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The Sound of Metal

ccywes's picture

For this week, I decided to watch the sound of metal. After the first few scence, I was expecting to watch a movie about a person that becomes deaf and resists learning deaf culture at any opportunity. However, as the movie progresses, and Ruben becomes more immersed in the deaf community, I saw Ruben's character development. Despite the fact that Ruben is portrayed as an addict and admits to being a heroin user, one thing I appreciated is that this movie does not center itself around Ruben as an addict, but rather Ruben as a person struggling to fit into his new community. It would have been easy to create a scene where Ruben relapses, goes back to his old life, and never comes to appreciate sitting in silence, as he does in the last scene of the movie. 

Another set of scenes I found to be extremely powerful were the meal scenes. During his first few days at the community house, Ruben sits down to eat and is portrayed as if he is an outsider. He is unable to communicate the way the rest of his deaf community members do and is therefore unable to participate in their dinnertime conversation. He simply sits and eats. Later in the movie, although his sign language skills are not the sharpest, Ruben is shown actively participating in the dinnertime conversation, adding in jokes and laughing with the rest of the table. This shows not only character development, but also helps the viewer learn about deaf culture and the communication styles people have. During the meal, characters are shown signing with one hand or using the hand with a utensil in it, modifying their signs so they can eat and communicate at the same time. I found this extremely interesting and something I never though about before. While talking with your mouth full is frowned upon, it is easy to do. However, when your only method of communication. relies on having two free hands, it becomes extremely difficult to multitask. Ruben's ability to eat and sign in the latter of the meal scenes shows his integration into the community.