Movie Review – ‘Amy’ (1981 Film)

Hello everyone! 🙂

Welcome to ‘Bradley’s Basement’ blog and I’m Tim Bradley!

Last Friday, my parents and I saw a 1981 drama film on Disney+ called ‘Amy’, starring Jenny Agutter. It was a very interesting film to sit through. I’ve not heard of this film before and it was amazing to find it on Disney+. There are so many films featured on Disney+ that don’t get discussed a lot about.

The film is set in 1913 America and has Jenny Agutter playing Amy Medford, a woman who leaves her possessive and wealthy husband to pursue a new life teaching speech to deaf students at a school for blind and deaf children in the rural Appalachian Mountains. A fascinating topic dealt with.

Jenny Agutter is well-known nowadays for playing Sister Julienne in ‘Call the Midwife’. She’s also been in a number of adaptations of ‘The Railway Children’ including the 1970 film and the 2000 ITV adaptation. It was fascinating to see her in this 1981 film before she went on to do ‘Call the Midwife’.

I enjoyed the journey Amy went through in encountering resistance from those who question whether it’s even possible to teach speech to children with hearing impairments. Amy forms close bonds with the staff and children as she builds a new life for herself and gaining her own personal strength.

As well as Jenny Agutter, the cast also includes Barry Newman as Dr. Ben Corcoran, whom Amy forms a romantic attachment to in the film. There’s also Kathleen Nolan as Helen Gibbs, Chris Robinson as Elliot Medford who is Amy’s domineering husband, and Lou Fant as Lyle Ferguson. There’s also Margaret O’Brien as Hazel Johnson and Nanette Fabray as Malvina.

It was pretty fascinating to see the children at the deaf-and-blind school and how Jenny interacted with them. She forms a very close bond with Henry, a young boy who begins to learn how to talk when Amy is teaching the students at the school. 🙂 I like how that relationship gets developed.

Later in 1982, the Disney Educational Services used an excerpted sequence from the film for educational use which was entitled ‘Amy-on-the-Lips’. I’m not sure about the historical accuracy of the film, but the deaf-blind aspects of the film must’ve been real. It’s intriguing how it’s touched on.

I’m also curious why a British actress like Jenny Agutter would get cast in the film considering most of the cast are American. I’m assuming Jenny Agutter might be using an American accent in the film, but it’s hard to tell as she could’ve been an English woman living in an American society in the story.

There are things about this film that didn’t satisfy me. One was the ending. The ending is quite downbeat, especially after the death of one of the mature students who ran away after knocking out a boy who was bullying him. The mature student got killed when running on a train track in the film.

I’m also disappointed that the boy who bullied the mature student didn’t get disciplined like he should’ve done, especially when Henry was protecting the mature student from the bully. It’s something that never gets explored in the film, but then life matters aren’t that easily resolved here.

It’s also intriguing that the husband who comes to get Amy back just leaves her suitcases as he goes before the end credits rolled up. I did get a feeling of “Is that it?” and wondered whether Amy and Dr. Ben Corcoran ever got married in the end. Maybe it’s something that we aren’t meant to know.

‘Amy’ has been a fascinating period drama film to watch here. I wouldn’t say it was a great drama film as the ending could’ve been more upbeat. But the tackling of the deaf-blind students issue was well-handled and the performances of the cast led by Jenny Agutter are very good as far as I’m concerned here.

Thanks for reading!

Bye for now!

Tim. 🙂

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