Wednesday, February 26, 2014

And Your Name is Jonah

The cover art for And Your Name is Jonah, showing the title character riding his bicycle down the road.
The cover art for And Your Name is Jonah.
And Your Name is Jonah is a 1979 made-for-television movie starring Jeffrey Bravin in the title role, with Sally Struthers and James Woods playing Jonah's parents.

In the movie, young Jonah has just left a mental hospital, where he has spent three years as a result of misdiagnosis of mental retardation. As it turns out, Jonah is actually deaf. His mother becomes his loyal champion, entering a world she is very unfamiliar with - the world of speech therapy, hearing aids, and American Sign Language.

And Your Name is Jonah is streaming with subtitles on Netflix, and so I watched it earlier this week. It's a very moving film. You can feel Jonah's isolation and inability to communicate. The movie also manages to get the emotions of everyone else across, from his father's total confusion about what to do with his son to his grandfather's complete acceptance of Jonah as who he is. The last scenes of the movie, as Jonah learns there is a way for him to communicate, is wonderful.

It was fascinating to see how deafness was approached in the late 70s/early 80s. The hearing aid Jonah had to wear is very different from the ones I was given in the early 90s. It was interesting to see the very realistic way the movie portrayed speech therapy and the Deaf community.

While looking for information on the film, I found out that when it was originally shown on CBS it did not have any type of captioning (open captions had only just begun about six years earlier and closed captions began in 1980). This article by Jamie Berke explains her annoyance at not being able to watch the movie, which ironically helped a classmate understand her better. I'm glad it's now available much more readily.

4 comments:

  1. You might want to fix your pronouns at the end of the article. Jamie Berke is female.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey You can make order DVD for And Your Name Is Jonah would i like it Because I love it watch keep over agan over again that why my favorite show And Your Name Is Jonah .. You can do it make it order DVD Movie please ... Include Closed Caption too . I will hear from your answer to me ... Thank You..

    ReplyDelete
  3. Jeff Bravin is now the Executive Director for The American School for the Deaf in West Hartford CT

    ReplyDelete

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