Under the Radar: Listen To Your Heart (2010)


How. Did. We. Overlook This. Movie?

First of all, one of my friends who sent me an email about this movie which she rented from Netflix. She told me that this movie is not captioned and I was puzzled and thought maybe it was Alan Arkin’s movie, “Heart is a Lonely Hunter”, but I was wrong. It was a virtually unknown independent movie that was released one year ago. I told her that she needs to contact the production and distribution companies about captions.

Today, I was slumbering during my lazy Saturday afternoon flipping my tv remote and I saw the title, “Listen to Your Heart” on my cable. I clicked for description of this movie and it was the one which my friend was talking about. I decided to see this movie, and sure enough, it was captioned on the Lifetime Channel.

During the movie, I cringed throughout the movie. I was astonished that how could this movie had gone ‘under the radar’ among the Deaf Community? I grabbed my iPad2 and did some online research. Not even one deaf blogger or deaf-related forum discussing about this movie! We are usually vigilant for any deaf-related movies or television shows by making sure they are authentic, but not this one! I discovered that this movie was first released in October 2010, and it won a lot of awards from film festivals!

The storyline of this movie was basically:

It’s love at first sight when Danny (Kent Moran) meets Ariana (Alexia Rasmussen), a wealthy hearing-impaired girl from Greenwich, CT who tragically cannot hear the music she inspires him to write. Ariana is torn between hanging onto the shelter her controlling mother (Cybill Shepherd) provides and fighting for a love that, if just given the chance, might just change her life. When tragedy strikes, determined that nothing can keep them apart, they must trust in the power of their love, and together discover just how important it is to “listen to your heart.”

I checked Hulu.com for this movie, and it is not captioned. You can check IMdB here, and there is the Facebook page dedicating to this movie too.

How. Did. We. Overlook. This. Movie?

Alexia Rasmussen, a hearing actress for the role as Ariana, or “Sam” as her nickname. The character, Sam became deaf when she was young due to meningitis. Her mother (Cybill Shepherd) enrolled her in an oral school. Sam does not know any sign language and she does not use her speech to communicate. She has an uncanny lipreading skills which enables her to follow conversation.

Strike One!

That is the major misconception here. Only 30% of information can be understood from lipreading. Selecting a hearing actress, that is a big NO-NO! There was a reason why Rasmussen was chosen to act as Sam, and I found the answer on the Facebook page.

Listen to Your Heart
Hey Andrea, we chose a hearing actress for several reasons. The main being that she had to be able to speak and “hear” by the end of the movie. I know it only seems like the last few minutes, but she is supposed to be hearing for a while. The movie also used to be longer and had different twists that required a hearing actress, and we thought that this role was a good challenge for an actress to show her abilities.

OMG! Oh. My. God. Plenty of Deaf actress out there who can do this role. Read this interview with Kent Moran on this website here. Enough to make my blood boil.

In this film, Sam’s mom is a domineering mother and she overprotects her daughter. Sam’s mother orders meals for her own daughter. Sam does not know how to drive.

Strike Two!

Wow, a great way to educate the public that Deaf people cannot order their own meals and we are unable to drive. We are totally dependent on parents. Thank you very much, dear producers/writers.

Danny, an struggling waiter met Sam for the first time at the restaurant and he fell in love at the first sight. He tried to give her his phone number. Two weeks later, Sam showed up at the restaurant. Danny learned that Sam is deaf. They exchanged e-mails. Danny told Sam that his mother’s best friend is deaf, and he knows some fingerspelling. He fingerspelled his name. Love blossomed. Danny and Sam are signing. They are seeing each other.

Mommy was unhappy. She tries to interfere their relationship by sending emails under pretenses and blocks Danny on Facebook. She even blocked snail mails written by Danny. She basically controls Sam. She even arranged a date for Sam with an arrogant guy from another wealthy family. That guy ended up sexually assaulting Sam. No communication, except Mommy blames her for ’embarrassing’ her.

Thank you so much for enlightenment.

Sam and her best friend, Nicole tried to trick Mommy Dearest that they can go into the city to hang out, so that they can meet Danny. Mommy figured that out and snatched Sam from this opportunity.

There are so many more examples on this movie that I cannot even stand writing about this. Danny is dying of brain cancer, and Sam wants to get a cochlear implant. Oh, at the end of this movie, Sam is able to hear and speak as well. Even worse, Sam enrolled in a prestigious music school to follow her heart that she can pursue her musical career. Wow, that is a miracle! Deaf people can hear!

Producers, thank you so much for enlightenment. Congratulations, you have set us back several years by stereotyping us, as isolated, lonely, dependent and helpless deaf people who needs Mommy’s protection and getting cochlear implant to hear and speak again. Miracle, indeed.

How. Did. We. Overlook. This. Damned. Movie?

Boo, hiss, raspberries and jeers!

Strike THREE! You’re OUT!”

Amy Cohen Efron

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66 comments on “Under the Radar: Listen To Your Heart (2010)

Amy, what can we as a collective group do about this kind of plot? Actually, if you think about it…. perhaps an agreement should be flashed before the beginning of the movie:

“The Story is FALSE. The actors are actually hearing. Deaf People given the opportunity to learn, CAN drive. Given the opportunity, CAN be literate. Deaf people have LOVING parents. This story is just to get profit.”

Deaf E

Oh Deaf E,

Go to Facebook page dedicating this movie, and we need to bombard them with all of the messages. There are so many positive reviews and the producers thought they are doing the right thing.

