Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Mockingbird Don't Sing (2001)

A horrific story of child abuse.

Mockingbird Don't Sing is an American independent film which is based on the true story of Genie, a modern-day feral child. The film is told from the point of view of Dr. Susan Curtiss (whose fictitious name is Sandra Tannen), a professor of linguistics at University of California, Los Angeles. Although the film is based on a true story, all of the names are fictitious for legal reasons. The name "Genie" has been changed to "Katie". The film was released to US theaters on May 4, 2001. It won first prize for best screenplay at the Rhode Island International Film Festival (tied with Wings of Hope).

From the age of one and a half to thirteen, Katie, was imprisoned by her parents. Locked in a room, tied and immobile, bound to a "potty-chair", Katie endured years of isolated silence punctuated by brutality. When Katie’s case finally came to public attention she was moved to a hospital in Los Angeles, where it was discovered she had never been taught to speak. Katie was an anomaly, a modern day Wild Child. Medical and psychological doctors descended on the girl in droves, often with selfish motivations in this heart-breaking story. With stunning care to detail Mockingbird Don’t Sing tells Katie’s story of imprisonment, discovery and her difficult road to joining the human family as a beautiful young woman.

First, a couple technical details which are not included in Amazon's technical details info... the DVD is presented in full screen, although clearly the movie was filmed in widescreen. Surprisingly, although presented in full screen format, the audio is presented in true Dolby Digital 5.1. The audio quality is very good, although there is nothing particularly challenging in the soundtrack content to tax one's system.

That out of the way, I must mention that the overall acting calibre in this film was only a touch above what one would see in a "made-for-TV" movie. The story itself is interesting, but the half-hearted acting never let the story get completely off the ground and into your soul. The twenty minute Dr. Susan Curtis interview will completely bore you to tears unless you are an aspiring linguist. If you insist on watching it, at least keep your eyes closed because the doctor is, how to put it kindly... well, more than a bit freaky and weird in appearance and mannerism. I can't comment on the director's commentary, as I did not want to watch the movie a second time with the commentary. Considering the full screen presentation and lackluster acting in conjunction with the high asking price of the DVD, I would have to recommend against purchasing this DVD. By Whodathotit

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