Once a week, my husband goes to the video store on the way home from work and rents DVD’s for our entertainment. As he is a macho kinda guy, we tend to watch a lot of action movies (though earlier this week we finally watched Okuribito – very good!!) Anyway, last night we watched Bangkok Dangerous in which Nicholas Cage appears as a killer-for-hire. Most interesting to me about this movie was the love interest, a beautiful deaf pharmacist that the Gage character meets when looking to get a wound treated.
In contrast to the sleazy dancers elsewhere in the film, this woman was portrayed as silent, mysterious and pure. (Perhaps this is the male ideal? The number one hostess in Japan is a deaf woman who consoles men with calligraphy.) At any rate, I appreciated that this woman was a professional, and that her deafness was not portrayed as negative. There were a few things that bordered on the unbelievable, however. Although the woman could lip read and write in English, the two rarely communicated via writing. And the Cage character doesn’t even find out the woman’s name until after their first date, when he visits her house.
My own daughter is sometimes a mystery to me, but she is not demure or silent, and she uses any means at her disposal to communicate with those around her. She signs, writes, and draws pictures. Sometimes she yells. And whenever she meets a new person, the first thing she wants to know is their name.
“Bangkok Dangerous” isn’t the best movie of all time, and there have been better representations of deaf individuals in film. Nevertheless, I am always happy to encounter deaf characters positively portrayed in movies and books.