How. Did. We. Overlook. This. Movie? That is my big question here.



“The movie also used to be longer and had different twists that required a hearing actress, and we thought that this role was a good challenge for an actress to show her abilities.”

Really? So not even a deaf person with cochlear implant can’t handle a longer and more twisted plots? So much for the mixed message about cochlear implants can help deaf people hear.

And showing her ability? I feel aliened now by the way I act because I am deaf. I didn’t know it requires a “special” acting ability.

This movie was dropped into our laps as a golden opportunity to show the world how badly Deaf people are viewed. It is sort of like “Birth of a Nation” that shows Black people as criminals and simpletons and white people as avenging heroes.

Use it back at the producers and embarrass THEM. Show it over and over again until people are sick of it and recognize it for the crap it is. Educate people in classrooms and in discussion groups about it, how it was made, and how it deviated from truth.

Excellent idea! We need more blogs about this movie — bombard them on the Facebook page. I googled it up while watching this movie earlier and there is nothing out there except positive reviews.

Honestly, the whole message was that she SHOULD be allowed to order her own food, drive, etc. I don’t get why you’re bitching. It was a horribly clichéd movie to say the least, with sub-par acting and a terrible storyline. I can see how it would be mildly offensive, but the whole point is that she should totally be capable and evil mommy wasn’t letting her. -,-

Chelsea, I bitched because it was unnecessary. Too many movies protrayed deaf people as poor, dependent, and helpless. We need mommies to protect us. Its 2011 and people should already figured out that we are more capable than ever.

Well the whole point is that she didn’t need that. Idk. it was moving in it’s own way, if a little overdone. Spend more time enjoying life and less time taking offense to it.

Huh? Are you implying that I am expected to enjoy life and not to get offended by this movie? Who would speak up about how poorly this movie was done? That movie got too many awards and showed on Lifetime Channel which could be viewed by many people. Someone had to speak up. Would you speak up if you are offended? Come on.

Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog.

Haha stumbled accross it. No need to get offended at me too. See? You’re looking into things that aren’t there. It’s kind of silly. I was being nice. No offense intended. You took it out of my words and made it something it wasn’t. Stop being over sensitive. Good God. I mean, I get why you’re offended, you’re most certainly allowed to express that you are. I was just asking for clarification because the points your making don’t really make sense since the movie implied that all of those things you say are bad, are bad. So, you’re really just being irrational.

Huh? being irrational? Over sensitive? Calling my blog as bitching… what is your problem? I see your point, and I am emphasizing that this movie was unnecessary, poorly written and emphasizes the unrealistic miracle at the end. You appear to be a wise person who knows that this movie was a crap, overdone and horribly cliched. Then calling me these names, are also unnecessary.

Didn’t call you a name, I made a comment. I really wasn’t trying to be a rude bitch. I have a tendency of coming off that way even when I’m not trying to be. Many apologies. Sorry for bein’ a rude-ass on yo blog. :[

Apology accepted.

Ha, ha. That’s Lifetime for you. Sounds like a GREAT movie (note the sarcasm?). I will have to see it before I can make any comments about it.

Thanks for letting us know Amy!


Hey Chelsea, Amy can “bitch” about anything she pleases. It’s her blog.

My mom watched this movie and RAVED about it to me (I haven’t seen it yet… not going to rent it and give the producers more profit off me). But your suggestion of showing it over and over “so people will see it for the crap it is” is going to backfire, if my mom (who REALLY should know better) is one example of people who are going to see it.

Really, when I see movies like that, which does not portray things in real life, I am left thinking…it is just a movie. I never let these things get to me.

Do I watch movie about black people and assume that blacks are always like that? does it reflects true portrayal of blacks in America? No, I know better.

Same goes for other minority groups.

People will think what they want to. We can only hope that folks are smart enough not to take these portrayals on TV and Movies seriously.

Best way to raise awareness is to do a PSA, on the internet, in magazines, on TV, Billboard Ads (they’re the best – have seen some deaf related ones!! – I should have taken pictures of it), etc.

Movies like this make me cringe….and it won awards? Really? I will try to reserve judgement before seeing it, but should I even watch that worthless POS? Do do do….

It’s “HOLLYWOOD”. A pure fantasy. Fiction. Just pure HOLLYWOOD film. The way Sam talks! I rushed and asked my best friend of more than 40 years who was in my class at a public school ( a time when there were no interpreters and no mainstreamed schools), if I talked like that, the way she moved her mouth and face and behaved. As far as I am aware, I never talked or moved my mouth nor behaved like she did but that’s me, so I asked my best friend who’s honest. She made a face and said no. I was nothing like her. Whew!!!! I was born deaf. My parents sent me to an expensive speech school in Decatur, GA where I learned the speech and lipreading. Then they sent me to GA school for the Deaf when I was 11 where I learned ASL. I got the best of both worlds. I love music. I learned inter piano and self taught on an ukelele. Ages ago. Beatles are my favorite and I took dancing lessons all my life. I hear with hearing aid and feel no need for a cochlear implant. I don’t think cochlear implant will transform me into a complete ‘HEARING’ person. Talk on the phone. Not having to lipread anymore. Speak articulately at 60 mph. Fantasy. Deaf and Hard of Hearing can and do act like HEARING PEOPLE in every way that HEARING people cannot tell the difference who’s deaf/hoh and who’s hearing until we speak. (those of us who can speak). How do they tell the difference in the way we speak? Our voices. My voice makes people think I’m German because I have a German Accent. One thought I was French . LOL. I never STRUCK my mother. EVER! It’s the first time a “deaf” character stuck a parent in the film history, as far as I can remember. It’s usually the other way around. Deaf got slapped. That’s infuriating. INfluences Hearing people to think that is the proper way to show Deaf ADULT how to behave. Outrageous. Rude. Bonanza. Star Trek:TNG. Politically Incorrect.

