Something I found really interesting about Sound of Metal was the exploration of the relationship between Ruben and Lou, and how it changes as Ruben becomes deaf. I was initially struck by Lou's reaction: she was supportive and prioritized Ruben's changing needs, even though she was also scared about what this change would mean for both Ruben and their relationship. She and Ruben wanted to process this change together, but processing Ruben's deafness proved to require the two being apart. As Ruben became his own person and explored his deafness and his addictions outside of the context of his relationship with Lou, he seemed to become healthier and more complete. However, he was still driven by his love for Lou when he was considering the decision of getting a cochlear implant--he made the choice as much for her as for himself. I think this is ultimately why he moves away from both the CI and from Lou at the end of the movie: both tie him to a previous life in fundamental ways, and thus inhibit his ability to be a part of the Deaf community and adapt to his new world. The deep ties between love, memories, and growth were prevalent throughout the film, and I would love to hear others' opinions on the parallels and symbolism of a romantic relationship to one's acceptance of (dis)ability!
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