The Miracle Worker (1962) Movie Review

By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) –

Helen Keller is one of the most iconic historical figures of all time. Many admire her with awe as she was able to live a beautiful life in spite of being blind, deaf, and (for a large portion of her life) mute. When she was a child, her parents debated about institutionalizing their disabled daughter… until Anne Sullivan came along. Half-blind herself, Sullivan did what many would consider to be a miracle- help Helen Keller communicate. Such an inspiring story inspired William Gibson to dramatize that miracle into a seminal work in American drama, and he even adapted that same play into one of the most celebrated films ever made. The Miracle Worker is one of the greatest films ever shot in black-and-white because it honors the legacy of Helen Keller even though she herself could never (supposedly) see the color of the world around her.

A Toast

This film features two of the greatest Oscar-winning performances from women in cinematic history. Anne Bancroft created one of her most signature roles as Anne Sullivan even she added to her fame with the release of The Graduate five years later in 1967. Patty Duke became one of the youngest actresses to win an Academy Award for playing Helen Keller, and famously thanked George Chakiris and everyone in the audience on Oscar night with just two words–“Thank you.” Gibson brilliantly adapts his own play into an Oscar-nominated screenplay even though the winner was To Kill a Mockingbird. Nevertheless, The Miracle Worker continues to stand the test of time by presenting to audiences the true story of one of the most famous women who has ever lived. The original play and this film adaptation both have the power to teach audiences that perseverance is a key to success.


Verdict

The Miracle Worker truly is one of the most miraculous motion pictures ever made (pun intended). Not only is it a historical drama, but it is a timeless film that presents the fundamental fact that people with disabilities still have the ability to overcome obstacles. Anne Sullivan never gave up, and neither should anyone who feels like losing hope. The Miracle Worker really is a testament to the enduring power of the human spirit, and reveals that the determination to succeed is an important factor when it comes to thriving in a very diverse world.

The Miracle Worker (1962) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time Helen Keller acts out as she struggles to cope with her disabilities

Take a Drink: for every usage of sign language

Drink some Water: whenever W-A-T-E-R holds symbolic meaning in the film

And then Celebrate with your Favorite Drink: when this film reminds viewers that miracles really are possible!

About Alex Phuong

Alex Andy Phuong earned his Bachelor of Arts in English from California State University-Los Angeles in 2015. His love affair with cinema began after discovering Turner Classic Movies in the summer of 2004. His favorite film director is Woody Allen, and his favorite movie star is Kate Winslet.

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