7.2/10
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63 user 36 critic

Children of a Lesser God (1986)

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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 »

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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

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:

A love beyond words. 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, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$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 story takes place in New England but the filmed entirely in Canada. 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

Featured in The 44th Annual Golden Globe Awards (1987) See more »

Soundtracks

Jump (For My Love)
by Marti Sharron, Stephen Mitchell (as Steven Mitchell) & Gary Skardina
Performed by The Pointer Sisters
Courtesy of RCA Records
See more »

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User Reviews

A film about hearing oppression of Deafness
6 November 1999 | by BlackBirdSee 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.


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