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Rated 3.01 stars
by 151 people

ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Falling in Love with a Documentary
by Betty Jo Tucker

I never expected to fall in love with a documentary. But that happened to me while watching Moonlight Sonata: Deafness in Three Movements. I couldn’t stop crying when this remarkable film ended. Its humanity and beauty absolutely overwhelmed me. The precious home videos of a deaf young boy trying to find his voice and learning to play one of music’s iconic compositions, as well as those of his caring family members got to me big time. Because I hear only about 10% of any sounds around me now, my sensitivity to this movie’s theme is probably enhanced. Still, I think anyone who enjoys seeing almost impossible obstacles being challenged should put this offering on their must-see list.  

The movie’s soothing, articulate narrator moves this true story along with just the right pace. (If I were Czarina of the movies I would decree that she or Sam Elliott narrate every film.)

Fortunately for viewers, the grandfather was interested in film and encouraged his daughter to film everything. That’s why we get to see real photos and clips of three generations, sometimes in quite revealing intimate interactions. Deafness has been an issue in each generation. Some are born deaf while others can hear. And sometimes the hearing loss comes later. One family member with cochlear implants even turns his off at times because being able to have complete silence “is a superpower.”           

Hard to describe this film’s beauty

or how deep the movie touched me.

Growing up mixed with growing old

and deafness thrown into the fold.


“Moonlight Sonata.” Classic one

composed by the great Beethoven,

 weaves in and out as a child tries

   to play it right before our eyes.  


He’s deaf and tries to learn the piece.

He loves it more than “Fur Elise.”

We want him to succeed, for sure.

Our empathy he does capture.


Will family, love, persistence

 help a brave boy go the distance?

This documentary is great!

    It rightly wins my highest rate.    

Although not an animated documentary, this one uses animation in a most creative way. It shows images of Beethoven composing “Moonlight Sonata” at the time he was losing his hearing. I believe these interludes help us feel an emotional impact that only animation could induce.

Everyone connected with this film should be praised, including the patient piano teacher and the Beethoven expert who’s called in to help the talented youngster with his piano lessons.

Bravo to director Irene Taylor Brodsky for bringing this inspiring story to life on screen.   

(Released by Abramorama. Not rated by MPAA.)

For more information about the film, go to the IMDb or Rotten Tomatoes site.

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