Title—Sound and Fury
Awards–Nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, 2001
Nominated for Best Documentary at the Independent Spirit Awards, 2001
Won the Freedom of Expression Award from the National Board of Review, 2000
Summary–Follows the story of a two related families who are considering cochlear implants for their children. One of them is an infant, Peter, who was born to parents who can hear. The other is his cousin Heather, who has grown up in an all deaf family.
My Thoughts–This was a really good film, but parts of it were hard to watch. It is a very emotional story where people feel very passionate about their views, so there is a lot of arguing. I am not big on confrontation or fighting, so some of the family discussions were hard for me to watch.
The main focus of the film is a 4 1/2 year-old girl named Heather whose parents and siblings are all deaf. She is interested in getting a cochlear implant which would allow her to hear so it will be easier for her to interact with other children who are not deaf. Her parents have very mixed feelings about the idea because they are worried that she will stop identifying with the deaf community and lose herself in the hearing world.
Heather’s infant cousin Peter (their fathers are brothers) is born deaf and his parents really want to get him an implant as soon as possible. Peter’s maternal grandparents are both deaf and think that this is not the right choice for their grandchild.
One of the good things about seeing all the arguing amongst family members is it really helps to illustrate what a huge impact these implants have on the deaf community. Many of the older deaf people in the film seemed to be opposed to them, while the majority of the hearing people seemed to think it was the only way to go.
I admit that I fell into that category at first. I thought, well, of course I would want my child to be able to hear. But after listening to Heather’s parents discuss their fears and seeing how great it was for Heather when she went to visit the deaf school, I began to rethink my position.
This is a good film to introduce you to the topic because there are good arguments on both sides of the issue. I’m so glad I watched it because I was only vaguely aware that this surgery even existed. I also enjoyed watching everyone speaking in sign language. I almost never get to watch people signing, and I am always so impressed with how beautiful the language is.
Final Verdict–This is a good, emotional film that will make you really think. It’s impossible to watch it and not think about what you might do in the same situation.