Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Review of The Silent Child

A short (20 minutes), Oscar-winning film about a deaf child in a middle-class family, who is not treated with much compassion and understanding by her not-unkind but busy parents.

It's polemical and very well done - almost made me think 'why can't all films be this short and acute?'

The busy-ness of the motheris acidly depicted. Although it's very short, the film doesn't feel hurried at all, and there are some very clever short portraying of time passing and the developing relationship between the BSL-using language therapist and the child.

There were things I didn't much like. The busy mother is definitely presented as responsible person, if not the actual villain, of the film; she's the one who is inappropriately busy, she's the one who makes (or at any rate communicates) the bad decision to stop the therapist from continuing to teach the child to sign...and there is some suggestion that there is a relationship (divine punishment?) between the child's deafness and her marital infidelity. In some ways it's a very modern film with a very 1950s sub-text. It's noticeable, too, that though this is an 'ordinary' family, wanting to prepare their child for an ordinary local school, the house that they live in is practically a mansion.

But it's a good and powerful film, with a really strong message that is effectively conveyed.

Watched on BBC iPlayer.

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