I love Bonanza and Star Trek Series!!!!

Is that possible we overlook this particular film because we were too busy attacking each other?

ridor – im hoping we missed it because we were aiming at challenging the truly oppressive systems that actually and actively promote the notion that to speak and hear sets u free. some folks do spend time attacking each other and that may distract them from what is really going on out there. ’tis a pity

amy – media is very important and representation is VERY important and challenging misrepresentation is CHA important so im glad you pointed out this film and im glad the film pretty much tanked

oy! when r they (Hollywood) gonna get it right?

“the Deaf sex bomb victim that the hearing hunk falls for to empower and/or save etc”

this is novel?

geez ive seen that formula before – even children of a less god which is a great STAGE PLAY – film version succumb to that same and lame misrepresentation of Deaf women as helpless but very attractive weak pitiful things

im glad u r listening to ur heart, amy – it roars – We are PEOPLE – hello – we deserve to be on the big screen and we deserve to tell our own stories and we deserve and demand to have better films about us

then we will see who is listening and what their hearts tell them to do:
hmmm give a Deaf actor an opportunity vs. give a hearing actor the opportunity to play a Deaf person hmmmm

this is a hard question for them?

during the controversy over casting of a hearing actor for the stage production of The Heart is a Lonely Hunter in nyc – many of the comments in the NY Times arts article section was “its acting, duh” get over urselves Deaf people”

something to that effect to which i though wow they dont realize that the DEAF person would also need to be acting because they r not really the character they are assigned to portray

its like saying to a women who laments the lack of female roles if there were few and those few were taken by men playing women – its like someone saying to them “well its acting, its a good challenge for these guys to have this experience” meaning “sister if u had the role it would be a piece of cake so we should give it to the guy”



where is the logic in that


Note – there was a profound comment in that thread though from a well known hearing playwright and he speculated that maybe the directors, and audience prefer a hearing person to play a Deaf person because Deaf is something anyone could become and they dont like the idea that they could become different – with race, gender, ethnicity, GLBT, its not like they could come down with those differences one day from an illness or an accident – so when they see folks of those groups playing those roles it is ABOUT that and the viewer can distance themselves and appreciate the story and context – if the actor is Deaf and the character is Deaf – perhaps (the play wright speculated) that brings it too close to home – You too could be like this character – this role being portrayed but if it is a hearing person PLAYING a Deaf character the audience can say – wow wonderful job, brilliant work – they can detach and it is object and objectification time – its not a time to self-identify that u too could be Deaf or different some day

so the hearing actor is the safety net so folks will still be drawn to see the play or the film but not have any worries that it could beTHEM

just gave me alot to think about – he said it much better than i but ive lost sight of where i sighted it so….

for ur blog entry – really liked all the pix

Media has power – would that we use it well

not to attack or detract or subtract but rather to examine and challenge and connect and do good

so i do thank u for this and for the folks who show up to tell u not to bother with such – well hmmmm how they choose to use their time is telling too eh?



As a hearing person who has grown up under the shadow of an overbearing mother, I saw this movie as portraying the deaf woman as a victim of her mother’s extremely controlling behavior, due to her mother’s own problems, not hers. I didn’t see the deaf woman as being portrayed as that way because she’s deaf. Thus I found it uplifting how there was someone else to reverse the damage the mother had done and show her that she is not weak and dependent, that this was merely a lie so the mother could keep control of her.

But I was absolutely amazed that this DVD had no subtitles/captions, not even the kind the TV can decode. I regularly use these on movies while I’m eating crunchy foods or can’t understand a part where they don’t talk clearly. These are useful to everyone!

I’m now going to take some time to read others’ comments here, so I can educate myself about ways this movie might have mislead me about deaf people.

Hi there, I have just watched the film with my 5 year old daughter. I am deaf and I don’t think the movie was about deafness as such but more about the controlling mother. I had very controlling parents and they kept me in a bubble and did not encourage me to do anything until I met my hearing husband so I do get the story as it brought back memories for me. It basically says that you can go out and do stuff on your own and overcome all obstacles. It also made my daughter understand a bit more about deafness aswell. It is a small budget movie for television and not for big audience cinema. I do think that some deaf people do take offence a bit too seriously. If you didn’t like the movie then switch it off and watch another one ; )

