Set in rural England and inspired by real life events. The Silent Child centres around a profoundly deaf four year old girl named Libby who is born into a middle class family and lives in a world of silence until a caring social worker teaches her the gift of communication.
I must admit up front that I am not at all impartial in my ability to review "The Silent Child". Because I am the parent of a deaf daughter and am very acquainted with the subject matter in the film, the picture had a HUGE impact on me and I found myself crying during portions of the short. Even if perhaps I am not 100% impartial, the film earned a nomination for Best Live Action Short from the Oscars and I am rooting for it to take home the statuette--because of the quality of the film and because its message needs to be spread far and wide.
The story is about a cute little girl named Libby who lives in England. Her family is very well off and Libby is about to begin school. However, there is a problem...Libby is profoundly deaf. Because of this, a social worker has been assigned to work with the child. Soon it becomes apparent that the family (the mother in particular) want some miracle to occur...for Libby to hear and talk, though this just is very very unlikely. Plus, with the family refusing to learn sign language and just hoping all works out, things look pretty bad for Libby...even after she begins to blossom and open up during the time she works with the social worker.
The themes of this short are how woefully inadequate the school systems are to handle the needs of a deaf child and well as how woefully inadequate many parents of deaf kids are to be parents. Everything I saw in the film seemed familiar to me...such as the fact that the vast majority of deaf kids have parents who never learn to communicate with them and how isolated deaf children can be. While the problem in the US is not quite as severe as it is in the UK (here we have generally had little difficulty getting interpreters and other assistance with our daughter due to her disability), it still hits quite close to home. And, like Libby's family, I've known families who simply refuse to do anything to admit that their child needs remediation.
Overall, extremely well made, insightful and sad in many, many ways.
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