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Deaf Person Reviews Oscar-Winning Film ‘The Silent Child’ | Liam O’Dell [CC]


Hey, everyone! So another chill, laid-back
video somewhat, because tonight, BBC One did an awesome thing and
screened ‘The Silent Child’ on TV. Now if you know already, I have
already talked about how awesome it was that ‘The Silent Child’ won an Oscar – still
awesome now, to think of it. But today, I thought I would share my thoughts
’cause I did actually watch the film finally just earlier tonight! And so
I thought I would talk about some of those thoughts. I’ve already done a blog post about it sharing my thoughts which I’ll link to below, but there’s some points that maybe want to expand on, that maybe… maybe don’t
really work well in a blog post but also I can now offer my more personal
side of things as well, because my initial blog review was maybe a little
bit more journalistic. And so, the main thing that I’ll start with probably is what
the film is about. Obviously, I’ll try not to spoil it as much as possible. But it
is basically about a young girl called Libby, who’s played by a deaf
actress called Maisy Sly – young girl, I don’t know whether the age was actually
mentioned, but probably about four or five and kind of just ready to go into
school, I think. And it’s clear that she was quite literally a silent child she’s
unable to communicate. I think she was able to communicate, but it’s still very
much there’s a very clear communication barrier there. And basically, Rachel
Shenton, who was a former Hollyoaks actress, she’s written this production.
And basically she comes along and it’s little bit ‘Nanny McPhee’-like. You know, she
comes in a little bicycle and stuff like that, but I think that’s really sweet.
Basically, she comes in and introduces Maisie to the idea of sign language, and
isn’t long before we see this whole kind of process where… that she’s
introduced a sign language, and it’s… it was really, really humbling, because you
kind of see that moment – there’s this one specific scene, where after Rachel tries
to… or Joanne, if we’re talking about characters, where Joanne tries to finally
break down that barrier and communicate with Libby,
and there’s a moment where it looks like she’s just about to give up, and then Libby signs
the word ‘orange’ and it’s that kind of moment where you could just
see it in Joanne’s eyes that she’s finally made a breakthrough, and that is
not something that I felt, but it’s that little kind of… You see it in their faces,
that little kind of joy in their face when they realise, you know, they’ve
finally broken down that barrier. I had that when I was in the NDCS Youth
Advisory Board and I learnt sign language and I was finally… I finally
reached that point, you know, where that barrier has been smashed to pieces and
you finally are able to communicate with someone that you’ve been wanted to
communicate for a long time – in my case, communicating with other members of the
Youth Advisory Board who, in previous meetings, I’d had to have things written
down on pieces of paper, or I’d have to use the interpreters. I was able to now
communicate in sign language in my own way and when that happened, you saw it in the film,
it’s that moment of just like pure magic,
if that sounds really cringeworthy – it doesn’t mean to, but it is that just pure
joy seeing moments like that. But it’s- it kind of- the film does a great job of
kind of following a very nice narrative arc where it soon moves from kind of
it’s has its light and then it moves into it’s not dark, but more kind of like
it moves upbeat, into the more sad, more tragic aspects of the film. I’m trying
hard not to spoil it, but basically and something I probably want to touch
upon, is that you kind of see from the start, the kind of parents’ reluctance
towards things. I’m trying really hard not to spoil it. But basically they’re
very… they’re very against the whole idea of Libby learning sign language or
basically having that as her preferred method of communication because
basically, she is a deaf child in a hearing family. Now obviously, I’ve been very, very lucky. I’m a deaf child in a hearing family, but I have been… I have-
I’m not really on the same level of deafness as Libby is portrayed as being.
