7.2/10
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67 user 29 critic

Children of a Lesser God (1986)

A new speech teacher at a school for the deaf falls in love with the janitor, a deaf woman speechless by choice.

Director:

Randa Haines

Writers:

Mark Medoff (stage play), Hesper Anderson (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Won 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

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

Having taught at the best institutions in the country aside from other more eclectic jobs, James Leeds, with progressive methods, has just started teaching at a school for the deaf on an island off the New England coast, he assigned primarily to a speech class for the upper grades. At the school, he quickly notices the young cleaning woman, who he learns is twenty-five year old Sarah Norman and who, deaf herself, was once a student there and has been there since the age of five. He can see that she is bright, headstrong and angry, on top of which she doesn't speak, the latter issues a result of a troubled home life, her mother, her only touchstone to family, who she has purposefully not seen in eight years. As he is able to get through to most of his students to feel more and more comfortable in speaking for a more holistic life, Jim, with the reluctant blessing of the school's superintendent Dr. Curtis Franklin, who has always and still considers Sarah a proverbial pain in the ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Love has a language all of its own. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Release Date:

31 October 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Te amaré en silencio See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$10,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,909,084, 5 October 1986

Gross USA:

$31,853,080

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$31,853,080
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film opened at number 5 at the North American box office with an opening weekend gross of $1,909,084. The film stayed in the Top 10 for eight weeks and grossed a total of $31,853,080 in North America. See more »

Goofs

The DVD back lists a main character as "John" Leeds, when the name should be "JAMES" Leeds. 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

Features Some Like It Hot (1959) See more »

Soundtracks

Isn't It Romantic
by Lorenz Hart & Richard Rodgers
See more »

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User Reviews

 
What Movies Were Meant To Be
15 January 2003 | by gwithersSee all my reviews

This is one my favorite movies of all time. The quality of the acting leaves me breathless. The scene where Sarah is dancing slowly to a song by the Staples Singers says so much - the tempo is fast and most people were disco dancing or "stepping" to "I'll Take You There." Sarah feels the real underlying slow beat of the music and responds to that. It was a very moving scene.

Piper Laurie as her mother was phenomenol. Her expressions and body language said so much more than her words. You could tell she really loved Sarah and was frustrated that she didn't really understand her. She also had a little bit of the "bury your head in the sand" approach to Sarah's deafness.

Sarah was determined to have the world accept her on HER own terms and simply turned her back on it when it did not. Sarah was intelligent, beautiful and fun. She couldn't understand why people seemed to define and categorize her by her deafness. She was so much more than that and William Hurt's (I don't remember his name in the movie) character was sensitive enough to recognize that. His character was a little condescending and pushy, and I can see where he would get on any girl's nerves because he was not a good listener. He wanted Sarah to be the person he though she should be and justified it under his guise of "helping" her to cope in a hearing world. She was smart enough to figure him out and reject his attempt to mold her.

You could feel Sarah's loneliness in her silent world and you knew that she wanted love, friends and happiness just like the rest of us, but didn't know if she would ever get them.

I really loved the character and the whole movie. It gave us a brief glimpse into a deaf person's world through some extraordinary scenes: Sarah swimming and describing to William Hurt exactly how she imagined waves sounded, and getting it right; Marian Lesser communicating only in sign language at the party which gave William Hurt's character a chance to see things from another perspective. I think he learned that there is more than one standard way to live and enjoy life and being unable to hear isn't the worst thing that could happen to a person.


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