Speech Therapy in Cinema

Date: 20th October 2014

Posted on: 20-10-2014

 With two films on the horizon featuring the stories of people with communication difficulties, this week we are looking at the portrayal of communication disabilities and speech therapy in cinema.

First up is the documentary looking at the life of Orange Juice frontman Edwyn Collins which premieres at the London Film Fesival this month. The new film is called,The Possibilities are Endless – a reference to one of the few phrases Edwyn could manage during his long early months in hospital after a stroke. Edwyn’s story of his improving language abilities and his use of drawing will be covered.

Eddie Redmayne takes the lead role in the Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything, where he portrays the physicist across his adult life including over the progression of the impacts of motor neurone disease and his use of AAC. Here’s a link to the film’s trailer (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OUpl0HDGq1Q) which is due for release on November 7. 

Perhaps the most famous film to date looking at speech therapy is the multi award winning The King’s Speech (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1504320/), which is also due to be turned into a stage production. The King’s Speech detailed the work of Australian speech therapist Lionel Logue and his work with King George VI who stammered/stuttered. Here is a list of other films which looked at topics related to speech therapy:

* The Diving Bell and The Butterfly – a look at locked in syndrome and AAC in the self-written biopic of Jean-Dominique Bauby


*  Sound And Fury (2000) which explores the complex decisions related to cochlear implants and the deaf community 


* Hear And Now (2007)  – A documentary memoir following a filmmaker’s deaf parents as they receive a complex surgical implant, which allows them to experience sound for the first time.


* Autism: The Musical (2007) – Follows five autistic children as they work together to create and perform a live musical production.


* Wretches and Jabberers (2011) – a documentary featuring two men with autism who embark on a global quest to change prevailing attitudes about disability and intelligence. With limited speech, Tracy Thresher, 42, and Larry Bissonnette, 52, both faced lives of mute isolation in adult disability centres. When they learned as adults to communicate by typing, their lives changed dramatically. 


* My Left Foot (1989) featured Daniel Day Lewis as Christy Brown who had cerebral palsy and learnt to write and paint using his foot. The film won 2 Oscars.



What other films have you seen which feature speech therapy related topics?



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