Sweet Nothing in My Ear is a television movie that debuted on the CBS television network as a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie on April 20, 2008. The film is directed by Joseph Sargent, and is based on a 1998 play of the same name by Stephen Sachs, who also wrote the teleplay. It stars Jeff Daniels and Marlee Matlin as the parents of a Deaf child, played by Noah Valencia, who struggle with deciding to give their child an implant that will allow him to hear again.
With the film Hallmark Channel and producer-director Joseph Sargent revisited deafness with a universal theme contemplating the relationship of a minority group to society at large, 23 years after their previous film around a similar theme, the Emmy-winning Love Is Never Silent (1985).
Daniels studied American Sign Language before filming, in order to portray the language accurately.
Dan and Laura Miller (Daniels, Matlin) have been married for several years, referring to each other as their "best friend," but their relationship begins to change when their only son, Adam (Valencia), loses his hearing at the age of four. At first his parents accept this change because Laura is Deaf herself. Though later, Dan begins to explore the idea that with a surgical procedure and cochlear implants his son may be able to hear once again.
Throughout the movie, situations arise (such as Adam getting hurt and not hearing his father's call of warning or seeing his sign language) where hearing would be advantageous in everyday life. This particular situation reinforces Dan's standpoint towards the surgical procedure. On the other side of the coin, other moments show how being Deaf helps prevent distraction.
A rift forms between Dan and Laura when Dan starts to favor the procedure and Laura and her deaf parents oppose it. Soon what opens up is a larger issue of deaf pride, also ethical issues around Cochlear implants and its effect of the Deaf culture, as Laura's father Max, a Deaf pride advocate, puts it, "The majority always thinks each minority wants to be like them", as he doesn't consider deafness a disability, and hence remains against the implants. Dan, on the other hand, sees this a deaf prejudice against him and others who can hear, when he simply wants to give his son a better future.
Soon, they take the dispute to a child custody hearing, which is played throughout the movie bits at a time. Later on, Dan (who had been staying somewhere else during this dispute) returns home to talk to Laura, signing how he misses his best friend. Laura too, admits that she misses her best friend. While they both have clearly established their standpoint on whether Adam should get the cochlear impant, they both agree that their son needs both of them, just like they need each other.
- Marlee Matlin as Laura Miller
- Jeff Daniels as Dan Miller
- Noah Valencia as Adam Miller
- Rosemary Forsyth as Louise MIller
- Sonya Walger as Joanna Tate
- Ed Waterstreet as Max
- Phyllis Frelich as Sally
- David Oyelowo as Leonard Grisham
- Deanne Bray as Dr Walters
- Shoshannah Stern as Valerie Park
- Deaf culture
- ^ Sweet Nothing in My Ear CBS, Official website.
- ^ a b Sweet Nothing in My Ear LA Weekly, April 16, 2008.
- ^ a b Sweet Nothing in My Ear Variety.
- ^ a b Sweet Nothing in My Ear The Hollywood Reporter.
- ^ Overview New York Times.
- Sweet Nothing in My Ear at the Internet Movie Database
- Sweet Nothing in My Ear at TV.com
- Sweet Nothing in My Ear at CBS.com
- Sweet Nothing in My Ear at Hallmark.com