Hi everyone, I am a hearing woman with two deaf parents and I have been very close to the deaf community my whole life. I am really rather appalled at the harshness of some of the comments on here. I watched the entire movie and was extremely moved by it. I stumbled upon this site because I was trying to google the actress that played “Ariana/Sam” to see if she was deaf in real life. (I have great respect for the hearing impaired and love to hear their stories) However, I am really glad that I didn’t read this blog first because after reading all of your negative comments I might not have watched it. Then I would have missed out on a great movie that moved me in a big way.
One of the things that I do not understand is why some of you are getting so worked up over small things like the way she moved her face or sounded her words out. Every deaf person has their own sounds and facial movements just like every hearing person does. I have even noticed that deaf people sound, sign, and move differently in every state. There was also a comment about how only 30% of the deaf population could read lips really well. I guess I am very blessed then because both of my parents are lip reading pros. The were taught very well at the Texas School for the Deaf.
Personally, I never start watching a movie expecting it to reflect what the real world is really like, unless it says based on a real story or event. After all, it is just a movie. And that’s the great thing about TV, if you do not like what you are watching, you can simply turn it off.
Anyways, I am not trying to be rude in any way, I am just voicing my opinion. I think that it is only fair for all internet viewers to get to hear both sides. Please do not post rude comments to or about me. If you do not like my opinion just let me know and I will happily delete it.
Have a blessed day everyone

As a hearing person, I just wanted to chime in and say this movie is god-awful; one of the worst I’ve seen in awhile. I too was appalled at the stereotyping (innocent deaf girl who’s never had a drink/gone against parent’s wishes). But I think it’s equally important to note that the movie features an equally poor plot, acting, and writing (the conversations between the main male lead and his best friend are so forced and awful). Worst of all, the music in this film is hilariously awful. The lead male character can not sing, and the songs he sings ramble on like a whiny, unfunny version of R. Kelly’s “Trapped in the Closet.”

It’s hard to decide what the worst aspect of this movie is.

Can anyone tell me why halfway through the movie everyone started calling Ariana “Sam?” Isn’t a nickname usually something you tell people about immediately? “Hi, my name’s April, but everyone call’s me Nick…” Not like, weeks later….

And why Sam??

Thanks for writing this; I came across a youtube vid about the movie on tumblr, so here I am trying to see if the actress is Deaf since her name doesn’t sound familiar. I wasn’t able to find info really and then on IMD on the synopsis they used words such as ‘hearing-impaired’ or mention what a tragedy it is that she doesn’t hear the music that she inspires him to write..blah blah blah… really?
How can someone produce or be involved in a production that relates to a world they don’t even know about and don’t have the diplomacy to include Deaf people in their work.

So I read your article, and my *grrrr was transformed to a ‘Go girl, you tell them’ … also I read the link to the interview, and seriously, he mentions ‘the hearing-impaired community’ thanking him for producing the film.. really? h-i? wow….. that was not the Deaf community for sure….

Thanks for the headsup on how awful this movie is!! Bummer!

My deaf husband saw this movie on Lifetime and loved it. I immediately ordered the DVD so that I could see it too, with him. We just put it in and no CC. The case even says CC, but we haven’t been able to get it to work. Ridiculous. This is the only movie we have ever had this trouble with – pretty ironic.

Well, I have to say that I’m deaf with cochlear implants, but I have never truely gotten the chance to mold in with the deaf community (although I finally convinced my mom to sign me up for some ASL classes). I don’t find this movie offensive in the least bit. Yes, they have their facts wrong, but they do in a lot of movies. I actually like the movie, and I can see how it can be irksome (especially with the closed captioning…..hello? This movie doesn’t have closed captioning in most areas. Weird), but to get angry because a movie exaggerates a stereotype is pointless. However, I do agree that there sould be more movies where a deaf person can accurately act the role in a movie.

Stumbled on this blog while watching the movie (on Netflix with CC). While the acting was not great and story line/plot cliche, I did not have as strong a negative reaction as I have read on this blog. I do not see this as an insult to Deaf/HH individuals. I saw the character, Ariana, as capable but oppressed by an overbearing parent. I think anyone (hearing or Deaf) seeing this movie would share the same frustration and anger at anyone being treated in the manner the mother treats Ariana. It does not stereotype that deaf are incapable of ordering for themselves, driving, etc. Quite the opposite. This movie should not be viewed, in my humble opinion, as insulting to the Deaf community, but rather as an embarrassment to the hearing community (as evidenced by the Mother’s behavior), for being ignorant. The hearing should aspire to embrace the Deaf culture as the characters Danny and Nicole demonstrated. Just my take on it.

I loved this movie… .just because it depicts an over protective mother of a deaf girl does not mean the writer believes that is how deaf people live. I did not get the impression that the deaf community does not drive or drink or think for themselves…it was an over protective mother that could not come to terms with the fact her daughter was deaf…. maybe y’all should give people more credit by not judging, and maybe not be so defensive. not everyone is the enemy. The movie was great.

Hi there, I am a hearing individual learning ASL along with my husband. We have a one year old who we are teaching also, he is hearing. The day I met a now good friend of mine, who is deaf, I knew I wanted to learn this beautiful language. I must say she is the most patient person I have ever met! She never gets irritated with my silly mistakes and is always so eager to help me better my abilities. She is a wonderful person and has introduced me to some amazing people both hearing and deaf. I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to be apart of this =]
About the movie, I feel like there are lost opportunities where signing could have been used. My friend can read lips but that doesn’t mean I would just talk to her and expect her to catch what she can, how rude! I do like that both the friend and the boyfriend learned ASL for her, however I think they could have used it more throughout the movie. Not a fan of the hearing actress playing a deaf role. I am also a Marine, I know this has no comparison, but when I see roles in movies played by actor/actresses who are doing everything wrong( uniforms, using some military lingo wrong, weapon handling etc..) it annoys the crap out of me! We also get type casted into buff dudes who look like they can crush anyone if they wanted, I stand 5 foot almost 3 inches tall lol. I think anyone who is making a movie incorporating things like deaf characters, the Marine Corps characters, hell shark expert characters or whatever it may be, have someone who has knowledge or do some very detailed research on the subject to make a good movie. Another opinion is I don’t think this movie was geared towards the deaf community, I think they got overlooked entirely… They made a movie with a deaf character in it, and thought they were doing something different. It was somewhat entertaining and I would rate it a C- max. I am a sucker for love stories and was super excited to see it after reading the plot. I do think there was more to the movie than just misrepresentation of the deaf character though. Anyone going through the ordeal of cancer weather it be themselves of a loved one is terrible. Its a love story. It tells people to fight for their dreams and they can do anything they put their minds to(minus the cochlear implant fixing everything part, dunno why some hearing people think that!). But all in all we live in America were we have the opportunity to have such surgeries if chosen to do so, have to ability to watch whatever movie we please, can write on blogs openly, can go to school to learn such languages as ASL and I think that is the amazing part, Life is good!

