**SPOILERS BELOW** **SPOILERS BELOW** **SPOILERS BELOW**
Did I just watch "Children of a Lesser God - Part Deux"? Because I could have sworn I saw a very similar theme when I saw CoaLG 20 years ago. Only then (mid-1980s) it was about the idea of "talking", rather than cochlear implants, which were still being developed and tested at that time. But it was still kind of the same movie, only 20 years later. And guess who the deaf woman was in CoaLG? Yep--Marlee Matlin.
Anyway, regarding tonight's offering...Nothing we haven't seen before. A number of movies and TV series episodes in recent years have been devoted to the issue of cochlear implants, and they covered pretty much the same ground shown tonight.
I watched the movie anyway, knowing early on that Hallmark would never be so politically incorrect as to choose a side. I knew that we would never find out if Adam got the implant, or how well it did or didn't work out for him.
Unfortunately, in not picking a side--in an effort to give us as "happy" an ending as possible while not offending any viewers in the pro- or anti-cochlear implant camps--Hallmark drained the movie of whatever impact it might have had on viewers like me.
In fact, I find it highly unsatisfying to lay this enormous issue (of a family divided over the idea of a cochlear implant) on the table and then to cop out at the end by suggesting that "love will find a way". Come on--does anyone really think that the husband won't end up resentful in some way if the son does not have a cochlear implant? Are we supposed to believe that all will be well because apparently the mother and father are "BFFs" (Best Friends Forever)?
I found it interesting that at no time did we get to hear Adam's feelings on getting a CI or on "hearing again". I wonder if, in real life, they don't ask this question of a child who heard previously. Isn't there supposed to be a psychological evaluation of the *child* and his needs as part of the CI candidate selection process?
I'm not suggesting that an 8-year-old knows what's best for himself or should be the decision maker here. It's just that we know that Adam no longer speaks, and usually refuses to when asked. Is it because he can't hear himself talk any more,there's no longer that auditory feedback, and it's all strange, confusing, and somewhat stressful, so he doesn't try? Or is it that when he tried to talk after losing his hearing, his speech deteriorated, and folks looked at him funny, or asked him to repeat, or teased him, or didn't understand him, so that it no longer seemed worthwhile to try talking? If any of these things are true, are they not worthy of consideration in choosing whether or not to go with a cochlear implant?
(I also wondered if another thing contributing to Adam's reluctance to speak was that his school was primarily a signing school. Why bother to try speaking when it's safer and easier to sign? Where's the motivation to really try to develop the desire to talk and to really improve one's speech skills, if everyone's signing? And what does this attitude portend about Adam's future opportunities in a predominantly hearing/speaking world?)
Also - Marlee Matlin's character was too confusing for me at times. For example, she learns that her own parents had chosen not to give her hearing aids as a child. They had taken away from her the option of developing any sort of residual hearing. When she finds this out, she is highly upset. Yet the next thing we know, she doing the same thing to her child--remove a choice that might allow the child to have an easier time of negotiating the hearing world. Why? Whatever she was selling, I wasn't buying it, so to speak.
The interesting thing is that, while Hallmark seemed to be attempting to be "fair and balanced"--and make no final judgment--I found that as the pros and cons of the situation unfolded, the case seemed to favor cochlear implantation. I thought there was relatively little negative said about the CI. (Of course, I come from a hearing perspective.)
On the other hand, we learned that the deaf father had gone through life bullied, struggling, etc., for being deaf. We also learned that a significant number of deaf adults are likely to do poorly in school (not because they themselves are innately poor learners, BTW, but for other reasons) or require government assistance. Adam's mother has to rely on the father to interpret for her everywhere, because she has limited ability to speak or understand spoken English.
So the final message to me seemed to be that the chief benefit of *not* having a cochlear implant is that it reinforces for the deaf child that it's okay to be deaf--there's nothing that needs fixing. And that's a worthy message, certainly.
But it seems to me to be a pretty weak argument, when pitted against the "pro CI" benefits, which include more social and job opportunity, and less likelihood of isolation, struggle, etc. And I suspect that there are ways to introduce a child to a CI without implying that the child is "broken" or unworthy and needs "fixing" in order to be acceptable.
I can see situations where one might reject the idea of a CI - both parents are deaf and the family all signs and is functioning fine, or maybe there are medical or other reasons that make the child a poor candidate for a CI. But that was not the case in this movie.
Sweet Nothing in My Ear
Sweet Nothing in My Ear
Hearing, devoted family father Dan Miller is delighted when a pioneering medical team's cochlear implant project offers his deaf son a chance to hear. Dan's deaf-mute wife Laura however leads an 'deaf pride' movement, which isn't satisfied with handicapped facilities but in earnest promotes a 'deaf culture'. Dan and Laura Miller need to come to terms with each others charged viewpoints to answer the question "What is the best decision for our son" The decision is further complicated by medical risks regarding the implant.
Uploaded By: FREEMAN
April 12, 2021 at 03:33 PM