Children of a Lesser God (1986)

A love beyond words.

Blu-ray, 1h 59min
Rating: 7.2
Votes: 14191
Languages: English, American Sign Language
Country: USA
Director: Randa Haines

Plot outline

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

Personal notes

302

Plots

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

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 you-know-where, tries to get Sarah to learn how to speak so that she can reach her full potential beyond being a cleaning woman, which he will further learn is a choice if only as it allows her to live her life somewhat in solitude in her silence and anger. Although unable to break through to her on the speaking side of the equation, he is able to break through on a more humanistic level as they end up falling for each other eventually to embark on a relationship. The question then becomes if there is the possibility of a long term future for them, especially in being able to bridge their many divides - not only the divide between the world of the hearing and the deaf - and in Sarah never having had a sense of who she truly is as a complete human being and not just the deaf girl who may now see what Jim is doing as solely his latest "project". - Huggo

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? - Colin Tinto