled in comparison, their speech flawed compared to Sarah's eloquent and expressive signing. Their vocabulary is basic; in one scene their attempt at signing delights the hearing audience as they imagine the Deaf kids getting closer to being "normal".

James falls in love with Sarah's strong and commanding personality, but paradoxically still treats her in a patronising way, aiming to "improve" her by working on her speech. It becomes a battle of wills between them as Sarah seeks to have autonomy over her preferred medium of communication.

Even so, the dynamic of the relationship spurs Sarah on beyond the narrow horizons of her menial job.


6 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Is this the only movie primarily about Deaf people? Abe_Phroman
Film ruined by the score Allie-18
did the actors need to learn to sign?? shortie__9a
ASL or Signed English? Cheer_Cat
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