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      TRAILER 1:25

      Children of a Lesser God

      1986, Drama, 1h 57m

      35 Reviews 5,000+ Ratings

      What to know

      Critics Consensus

      Children of a Lesser God transcends its transparently noble goals thanks to a pair of absorbing performances from William Hurt and Marlee Matlin. Read critic reviews

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      Children of a Lesser God  Photos

      Children of a Lesser God (1986) Children of a Lesser God (1986) Children of a Lesser God (1986) Children of a Lesser God (1986) Children of a Lesser God (1986)

      Movie Info

      Starting his new job as an instructor at a New England school for the deaf, James Leeds (William Hurt) meets Sarah Norman (Marlee Matlin), a young deaf woman who works at the school as a member of the custodial staff. A romance slowly develops between the pair in spite of Sarah's withdrawn emotional state due in part to her difficult relationship with her mother (Piper Laurie). Matlin, who is deaf in real life, won the Academy Award for Best Actress for this, her first film role.

      • Rating: R

      • Genre: Drama

      • Original Language: English

      • Director: Randa Haines

      • Producer: Burt Sugarman, Patrick J. Palmer

      • Writer: Hesper Anderson, Mark Medoff

      • Release Date (Theaters):  original

      • Release Date (Streaming):

      • Box Office (Gross USA): $26.8M

      • Runtime:

      • Distributor: Paramount Pictures

      • Production Co: Paramount Pictures

      Cast & Crew

      Critic Reviews for Children of a Lesser God

      Audience Reviews for Children of a Lesser God

      • Nov 09, 2014

        A sincere and touching drama with laudable performances by William Hurt and Marlee Matlin, whose wonderful chemistry together always convinces us of their characters' feelings for each other and of the real, authentic difficulties they meet in their relationship.

        Super Reviewer
      • Feb 27, 2011

        The score is admittedly awful, I really don't think all the supporting characters get a fair say, and Piper Laurie's mother character is underdeveloped, but the central love story works. Most relationships are hard enough, but add the lack of one party to communicate verbally and a whole slew of issues surfaces. The film faces them head on, and while I'm sure its still softer than the play I don't think we are given any illusions about how hard these two people will have it.

        Super Reviewer
      • Feb 27, 2011

        Slow and boring. The "love" seemed rushed and shallow for the depths of such drama! Performances for this movie have been overrated!

        Super Reviewer
      • Aug 08, 2010

        A commentary on the state of the deaf community after so many years of innovation in teaching techniques, medicine, and biology, was missing from this romantic drama. Marlee Matlin was a great choice in casting, and her emotional portrayal of a deaf custodian was surely realistic and award show worthy, but many theater goers were probably filled with unanswered questions concerning what it is to be taken advantage of. The relationship between herself and Hurt's character is not only rooted in traditional truth but has a deeper chemistry that resonates. It was very enjoyable to watch Hurt teach children through relatibility, which is a tried and true formula, but he never gets Matlin out of her shell to a point where one can be satisifed. Slightly underwhelming.

        Super Reviewer

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