When you watch Mandy, you can’t help but feel it was a film ahead of its time. The story of a deaf girl unable to speak, the new Blu-ray is the perfect chance to watch the movie again.
When Mandy’s (Mandy Miller) parents discover that their child is deaf, they struggle to help her communicate not only with the outside world, but with themselves too. When Christine (Phyllis Calvert), the mother, decides to take Mandy to a school for deaf children, her husband’s reluctance to allow this puts a strain on their marriage.
What is impressive about Mandy is that it doesn’t over dramatise the story of a little girl trapped in her own little world, but take a serious tone that pushes the most important element at the audience, the well-being of Mandy.
While her parents fight over how she should be looked after, throughout the film we see the girl come out of her shell and learn how to communicate. It is telling that it is Mandy’s teacher Searle (Jack Hawkins) that sums up the problem with the parents when he simply tells them he doesn’t care about their marital problems, he just wants to be able to teach and help the children. Though arguably some of his actions have caused further problems in the marriage.
In the film, while the actress who plays Mandy may not have been really deaf, she puts on a performance that easily gives that impression. We are able to see the girl’s frustration at not being able to communicate, there are also moments that all sound in the film is cut off to further place us into her world. What is most important though is the way we see her learn to speak.
Filmed with the help of a school for deaf children, the techniques used with Mandy are realistic and further push that the importance is pulling the character out of the little world she is trapped in. The inclusion of deaf children in the film also further adds to the heart-warming nature of the film, as we see that with help, they are able to blossom. If anything, it is the blindness of the able-bodied that holds them back.
One thing to note about Mandy is that it is very much a film of its time, but also one that pushes against the social norms. We have the father (Terence Morgan) who expects his wife to do as she is told, and that it is his job to help Mandy, even if it holds her back in the progress. It is his pigheadedness that is the major hurdle in the film, and he can be an annoying character. While his actions can be understood, they can never be said to be right. If anything, he represents the blindness of stuffiness of a society that needed to change, to provide help instead of hinder it.
Now celebrating its 65-year anniversary this is the perfect time to watch Mandy. It shows how far we’ve come from a time of almost being ashamed of people society classes as “not normal” and how now thankfully, we look to understanding and education as an approach to helping instead of hindering them. With a brilliant performance by Mandy Miller, this is one movie that manages to stick in your mind for a long time.
Mandy is available on DVD and Blu-ray in the UK now.