From Director Matt Daniels: THE MIRACLE WORKER

"Deaf, blind, mute -- who knows? She is like a little safe, locked, that no one can open. Perhaps there is a treasure inside.”

We all have a sense of the basic story: At 19 months old, Helen Keller was thrust into a world of perpetual silent darkness. Unable to communicate beyond a few rudimentary gestures, her family was stymied ... how to care for this person, so obviously stricken by disability, growing up as a kind of barely tamed animal in the house. Living in a rural community, (though not without resources), the Kellers had nearly resigned themselves to giving up on Helen, until in a last ditch effort they hired a teacher to try one last time to reach their daughter. Through a special combination of empathy, respect, tenacity, and sheer force of will, that teacher, Annie Sullivan is able to break through.

This story, over a hundred years removed from the true events it dramatizes, is more important than ever. Yes, it is a soaring tribute to the indomitable human spirit. But it is also about meeting societal challenges through engagement instead of derision. It is about the importance of the teacher in every one of our lives. It is about seeing and acknowledging the true, full, and valid life of every person, regardless of their ability.

Because the part of the story most of us don't know is this: Helen Keller went on to be the first deaf-blind person to graduate from college (cum laude, Radcliffe). She went on to a life of social activism, including co-founding the American Civil Liberties Union, fighting for worker's rights, working tirelessly for the American Federation ofthe Blind, and acting as America's first Goodwill Ambassador during WWII. She was friends with Mark Twain, Albert Einstein, and Eleanor Roosevelt. She learned several languages, including their braille counterparts, received six honorary doctorates, and fought for humanitarian causes until she died in 1968.

There was indeed a treasure inside. And Annie Sullivan, THE MIRACLE WORKER, using language as the key, would not rest until she uncovered it.

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