I completely agree with Karen. In my opinion, I am a hearing person who does not really have any deaf friends and yet, I did not get the impression that deaf people are pathetic, helpless little creatures on the face of earth.
In this movie, it is indeed her mother who dominates her life, which is rather pathetic, not letting her become independent. This is a phenomenon on its own that regardless of her deaf character calls the attention to such parents, I guess.
As for me, this movie gave me the impression that deaf people are living just as much a happy and content – if not even better – life than those who are healthy. Now you call that pathetic and something that should not get public or the attention of people out there? I only came across this movie by chance, since in Hungary it did not get much publicity or not that I know of, and am really glad I saw this. It is for two reasons. One being that – as mentioned previously – deaf people can lead a happy life like any other, the other being how important it is – regardless of any circumstances, e.g. Hungarian people often struggle to make it through the month and live on a day-to-day basis, that you are living it is of great importance to fight for what you really love in life. That is considered a unique trait, since as I mentioned most people in my country are happy to have a job and get by…

Overall, I found this movie but encouraging and did not the least get a bad or pathetic idea of what deaf people are living their lives like. Actually, to get even further in this topic, I only know two deaf people, the parents of my twin friends. A happy family of four. The twin sisters were born entirely healthy. How beautiful and merry life can be, huh?

My wife picked this movie on Netflix and in an effort to see whether it would be appropriate for our young granddaughter to see, I googled the movie and found your blog.

Although I am not deaf and currently have no deaf friends (I once had a friend with a deaf child), I appreciated this movie for what it was: a Lifetime (Hollywood) movie to entertain people. It wasn’t made to interpret the deaf community or portray anyone correctly.

In my opinion, the movie shows an overbearing mother and a girl who is sheltered/unprepared for real life in a hearing world, or at best, unprepared for relationships.

I do think that several people in this blog advocating bombarding the producer/director on Facebook smacks of those people having a chip on their shoulder. You get offended and think you are entitled equality in all things instead of understanding that being deaf does make you different. Notice I didn’t say inferior? You ARE different just like a blind person is different. Just like a person with one leg is different. Just like a person with diabetes is different. Not inferior. Different. When you understand that, you might get the chip off your shoulder. For those who are deaf that aren’t chip-infested, I’m not referring to you, OK?

For the record, my wife cried when he got cancer and through the end of the movie. And we didn’t let the granddaughter watch. She was more interested in American Doll hairstyle videos on YouTube.

Actually, a main theme in this movie was that being deaf doesn’t impair abilities to do all the things the mother prevented her daughter from doing, hence the “controlling mother”.The whole point of the movie was that things happen to people, and you can’t let those things get in the way of your dreams, which is why there was so much emphasis on her success in the end. She decided to live her own life, regardless of thecontrolling mother who tried and failed to take advantage of her daughter in the end.In no way did it try to generalize by saying all deaf people are helpless or have terrible parents. That would be like saying all generous girls have evil step mothers just because Cinderella did.

Hello, I wanted to say that I do understand your point but I believe you are looking it the wrong way. Sam was not dependant on her mom, she was being controlled by her. it’s different. Her mom doesn’t let her drive or learn music. That’s why Sam at last confronts her and tells her that all she wanted to do was control her life but that she was not going to pull with that anymore so she was going to get the surgery. She wasn’t a stereotype of an “innocent, deaf girl” she was a stereotype of a girl with an overprotective, controlling parent. I personally liked this movie, not one of my favorites but I enjoyed it and at the end it even surprised me. Although the songs were very poorly written, I really don’t think that is a very important aspect to this movie. More important were the lessons that the love between Danny and Sam gave to the audience. Either way I believe everybody got their own opinion but if this movie got so many awards , it must have done something right, isn’t it?

Ken G., I’m sorry, but if you’re not Deaf/HH or acquainted with someone who is, you’re likely to know very little about us – and it’s showing right now…

I think what you don’t realize is that whether a movie is intended to portray or not portray a population of people correctly, it’s still a portrayal. And when that population being represented is a minority group with a history of oppression and one that the majority population knows approximately nothing about, every portrayal is significant.

It’s the same problem that comes up in media portrayals of Arabs and Muslims. They tend to be patently offensive because they are inaccurate and demeaning. And any American who is not extensively well-educated or personally acquainted with the minority group has no way of knowing that those media portrayals are inaccurate.

