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Representation on film is important as it’s one of the ways in which we see ourselves reflected in society and it helps us to discover and develop our identity. It’s also nice to see stories that are about us, people we know and the issues with which we’re most familiar. Here are seven films which present characters and actors dealing with hearing loss and associated issues and themes.

Children of a Lesser God

William Hurt is the new speech instructor at a New England school for people with hearing loss. He begins to fall for an ex student who has chosen to stay on at school to work as part of the custodial staff, rather than leave and face the world. Marlee Matlin stars as Sarah, who has captured the teacher’s heart even while she refuses to read his lips and continues to shuns his advances. Matlin, who is deaf in real life, won a Best Actress Academy Award for her portrayal of the emotionally withdrawn Sarah.

Mr Holland’s Opus

Richard Dreyfuss is Glenn Holland, a frustrated musician and composer who has taken a job teaching music at a school while he follows his dream of using his spare time to write an unforgettable composition and leave his mark on the music world. As the years pass, Holland teaches a generation of students and uses music and sign language to connect to his deaf son, Cole. This moving tale represents the impact one life and one dream can have on the lives of many.

Noise

Noise is an Australian film set in the inner-west Melbourne suburb of Sunshine. Brendan Cowell plays a police Constable who has requested light duties due to his severe tinnitus. On the night shift, he finds himself thrust into a murder investigation where he needs to protect a witness and hunting down a killer before they strike again.

The Quiet

Dot, a deaf and mute teenager whose father has just died, is forced to live with her godparents and their teen daughter Nina. While Dot may be silent, the dark secrets of this seemingly ordinary family home are not.

Congo

Based on a novel by Michael Crichton, this modern throwback to the adventure stories of old, features dark jungles, ancient cities buried beneath years of overgrowth, and specially bred inhuman warriors protecting a hidden fortune. The team of intrepid explorers also includes a gorilla that’s been trained to speak with sign language.

See No Evil, Hear No Evil

Dave is deaf, Wally is blind and together they witness a murder. Comedic duo, Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder reteam for another hilarious onscreen pairing.

La Famille Bélier (The Bélier Family)

In rural France, teenage Paula acts as the interpreter for her parents and younger brother who all have hearing loss. After Paula signs up for music class, because of a boy, her teacher discovers she has an amazing voice and musical ability and she is forced to struggle between her desires and the needs of her family. This sweet, French film is now playing in selected cinemas.

Further Topics

Celebrities Living With Hearing Loss
7 Tips For Listening To Music Safely
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