The movie Children of a Lesser God can be best described as a love story that deals with barriers in basic communication. It is a story based on a play about a talented teacher for the deaf named James, who forms an interest in a deaf employee named Sarah, who works for the same school. His job is to help deaf children learn how to speak, so he feels he can help Sarah to do the same. Initially, James runs into problems with her because she doesn t have an interest in learning how to speak and she admits to him that she doesn t know how to read lips.
James takes this as a challenge and begins to lure Sarah to him by coincidentally bumping into her from time to time. Once he draws Sarah in by taking her to dinner and communicating with her quite often, they realize that they ve fallen in love. The conflict in the movie is that James unwittingly tries time and time again to get Sarah to speak and learn to read lips and she basically wants him to step into her world of silence.
Near the end of the movie we see as James explodes and finally tells her that he s tired of trying to reach out to her all of the time and doesn t understand what s holding her back. Her response is equally explosive as she explains her sentiments about the issue. After some time they experience separated, James and Sarah reunite in the end to resume the love that they share for each other.
In the communication context, there are a few characteristics of communication that are dealt with in this movie. The obvious barrier of communication between the deaf and the hearing, relationship conflict, and the use of nonverbal communication, are all aspects in communication that are touched upon in this movie.
First, the main subject of the movie obviously is how James a hearing instructor tries to communicate not only with his hearing-impaired students, but the woman that he eventually falls in love with, Sarah. This may not seem like a difficult task considering that James knows sign language, but getting through to Sarah proves to be difficult because she is stubborn and refuses to learn to read lips or to try and learn to speak.
A second communication aspect that is evident in the movie is the conflict experienced by Sarah and James who are both in a relationship. Many relationships experience conflicts of many sorts and just because Sarah and James may have a special circumstance in theirs, doesn t make them any less exempt. The conflict they deal with is the fact that they can seem to find a common ground when communicating. James wants Sarah to learn to read lips and to speak like the others, and Sarah feels that James doesn t want to meet her halfway and come into her silent world. Eventually they do compromise and settle their differences.
Finally, the third aspect of communication I noticed in the movie was the use of nonverbal communication. Sign language is obviously a way to communicate non-verbally, but I noticed the body movements and facial expressions that the characters used to communicate non-verbally. There was a scene in which Sarah is dancing and can t really hear the music, but continues to fluidly move as if listening to it. The song ends and Sarah continues to move, and to me this shows how she interprets what the song is about through her body movements.
Another scene that stood out to me is when both James and Sarah are arguing near the end of the movie. The facial expressions used by Sarah are amazing. Although she can t communicate verbally, the audience knows exactly how she s feeling through her use of facial expressions. They reveal her emotions to a tee.
In conclusion, the movie Children of a Lesser God definitely shows many communications aspects discussed in our communication class. The more obvious aspects in my opinion, were the barriers in communication, the relationship conflict, and the uses of non-verbal communication.