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Your summer must watch movies and documentaries

Contributed by | Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

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If summer days are meant for fun and sun, then summer nights are best for watching a good film. We’ve compiled a list of movies and documentaries featuring deaf or hearing-impaired actors or subject matter, so get comfy; there's a title on this list suitable for every member of the family.

Family-oriented films

hearing loss movies
"Mr. Holland's Opus" follows the
story of a teacher who uses music
to connect with his students, but
in turn has trouble connecting 
with his deaf son. 

"Mr. Holland’s Opus" (1996)

Rating: PG

Richard Dreyfuss, Glenne Headly, Olympia Dukakis

Aspiring musician Glenn Holland (Richard Dreyfuss) has no trouble connecting with the students he teaches during his 30-year career as a music teacher – but forging a relationship with his deaf son is a completely different story.

"The Miracle Worker" (2000)

Hallie Kate Eisenberg, Alison Elliott, David Strathairn

In this Disney remake, Hallie Kate Eisenberg portrays Helen Keller, an Alabama girl who lost her sight and hearing after an early childhood illness. Alison Elliott plays Anne Sullivan, Helen’s teacher, who separates her from her over-protective parents and teaches her sign language. The movie is based on William Gibson’s Broadway play.

"Beyond Silence" (1996)

Rating: G

Sylvie Testud, Tatjana Trieb, Howie Seago

German dialogue, English subtitles

Lara, a young hearing girl with two deaf parents, finds herself at a crossroads when she falls in love with the clarinet and must decide whether or not to pursue her musical talent on a bigger stage.

"Crazy Moon" (1987)

Rating: PG-13

Kiefer Sutherland, Vanessa Vaughan

Closed Captioned

When a quirky teenager decides to steal a mannequin from a clothing store, he becomes attracted to a deaf girl who works there. The story follows their relationship, as each learns from the other’s strengths and weaknesses.

"Amy" (1981)

Rating: PG-13

Jenny Agutter, Barry Newman, Kathleen Nolan

Jenny Agutter plays a young housewife in the early 1900s who leaves her comfortable lifestyle to teach sight and hearing-impaired students. Produced by Disney studios and featuring deaf actors in student roles.

For mature audiences

"Children of a Lesser God" (1986)

Rating: R

Marlee Matlin, William Hurt, Philip Bosco

Marlee Matlin won a Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of a deaf custodian who falls in love with a renegade speech teacher (William Hurt) in a small, New England school for the deaf.

"The Quiet" (2005)

Rating: R

Camilla Belle, Edie Falco, Martin Donovan

A captivating thriller about a deaf teenager who moves in with her godparents when her widowed father dies. Although their daughter is openly hostile, it doesn’t prevent her from telling her secrets to her deaf stepsister – including her plans to kill her lecherous father.

"Johnny Belinda" (1948)

Unrated

Jane Wyman, Lew Ayres, Charles Bickford

Belinda (Jane Wyman) leads a lonely existence on her father’s farm in Nova Scotia until a doctor (Lew Ayres) arrives in town and takes a special interest. When he teaches her sign language, she learns how to communicate with others.

"Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance" (2002)

Rating: R

Song Kang-hu, Shin Ha-kyun, DooNa Bae

When Ryu, a deaf man, is laid off from work, he is forced to kidnap his boss’ daughter and hold her for ransom in order to pay for his sister’s kidney transplant.

"A Summer to Remember" (1985)

Not Rated

James Farentino, Louise Fletcher, Sean Gerlis

When young Toby Wyler (Sean Gerlis) is bitter after losing his hearing to meningitis, he finds solace in learning sign language from a highly trained, escaped orangutan named Casey. His parents, played by James Farentino and Louise Fletcher, do not believe his stories.

Documentaries

"Lost and Sound" (2012)

See how three musicians with varying degrees of hearing loss relate to music: a deaf since birth dancer finishing her degree at an elite London dance school, an aspiring pianist with cochlear implants and a middle-age music journalist who suddenly goes deaf in one ear.

"Planet of Snail" (2011)

A touching story of a blind-deaf poet, Young-chan, and his wife, Soo-ho, who suffers from spinal deformity. Filmmaker Yi Seung-jun documents their lives and the struggles they face on a daily basis as they live with their disabilities.

"See What I’m Saying" (2009)

Follow four deaf artists: actor Robert DeMayo, singer T. L. Forsberg, drummer Bob Hiltermann and comic C. J. Jones as they try to cross over into mainstream culture.

"Deaf Jam" (2011)

Filmmaker Judy Lieff chronicles the journey of deaf teenager, Aneta Brodski, as she competes in the U.S. National Poetry Slams for youth using American Sign Language to convey her inner self to hearing audiences.

"Todd Selby x Christine Sun Kim"

Christine Sun Kim is a deaf performance artist working to reclaim the world of sound for herself and Todd Selby is a blind filmmaker. Deaf from birth, Kim used sound as a medium during an artist’s residency in Berlin in 2008. Selby filmed her performance in a Brooklyn studio, which features street sounds from Kim’s Chinatown neighborhood.

"Sound and Fury" (2000)

Follow three generations of the Long Island Artinian family as they work through the controversies surrounding cochlear implant technology. When one set of parents agrees to a cochlear implant for their infant daughter, her older deaf cousin becomes interested in having an implant too, which sparks an argument between the two families.

"Through Deaf Eyes"

A two-hour PBS documentary that explores 200 years of deaf life in America. The film includes interviews with prominent members of the deaf community, including Marlee Matlin and Galludent University president emeritus I. King Jordan.

"Hearing Silence" (2010)

A story of professional flautist Elizabeth Petcu’s struggle to deal with a conductive hearing loss diagnosis after 25 years as a principle flautist with the RTE orchestra.

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