Thursday, July 1, 2021

Audible Review: Looking At Some Wonderful Young People Through A Sports Lens

Release date: July 1, 2021+99
Running time: 68 minutes
Directed By: Matt Ogens
Starring: Amaree McKenstry-Hall

Audible is a cinematic and immersive coming of age documentary following Maryland School for the Deaf high school athlete Amaree McKenstry and his close friends as they face the pressures of senior year and grappling with the realities of venturing off into the hearing world. Amaree and his teammates take out their frustrations on the football field as they battle to protect an unprecedented winning streak, while coming to terms with the tragic loss of a close friend. This is a story about kids who stand up to adversity. They face conflict, but approach the future with hope – shouting to the world that they exist and they matter.

As you would expect from a film called Audible about the Maryland School for the Deaf, the documentary has a great use of sound as it explores the world that these young adults live in.  There are some very striking scenes, and the film starts with one of the best.  It opens with a locker room scene where players are getting bandaged, discussing strategy, and pumping each other up.  But because all the players are deaf, the pep talk is much quieter but still energetic.  I loved seeing their emotion channeled in a way that I was not sued to seeing it.  And seeing a locker room speech that does not fill my ears with yelling was a fascinating experience.  But let me be clear, these kids are not nonverbal; many of the football scenes involved whoops and yells.  But overall, the sports action was a quieter experience than I am used to.  And I also loved seeing how the sport had been adapted by these kids; they used their own hand signals and secret coded signs to call plays and used other methods to communicate in game.  And I did also love seeing the football action, though I do wish there was more of it.  The film only highlights a few games but has a relatively modest run time; making me wish that more action was shown.

But the film also focuses on a few of the young men and women who attend this school, following their lives as they enter their senior year and plan to leave their school.  It is an exciting but scary time, and the film does a good job highlighting the emotional weight that this change will have.  You got to see some of their thoughts, fears, and hopes laid bare on screen.  And the most interesting thing about this movie was seeing the relationships that had formed and how accepting the school community was.  These high schoolers seemed far more mature and understanding than what I was like at their age, and I loved following them for the short time we had with them.  

Audible's smart use of sound and storytelling highlight some wonderful young men and women and the greater deaf community through a football lens.  

Watch it.

If you liked this review and want to see more from Watch or Pass, please consider 
following us on our various social media platforms: FacebookTwitterInstagramYoutube
Audible is available on Netflix on June 23, 2021.

For more information on the film and these young stars, check out my interview with the director of Audible, Matt Ogens!

No comments:

Post a Comment