Movie Reviews: And Your Name Is Jonah (United States, 1979)

Figure 1.--This is the moment Jonah learns to communicate. He goes around the park naming things using sign language. An image show his hearing aid equipment. The moment he tells another child in his class his name.

Jonah Corelli is a lonely deaf boy. He has been misdiagnosed as mentally retarded. The specialists assure them that the boy is retarded and discourage the parents efforts to work with him. His parents allow him to be instituionalized. He is thus placed with retarded children even though he has normal intelligence. And he spends 3 years there. This was a particular problem with deaf children who can appear to be retarded if there defness is not recognized. Jonah's mother (Sally Struthers) and father (James Woods) are shocked to learn that the diagnosis was wrong. They then struggle in trying to establish communication from their seemingly unresponsive boy. Jonah's parents, however, after lengthy efforts manage to teach Jonah to sign. It was a very emotional moment when the lauguage breakthrough happened. Jeffrey Bravin, a9-year old boy, who is really deaf gives a moving performance as the undisciplined, untrained Jonah. The film then depicts Jonah's efforts to begin a whole new life as he learns sign language. The film does a good job of addressing a serious problem and Jeffrey gives a beautiful performance. The original version made no effort to dd subtitles or signing.


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Created: 4:18 AM 4/13/2011
Last updated: 4:18 AM 4/13/2011