So to portray the Deaf/HH this way in a movie is irresponsible, harmful, and incredibly frustrating. It shows that the writer (Kent Moran, coincidentally also the producer, director, soundtrack-writer, and star of the movie – that’s why it’s so bad) is both uneducated about the Deaf and assumes he doesn’t need to increase his knowledge of the Deaf before writing about us, based on inherent assumptions he has about our lives.

Ken G., you wrote: “You get offended and think you are entitled equality in all things instead of understanding that being deaf does make you different…. Not inferior. Different.”

1.) We ARE entitled equality in all things. We are humans; we are Americans.
2.) Don’t tell us not to get offended by something that you don’t understand the implications of. In the future, please assume that you don’t know what’s best for us. Thank you.
3.) We understand we are different. We are proud of that difference. (Hence why the simplistic treatment of cochlear implants in media is also frustrating – getting the implant is actually a very controversial and complicated decision, as it PARTIALLY mitigates the distinguishing factor that the Deaf/HH are so proud of.)
4.) We also understand that we are not inferior. We don’t need people uninvolved in our lives to tell us so, and we certainly don’t need the archetypical “male white savior” to swoop in and convince us of how capable we are. The assumption that hearing loss does not make us inferior is kind of the whole point of Deaf Culture (comparable to how freedom and individualism are foundational to American culture).

Thank you for your time, and thank you in advance for the humility and eagerness to learn that I hope you will bring to the Deaf and hard of hearing in future interactions.

I think that it is important to note that Ariana is meant to have the life portrayed for artistic reasons. That is the point, if she was independent and already followed her dreams there wouldn’t really be much point to the theme that is attempted to be shown through Ariana’s character growth. Not every person has a life like her’s, thank god, but some people do. The way she is shown is to make a point, just like every other thing in film and television.The film is not saying she or anyone that is hearing impaired can not learn, the character does learn sign language and does learn how to drive a car. It’s a fictitious film, like all fiction things are exaggerated or made up to make a point

Guys, get OVER it. I just finished the movie (little late I know) and it was amazing. Just because you didn’t grow up like that, doesn’t mean that she didn’t. That was obviously her backstory. I’m STILL SOBBING aftter Danny had his seizure. I have no fingernails anymore. It was a very heart wrenching movie and very beautifully put together. She wanted to control her life, but Corella De’Vil over here decided not to die in a hole a long time ago. And about the lip reading thing, she went to an oral school. Ya ever seen switched at birth? So once again, GET OVER IT. Why can’t you be appreciative of the damn movie? Not hating on you, but you seem to be hating on a very logically correct movie.

So! What are the ‘good’ Deaf movies? I have a 10 year old Deaf daughter. Please recommend.

What a bunch of deaf snobs. From a strictly deaf point of view the film got a lot of things wrong. Yes, it stars a hearing actress in a deaf role. But it portrays a deaf person in a very positive light. It shows a young mixed couple overcoming the struggle of how to communicate and falling in love. Positive role models for young people. There is the great scene in the English class talking about “a tree falls in the forest” and the deaf lead gives an insightful, thoughtful comment. The same scene also shows the hurt or shame that a deaf person can feel at times. Nit pick the scene. There are probably many things wrong with it. But as a hearing person it gave me insight into how a deaf person must feel at times. How hurtful small comments can be.

Your complaints are about the technical faults of the movie. But how many movies are there that show a young deaf person falling in love and learning to live a normal life? I would think the deaf community would be more interested in a well made movie that shows deafness in a positive light. A positive role model for young kids, young deaf girls. You can be deaf, find your independence and find love.

I hope the film community does not find your “Three strikes” review of this film because if I was a film producer it would not want me to take the risk to make a movie with a deaf main character. Or are you saying that no movies with deaf main characters are better than movies that try to portray deafness in a positive light unless they pass your litmus test?

Two final things:
The film is now closed captioned. Netflix or the producers fixed that.
I noticed that nobody has answered Z’s Mom question: “So! What are the ‘good’ Deaf movies?”

I will try to be short and say that I found this blog after watching the movie. I’m glad I didn’t read it before but I am glad I did read it after. It makes me want to watch the movie again to open my eyes to what negative commenters have described. I thought it was an emotional movie, definitely indie but I like that because it shows people (new directors/actors) are still trying to do what they love. Let’s take an opportunity to evaluate all the comments made to look through someone else’s eyes. Everyone has the right to make positive or negative comments and everyone has the right to say they were or weren’t offended. I think it’s important to show support to indie films and do not believe this film maker had any ill intention towards the Deaf community.

I will also say that I personally am interested and have been for some time in learning about the Deaf community so if someone could post their favorite movies I would personally love to watch them as well.

If you want to check more movies on Netflix that I highly recommend:

1. The Hammer.
2. And Your Name is Jonah.
3. Sound and Fury.
4. In the Land of The Deaf.

lol. am i the only one that finds it funny that a bunch of women are complaining about how bad some movie shown on lifetime was?

on a side note, everything you all have labeled as bad or ridiculous in this movie, the movie essentially points that out. never does it insinuate deaf people can’t drive, order their own food, or do things for themselves. it actually pushes the opposite of that. it’s a story about a young deaf girl with an overbearing mother that never let her do those things. she falls in love with a guy that encourages her to live for herself. the story would work out the same if she could hear, yet had the same type of mother that kept her away from the world. being deaf was just to add to the proverbial tug on the heartstrings because the guy wanted to write music for a living.

seriously what’s wrong with you guys? to much time and energy wasted reading way to far into things that just aren’t there.

