Teacher Anne Sullivan helps blind and deaf Helen Keller realize her potential. Well-deserved Oscars ...went to both actresses!
The Miracle Worker? The real miracle worker is the guy who cast Pepsi pitch-child Hallie Kate Eisenberg as Helen Keller, forcing the diminuative star to stumble about with a vacant look in her eyes, smashing plates and grunting obscenely.
Believe it or not, Disney’s watery version of the classic play and true story is not as bad as you’d think. While Eisenberg grates, at least she doesn’t get to speak. Alison Elliott, so memorable in films like The Wings of the Dove, plays the titular worker of miracles Annie Sullivan as angry and almost mean, but in the end she is called upon to carry the picture, and she mostly does. David Strathairn’s turn as Captain Keller (also angry and mean) is forgettable, but it’s the small performance by Lucas Black (All the Pretty Horses) as Helen’s brother that is actually the best part of the movie.
Typical Sunday-afternoon Disney production values don’t do much for the picture, but if you’re looking for a primer on the handicapped to show to children, The Miracle Worker might be a good bet.