Kellie Martin plays a young deaf mute in this touching, yet not sickly TV movie, cementing her as an actress of astonishing talent and beauty. She may never be one for the limelight, but you can’t help feel she deserves to make one ‘big’ movie to show the world who she is, to put all the A-list actresses who are inferior performers to shame. This probably will not happen, and I’m sure she does not care, but us fans only want to see her get the critical recognition she deserves. And of course, these TV movies of hers are rarely shown or released so we never get to see enough of her.
Laura (Martin) has never been taught sign language, and has lived her 14 years in near constant abuse with her father. A social worker rescues her and after a tough start they form a close relationship and teach each other. Laura learns sign language and hangs out with other deaf kids and makes many friends. However, her father is still searching for her, and others begin to exploit her. She is naive, and unused to the outside world, but her friendship with Pam Willis, played by Jobeth Williams grows stronger, and they work through each trauma together. By the end, even the hardest of hearts and critics will be moved as Laura shows what she has come to learn.
There are countless TV movies like this, many of them hideous discussions on a popular media topic of the day, most of them are average and not worth watching, but this one works on many levels, and thanks to Martin’s performance we are engaged throughout. Her conveyance of emotions is masterful remembering she cannot speak, and her adoption of the sign language is also brilliant. Few actresses would be capable of this role, even fewer of making it this good. We are genuinely touched, and anytime you feel down, this is one movie you should watch to bring you up. One smile from Kellie Martin is enough to make all your woes drift away, and although this may sound cheesy it is true. Williams is strong as the social worker, trying against the odds to rescue Laura, and the supporting cast are all good. So when you get the chance to see this, watch it. It may not be surprising, original or a masterpiece, but it is still a very good film. Also raises issues of family trauma, abuse and how we treat those with a sensory or mental disorder. If this hadn’t starred Kellie Martin I probably never would have seen it, and I may not have enjoyed it as much. Catch it if you get the chance.
Feel free to comment on the movie, my review, the actors, the issues etc. Do you feel Kellie Martin should get roles in bigger films or do you prefer her keeping to TV? How did the film deal with the themes of abuse?