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  • Writer's pictureDelven Shaw

AUDIBLE is an instructive choice

AUDIBLE is one of three Netflix films nominated for Documentary Short Subject for the 2022 Oscars. It is a lovely piece about Amaree McKenstry-Hall, who lost his hearing in childhood, and lost his father because of his illness. He is now in his final months of high school as he deals with more losses - both personal and on the field.

Amaree, his perhaps girlfriend Lera, and the gay cheerleader Jalen are at the heart of the film when it simply tells their powerful story. The classic football scenes are compelling, not overplayed. The drama is really on the sidelines and in the stands.

Some of the footage seemed a bit staged for my taste. For example, Amaree asks Lera if she wants to go into an ice cream parlor, with the camera following them. Then, surprise, a camera crew is already inside filming their arrival. Another stagey scene is Amaree looking at scrapbooks with his mom.

The look at deaf culture is sincere, including a scene with his preacher father speaking about him from the pulpit at church. However, there is no interpreter to tell Amaree what his father says. A later scene shows father and son conversing in simple sign language as they get reacquainted.

The film has an all-star team of filmmakers and producers - including famed deaf activist Nyle DiMarco and many veterans of sports films like Friday Night Lights.

If it wins the Oscar, it will be part of a landmark night for films featuring deaf characters, as CODA is up for Best Picture. One of CODA’s stars, Troy Kotsur, is nominated for Best Supporting Actor is the first deaf man to be Oscar-nominated.

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