The Miracle Worker (2000 film)
|The Miracle Worker|
|Directed by||Nadia Tass|
|Produced by||Adam Shankman
|Written by||Monte Merrick|
|Starring||Hallie Kate Eisenberg
|Music by||William Goldstein|
|Edited by||Maryann Brandon
|Distributed by||The Wonderful World of Disney|
|Release dates||November 12, 2000|
This movie is the story about Annie Sullivan, (Alison Elliott), and her efforts in working with a young sullen Helen Keller (Hallie Kate Eisenberg). The movie focuses on Annie’s struggle to draw Helen, a blind, deaf and mute girl out of her world of darkness and silence. Helen has been unable to communicate with her family except through physical temper tantrums since a childhood illness took her three senses from her at the age of 19 months old. She is allowed to eat with her hands, knock over or break anything and basically do whatever else she desires. All of this while being looked at with pity by her family. Her family loves her but they are all convinced she is a dumb, soft-brained child with the intelligence of an animal who will never learn anything. She is barely pacified with candy when she throws a tantrum and is headed toward institutionalization in a sanitarium when Annie Sullivan enters her life as Helen’s parents' last-ditch effort to avoid the inevitable.
Plagued with vision problems of her own and orphaned at a young age, Annie Sullivan has the right mix of steeliness, empathy and patience to turn her young student's behavior around and teach her language. Annie’s job as Helen’s teacher is made more difficult by Helen’s imperious plantation-owner father, Captain Keller (David Strathairn), and her overly soft-hearted mother, Kate Keller (Kate Greenhouse), when they doubt her authority and challenge her methods. Annie’s goal is to not just teach Helen to behave but to break through to her with the gift of communication. Using sign language and signing the letters to spell words in Helen’s open palm, Annie makes large strides toward improving Helen’s behavior.
After two weeks of living alone with Helen in a small house on the Keller family plantation Annie is still unable to reach a break through with Helen when her mandated time deadline is reached. During Helen’s homecoming dinner she begins to revert to her old ways of acting. Annie takes Helen outside to refill a water pitcher she spilled during a tantrum at the pump and the long-awaited breakthrough is made. Helen makes the connection that the words Annie has been spelling in her open palm are in reality the communicative representation of those things in the physical world around her. The word “water” is the wet fluid coming out of the water pump. With this connection the doorway for communication is opened to Helen, and she can now survive and thrive in the world through the eyes and ears of others.
- Hallie Kate Eisenberg as Helen Keller
- Alison Elliott as Annie Sullivan
- David Strathairn as Captain Arthur H. Keller
- Kate Greenhouse as Katherine Adams Keller
- Lucas Black as James Keller