I just finished watching this movie. It was painful to watch and rather cheesy. And yes, this movie has its flaws but I agree with jake when it comes to the mother. I do not believe that this movie was at all suggesting that deaf people can’t do anything themselves and depend on their parents for everything. The mother was clearly a controlling person. The fact that Sam is deaf is just another thing with which to control her by. The woman doesn’t even give Sam a chance to try and express what she wants to eat at the restaurant. I never assumed that this was implying that Sam could not do this herself. And the whole driving thing. Seriously people, again evil, overbearing, controlling monster mom. I don’t care if you’re deaf or not deaf, if someone doesn’t teach you to drive and doesn’t let you drive then you’re not going to know how.

The movie was a typical “sob” story, which is fine for dreamers of fiction. YES, it was FICTIONAL. A number of big errors disrupted my ability to truly enjoy the film near the end, that was very misleading to the public in regards to Cochlear Implants pushing uneducated parents to jump to implant babies (not wanting to be a “witch”)…Get it?
Example of seven points:
1. No mention of hearing-aids. A prerequisite before getting an invasive 100k cochlear implant. I know many who lost their hearing to meningitis at preschool age and all do NOT demonstrate the speech ability the actress expressed. *smile* *smile*

2. One cannot return 2 days later after surgery in a complete healed state WEARING the device. And behold! Hearing sounds already!! (this part was the MOST ridiculous).

3. It requires a month to heal. Then several “mapping” adjustments to do – Year(s). No rehabilitation or discomfortable was mentioned…a big happy go-lucky *smile* Duh.

4. The term “hearing-impaired” is considered derogatory to deaf culture. Even professionals use the term hard-of-hearing or deaf. Just to let one know, especially the actor who has “hearing-impaired” fans – must mean senior citizens perhaps?

5. The letter from cochlear implant company stating the “percentage” who benefit from CIs. There’s no true data. Call them up. A number thrown out from researchers who get funding from these large CI companies. Abstracts/theories are invalid. Zip-nada.

6. Makes one wonder if a CI company invested in the movie to mislead people to believe that’s it a miracle wonder at the click of a button? $$$ Who funded the movie?

7. The last *retching* part was “Sam” was immediately accepted to a prestigious music school, despite no music background, skills & just starting to learn sounds. Tells one how money can buy anything, eh? Title should be “Show me the Money Love”.

What whining little bitches. I’ve been deaf my whole life and I love the movie. Get over yourself; and at least attempt to understand what it was really about simpletons. You all seem to be so narrow minded that you become as ignorant as the percentage of society that subsides us and treats us as disabled. You are just feeding the fire here; basically stating that we are different when we aren’t. Movies and television are about plot and story; it’s entertainment, not real life. Wake up!

Thank you, michale!

This is my second time watching this movie and I was interested to read about the actress when I stumbled across this blog. People are.. I don’t even know. The story behind the movie is not to make it seem as if all deaf people have it this way. This was how ONE deaf girl’s life is, not ALL deaf people! Seriously, get over yourself. The movie is moving and if at the end of the movie all you feel is hate towards the producers, then you all have no hearts and no emotions. Any person – deaf or hearing would get touched by the plot.. That’s all I want to say..

I’m deaf, with a cochlear implant. Terrible movie on every level. They should have used a deaf actress. She might have helped make the details accurate, and the depiction of deaf women as something other than passive victims in need of hearing people to save them. Nauseating.

I enjoyed it. It was a good story. I’ve met deaf people living very productive lives. Some deaf people ARE over protected by their families. Some deaf people ARE NOT given the opportunities they should. You may feel personally hurt or angry, but it was a good movie and for those of us who can hear, it opened our eyes and our hearts (more) to the deaf community, regardless of who was used as an actress. Thank goodness life is getting better for people with disabilities. Everyone makes good points. But if you take a step back, it was a good story and you know what, I am reading what YOU wrote because of it. So keep writing and doing everything else you do! Thanks! – Neil

I can hear. I liked the movie. It doesn’t make me think deaf people are weak, sheltered, or stupid. It’s a MOVIE. Give us a little credit.

Here’s my thoughts,
I am a non-dead person and watching this movie which I felt definitely had moments of impact and sensitivity, in no way influenced or altered my view on deaf people. Non- deaf people can also be born into wealthy controlling families who make decisions for and speak for them in different ways and be challenged to chose between their own and their families wishes. I often find it interesting how everyone is supposed to be so politically correct these days towards any sort of minority group whilst at the same time, those same minority groups demand to be treated as equals. Maybe you could look at this as a film which was more about a girl having to chose between love and her own hearts desires and those of her family, a girl who just happened to be deaf, than a story about deaf people. Maybe the deafness ‘issue’ was the sideline and not the starring role.

Okay…. non-dead.. maybe you meant a hearing person.

Dear Internet, both non-hearing and hearing:

Here’s my take on this film, as a hearing person with even a passing exposure to deaf culture: while the film had some sweet sentiments- particularly its dedication- it had a facile opportunity to illuminate deaf culture a little in the mainstream media, and instead frustratingly cemented unfortunate common misconceptions.
It failed to differentiate early on Ariana’s capabilities as an intelligent human being, and the limits imposed upon her by her mother’s psychopathology. Accurately representing deaf persons as fully capable from the beginning- rather than eventually through the plot- would have mitigated some of the film’s other insults.
I was also deeply troubled that the film made no deliberation over Ariana’s decision to get a cochlear implant. Yes, she had been a hearing child and memories of her father’s music were important to her, especially for the plot; but instead of easily confirming the backstory of her decision, the film let it appear that deaf people are somehow “broken” and all want to be “fixed”.
It’s particularly unfortunate that a film trying to seem so sensitive about emotional issues- even in an overacted way- should so glaringly dismiss a culture it’s capitalizing on.

