I’ve seen it all too often. Parents who treat their kids like dolls rather than actual human beings. They dress them up, play with them, and when they’re done, they put them back on the shelf until the next day. But imagine if your “doll” wasn’t perfect— a broken arm, or missing an eye. We put that doll in a box and go back to the perfect ones.
“…draws attention to the controversy…between lip reading and speech therapy over the use of sign language.”
Joanne, an advocate for the deaf and Libby, quickly discerns that there is nothing wrong with Libby, except she is ignored by her busy parents and siblings. By introducing sign language, Joanne able to makes a connection with Libby.
Chris Overton’s short film, The Silent Child, is a powerful story about a family with two perfect children and a third not-so-perfect. The story opens with Joanne played by the film’s writer Rachel Shenton. She is hired to watch over Libby (Maisie Sly), who is deaf. Libby has shown abnormal behavioral problems and refuses to communicate with her mother, Sue (Rachel Fielding).
“…hits all the right emotions: frustration, anger, isolation with glimpses of hope.”
Rachel Shenton’s story of The Silent Child draws attention to the controversy amongst the hearing-impaired community between lip reading and speech therapy over the use of sign language. Her decision is not what’s best for Libby but what’s convenient for Sue and her family.
Director Chris Overton pulls you along on this insightful story of ignored potential. The film boasts exceptional acting across the board, especially between the leads Shenton and Sly. The Silent Child hits all the right emotions: frustration, anger, isolation with glimpses of hope.
The film seeks to raise awareness for mainstream school to provide specialist support for deaf students. While a noble calling, the cause feels like a small slice of the whole story. If anything, the film succeeds in raising awareness to the way we see children with disabilities. Libby is a normal girl with a disability—emphasis on normal. The Silent Child illuminates the intrinsic value of children, perfect and not.
The Silent Child (2017) Directed by Chris Overton. Written by Rachel Shenton. Starring Rachel Shenton, Maisie Sly, Rachel Fielding, Philip York. The
4.5 out of 5 stars