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on February 26, 2005
Is it possible to watch the 2000 version of The Miracle Worker and not compare it to the 1962 classic? Is it possible to not be a bit prejudiced in favor of the version we saw with our parents and treasured in our memories all of these years?

I very much liked this newer version. Does it lack some of the passion of the original? Maybe. But what it may lack in passion, it gains in clarity. Yes, the storyline is clearer. The dialogue is easier to understand. The goals of the characters are more concrete. The sign language is not as rushed. The stepson has greater depth. There are fewer rantings and ravings of the original's cartoonish father. Best of all, I feel like I learned more.

Having read the other reviews I was reluctant to rent this Disney version. But I am now happy that I did. And I hope this wonderful story is told and retold by future filmmakers - and I hope I'm around to learn even more about this remarkable student and her teacher.
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on June 30, 2003
After I watched this movie, I still like the original 1962 better. Why? Because it has more emotional impact in it, and it has really funny scenes like the "feeling emotions on faces" the original has. The "battle of wills" is more tame in this (the Disney version) one than the original. I've noticed they left out some really good scenes that was from the original.
This version from Disney is ok. The actress who played Anne Sullivan did good, but I like the original James (Helen's half-brother) better than this one. The little girl who played Helen in this version is not as good as Patty Duke, but she did well.
If I had a choice, I'd pick the original. But this is good to watch too, if you want to see both versions, even though it is MUCH different than the 1962 movie.
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on May 25, 2001
I was very excited that there was another "Miracle Worker" coming out, but unfortunately I was very, very, disapointed! I have seen both of the first ones many times and I love them both! Patty Duke is amazing! I would not recomend this movie at all, yes, Helen is very cute in it but the acting is rigid and stale. I want the old spirit back!
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on August 1, 2012
It seems many of the low-scoring reviews for this movie are a result of comparing this DVD with earlier (more famous) versions. I have not seen either earlier version, so I can only rate this movie on its own merits. For me, and the Freshmen English classes I have taught in the past, this DVD does a good job of bringing Gibson's play to life. Many of my students are reading below grade level, and it is often hard for them to visualize what is occurring on the page. Showing the movie transported them back to 1880s Alabama and helped them understand the social context of Keller and Sullivan's remarkable achievement. Yes, acting at times was a bit caricaturish, but overall DVD helped enhance kids' understanding and appreciation of the story.