I’ve only had it mildly so even then, it’s pretty… I think pretty much
only came to light actually, in my teenage years, so at that point I’d
already had all these years where I’ve been brought up orally anyway, so
this whole question of “Oh, should I have been brought up learning sign language
first” or anything like that, no, because I’d… It wasn’t… My level of hearing loss
wasn’t that severe that I needed to learn sign language first. It’s just… or anything like that, just… This is the thing, with any of these
situations, the deaf individual has their own preferred support, preferred way of
communicating – for me it’s orally – but that’s not the point. I have been very fortunate in that my
parents have always been very accommodating for what I want to do. You know, they’re happy that I’m picking up sign language, they’re
actually really happy that I’m kind of becoming a bit of a deaf campaigner in a
sense, you know, and I’m pushing for all of these different campaigns and all
these different aims and that the deaf community wants, you know, they’ve been
incredibly supportive, but what we see here in this film, is a family that’s
a bit reluctant to the ideas of what the child wants and… We don’t really know
what the child wants but you can kind of tell that they’re open to the idea of
learning sign language primarily, and it’s a stereotype and it’s kind of a
cliché a little bit, but it’s not a cliché in the sense though, some
might argue, because it is a thing that’s happening a lot, which is where hearing
parents kind of pursue a certain avenue which they think is right for the child
but they don’t actually consult with the child themselves to make sure that’s
what they want. It’s trying not to delve into controversial matters here, but you
kind of see it where you just, it’s kind of forced oralism, is one term which I think
is used to describe it, where, rather than hearing parents learning sign language
to break down the barrier, it’s the case of the deaf person has to learn to speak
orally so that it’s easier for the hearing people, you know. It’s
always a case now of what’s easier for hearing people rather than what’s more
beneficial to the deaf person themselves. Another great example is a recent
episode of either Holby City or Casualty, I can’t remember which one, I think it might be Casualty, where we saw a young girl there that was just like, you know, opening up
to the idea of sign language, [she’s] really wanting to communicate in that form, and
then the… It was only right up until the end where the the mother kind of
embraced that fact, and kind of realised “okay, this is what my child wants” or “this
is what my my daughter wants”. You know, what we see for the majority of that TV
show was that, you know, it’s a mother that was just like, “Oh, I don’t like this idea, I
don’t like this signing, stop it”, but that’s, that’s what this… part of what ‘The Silent Child’ is about, and it kind of follows this very kind of… Like I say, a
narrative route, and ends superbly with like a call to action, which is great.
It’s great that they’ve kind of, they’ve done all the things that
disability-based films should do, they should have that underlying call to action which isn’t kind of, at the same time pitying. You can sometimes see films that are a bit tokenistic with how they approach disability, like they just throw it in to
see that they’re kind of scoring points or anything like that, which is
incredibly not right at all. In this film, it is pure, authentic representation and it
is absolutely superb. You know, Maisie Sly, who plays Libby, she’s deaf
herself, superb. Rachel Shenton, she actually I think, I saw it on The One Show earlier tonight, she was basically talking about how she was drawn to learn
sign language because her dad became profoundly deaf in the final few
years of his life. So she has experiences this as well, there’s so many experiences
there, and she- I know Rachel Shelton, she does a lot of work with NDCS as well,
as far as I’m aware, so, there was a lot of authentic viewpoints and experiences
brought to this film, which I think is absolutely important. I’ve talked a lot about disability
representation in films and stuff like that and this film does an absolutely
superb job of that. To round up, you know, just in kind of a general film sense – I’m [in] no way a film critic, I’m more suited to to books and music, I’m not really a
media production student or anything like that, so I can’t really talk about
direction or production or anything like that without seeming a little bit… little bit unprofessional in that sense, but no, the direction is really
charming, really adds to the humbling, kind of, emotional tone of the
film, and the acting is brilliant, kind of… Kind of traditional, very kind of
simplistic, but simplistic in a good way, you know, kind of, it doesn’t try too hard,
it’s just pure, honest drama and pure, honest film, it’s absolutely superb in
that regard. Yeah, the writing is brilliant as well, it’s all just a
very enjoyable film. [stutters] Yeah, it’s enjoyable, it’s a good
watch – of course, it’s very important watch. I’m trying not to spoil it again
but yes, it’s just a very important watch, I think as well, so I’m hoping the BBC
have it up on somewhere where you can watch it, because I’m hoping they have it
on their like iPlayer services so it’s available to watch afterwards.
If it is, I’ll try to find a link and post it below, if I can remember. Hopefully it is, but it’s something which- I think it’s also on YouTube as well, so
you can probably find it there as well. It’s like £1.49 to rent, so do it! I implore you to watch it, because it is
absolutely superb, and it did at times brought a tear to my eye, actually. I will be
honest, it’s that sort of film, it is that pure, that emotional, that authentic, that
honest. So I will say to watch it and that is a very kind of brief review from
me. Hopefully that interested you. Hopefully
you found it enjoyable, and yes, thanks very much for watching, I’ll be back
again soon, actually ’cause it’s not long before the end of the month, and I’ll be back
with another MinuteMonth, but for now, thanks very much for watching and I’ll see
you soon. Bye! [MUSIC: ‘The Spectre’ by Alan Walker] [Music fades]

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