I thank this forum for its discussion of this film. While I enjoyed parts of the film’s humanity, I was rather disgruntled overall and curious as to the deaf community’s reaction. The variety of responses here has been pleasantly enlightening and validating!

This movie made me cringe… a lot. Ugh.

Just watched this movie. A lot of misinformation about the deaf world and how they seem to focus on hearing sounds at the end. Is that really important to a deaf person? It made me cringe!!! And the fact she lip read the guy! I couldn’t lip read him at all! gee!

Overall it was a cute, sappy and very sad movie that tried to touch people’s hearts.

Hello All,
Reading these comments I’m just wondering where all of the anger against this movie comes from? I’m surprise that many people with hearing loss have this anger? Of course it’s not “real life”, it’s just a movie. If it helps some people have a little bit more understanding about the lives of people with a hearing loss then that would be good thing.
It serves no point to take offense at every little thing in life…try dealing with Celiac disease, narcolepsy, Lyme’s disease. The world can’t know everything about every disease or condition that exists….negativity and anger is counter productive to healing, life and love.

I enjoyed the movie, it was not a documentary…but a love story about 2 people. Please lighten up all and heal your anger.


I really liked this movie. my brother is deaf with some cerebral palsy. I didn’t mind a bit about it. I’m also a bit of a musician. I give this movie two thumbs up. And I also think Sam was quite cute…and well a grat match to Danny. I could only bear to read very little about the “deaf community” on this website bashing the movie and its characters. I happen to have enjoyed the movie and felt inspired thru its music, message to love dearly, strive for your dreams, and well, enjoy music, and oh yeah, earn a decent living.
So I hope i’m not alone. And I’m sorry to hear that the “real deaf Community” felt left out and let down by this movie…perhaps it was directed to the general public, deaf or not…and…Dear Amy Cohen Efron…sorry this movie was not to you standards. Perhaps you should film your own and shown them how its done since Saying It Is Always Easier Thank DOING IT! thank you! Oscar the Spanish Michigander

This movie does not claim deaf people can’t order their own food, drive, or any of that. The plot is that her mother is controlling of her and not allowing her to do things. It has nothing to do with her being deaf. It is a great movie. Don’t judge it so harshly. I am sure that the deaf have actually been portrayed badly in other films, this is not one of them.

Agree they could have used a deaf person for this role. That said, the point of the relationship between Sam and her mother is not that deaf people are helpless or stupid. The point is that some parents of deaf children (or hearing children, for that matter) are over-protective and controlling. Helen Keller’s father was such a person until Ann Sullivan finally convinced him that Helen could learn to communicate, even though she was both deaf and blind.
As a matter of fact, Sam in this movie proves to be extremely intelligent, once she is away from her mother’s control.
People who grow up in the type of environment that Sam had, whether hearing impaired or not, have a difficult time breaking away, even as an adult. I have known a couple of real-life examples. They were terrified of being away from the controlling parent. Their parents should have been arrested for child abuse. By the way, one of them was a girl who suffered a severe brain injury as a teen. The other was not impaired in any way, except socially which was a result of the environment in which he was raised.

The best element is, you won’t even be able to tell the difference between your beats and
beats made in real recording studios. A lot
of engineering producers start out as either
mixing engineers or assistant engineers to record label producers.
What I notice about the kids who have difficulty keeping a beat is that they usually did
not attend baby music classes, not mine or any music classes.

Personally, I enjoyed the movie because it was very emotional.
I didn’t take it as the producers interionally trying to mislead
people or stereotype deaf people. I think that too many people
are way too overly sensitive and let every little thing upset
them. Just take as it was a good movie and not every movie
Is completely factul, that why they are called movies. I would
give this movie a five star rating because although deaf people
can drive, order their own food and badically do most anything
that hearing person can, there are parents like the mom in the
whom do actuslly act this controlling and insensitive. So I say
stop knocking the movie with all of your strikes and look as it
was intended to be and that is a good heart touching movie,
nothing more and nothing less.

I just watched this movie for the very first time. I am not deaf. I was trying to find information on the actress and ended up here. Sorry, what a bunch of losers. My brother died of a Glio brain tumor seven years ago. Their depiction of that didn’t match my experience EXACTLY in the movie, so should I stomp and pout about that? It’s entertainment – a love story, not a documentary. I loved the movie and it had nothing to do with it being a great depiction of people with a hearing disability. If I was looking at wanting to learn more about the deaf I wouldn’t rent this movie. This blog tells me much more about the “real deaf” than the movie ever did. The movie may not be an “accurate representation” of what YOU (collectively) want the world to see, but unfortunately, this blog probably is. So sad….

This movie s NOT condicending to anyone except to normal hearing People. I have a serious hearing problem and as you surely know, normal hearing folks just don’t get the difficulty. The last 25 or 30 years of my 76 have been with very poor hearing. Everybody should watch this if just because it is a great movie. It also provides a clear picture for all to understand. I have become pretty cynical, please don’t join me!,

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