BTW, if any use this DVD for classroom instruction/enrichment, be sure to pause on graphic after the famous water pump scene. Keller and Sullivan's story does not end with the unlocking of language; their greatest achievement was working toward creating a more equitable society for all.
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on December 28, 2001
Ok, so maybe it doesn't have the same spark as the original "Miracle Worker" with Patty Duke and Anne Bancroft did, but it worked. There was nothing wrong with this movie. It's an extremely sensitive retelling of the classic story of a deaf, blind and mute little girl who learned to communicate through the tireless teachings of Annie Sullivan. This version was VERY different, and the acting was not quite as passionate as it was in the original movie, but what can I say? I still loved it. Hallie Kate Eisenberg is, without a doubt, absolutely adorable and Alison Elliott does an excellent job in her role as Ms. Sullivan. I do have to admit that it was quite a stretch to see Eisenberg, whom we all recognize as "The Pepsi Girl," taking on such a complex role. Portraying Helen Keller has got to be extremely difficult, and I'm sure many people feel that Eisenberg wasn't able to pull it off. But in my opinion, she did fine in the role. This movie profiles a more prim and graceful Helen who wears pretty dresses with laces and fancy shoes. It's quite a difference from Patty Duke and her more raggedy wardrobe, but who cares? They obviously wanted to give Helen Keller a different sort of style this time around, and hey, it works. And it isn't the clothes that matter in this case--it's the way the story is told. And this movie doesn't stretch or deface the facts, so it's good. Of course, this version didn't outdo the original--I have a hard time believing that anyone would expect it to, anyway. But that's not the point. This is merely just a modern-day retelling of a true story. Maybe this is the type of story that many people believe isn't a story of "sensitivity," but sensitivity is undoubtedly important. While the 1962 version was absolutely outstanding, there wasn't as much sensitivity in it as there could have been. This new version has more of that, and that's good. Eisenberg made the ending of the movie a thoroughly touching and unforgettable one. I liked seeing Mrs. Keller (Helen's mother) as a gentle woman who really flaunts her incredible amount of love for Helen. Helen's father, Captain James, was very tough and headstrong, and for some reason, that was the image I had painted in my head of Helen's father. Jimmy--the stepbrother of Helen--is charming, and the actor who played this character did a great job. It warmed my heart to see this young, hurting man guide his father to a transformation from anger to understanding. Basically, if you want to see a version of "The Miracle Worker" with basic historical accuracy and a fair share of sensitivity, then by all means buy this 2000 version. It doesn't equal the 1962 masterpiece that we all know and love, but it is still very good. It's also a WONDERFUL way to introduce younger children to the story of Helen Keller. The script is simple and straightforward, so if you are one of those people who does not know the story, this is a great movie to help you become better acquainted with Helen's unforgettable conversion to light and knowledge. My advice? Buy the movie--what's the harm? Just buy it and enjoy seeing a new version of the story.
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on April 15, 2002
This movie is great for young and old. My husband and I loved it, then my daughters, ages 3 and 6, watched it. My six-year-old was fascinated by it. Even my three-year-old liked it. My older daughter is learning sign language at school, so it was really fun for her to watch the movie. They thought it was hilarious to see the naughty things the young girl did, but they liked the end how she turned in to such a nice girl. I would recommend this to anyone.
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on October 20, 2015
I was going to take my son to see a production of The Miracle Worker as part of our homeschool studies. I couldn't get him very interested in the story of Helen Keller and it was with great protest that he watched this movie. By the end, he loved it and has asked to learn more about Helen Keller and her life. We watched a video my sister had found of Annie Sullivan with Helen Keller, explaining how she taught her to speak. It was fascinating. I have seen several versions of this story and I thought the child actress (who I am sure is grown up now) did a superb job and stole the show. I'm not sure how closely it followed the actual story - I believe some liberties were made for the sake of story telling, but it was a very enjoyable movie, and also very educational.
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on March 7, 2001
At first it might not have seemed like such a bad idea to remake this movie again. Afterall the story of Annie Sullivan teaching Helen Keller communication is timeless and the 1979 version does prove that remakes can still work. So, if they had to do another one two decades later, why cast the Pepsi Girl in the coveted role as Helen?? I read a review that said her emotionless performance should be nicknamed "Frankenkeller", because she does indeed walk around like a robot! The only good thing about her performance is that she doesn't talk in the film! She is also too graceful a Helen. Patty Duke, and even Melissa Gilbert had a more wild animal like energy to their performances, while Ms. Pepsi seems bored as Helen (or is it that we are just bored at watching her? Would someone give her a Pepsi, please?? I was totally shocked that she didn't start singing at the pivotal water pump scene "The Joy of Wa-Wa"! However, she didn't say anything at all! Where is the emotional wallup that that scene has always brought to us?!
On some postive notes: The sets are grand and so are the costumes. Ms. Allison's performance as young fiest Sullivan can almost stand proudly besides Anne Bancroft's Oscar-winning turn as Anne Sullivan and Patty Duke's Emmy-winning interpretation of her. Do yourself a favor and watch the 1962 and 79 versions, ones that didn't rape such a gorgeous tale.
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on January 12, 2015
My seven, nine and eleven year old granddaughters loved watching The Miracle Worker when they came for a sleepover, as much as I loved the biography of Helen Keller at their age. The two younger ones were inspired to learn how to sign.
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on December 10, 2012
bought this for my daughter to watch..its a wonderful movie about helen keller and the miracle that brought light into the life of a deaf, mute child because of one persons determination not to give up
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