Moving yet unsentimental romantic drama about the relationship between an unorthodox speech teacher (William Hurt) and a rebellious young deaf woman. Marlee Matlin not only won Best Actress at the Academy Awards for her feisty performance, but won Hurt's heart off-screen as well.
Although it struggles a bit when William Hurt has to 'verbalise' deaf-mute co-star Marlee Matlin's dialogue, this drama set in a school for deaf people is otherwise a throat-grippingly successful teacher-pupil love story of a distinctly unconventional nature. Matlin's wonderfully expressive face enables her to give a performance that won her an Academy Award, while Hurt and Piper Laurie (who plays Matlin's mother) were also nominated for Oscars. Based on the equally triumphant play, this film version benefits from sensitive direction by Randa Haines (her directorial debut) that brings out both the comic and tragic aspects of the affair between teacher Hurt and his 'special pupil', and from John Seale's glistening Metrocolor photography of the coldly beautiful Canadian landscape.