- Movie Rating -

If You Could See What I Hear (1982)

| April 23, 1982

I learn second-hand that the movie If You Could See What I Hear is based on a real person, Tom Sullivan, who is blind and who turned his experiences into a novel (unread by me).  Having seen the movie, I’m not sure I want to meet Sullivan who is portrayed here as a jerk, a prankster and a womanizer.  The point of his story apparently is that despite his blindness he’s a fun-loving guy who can do practically anything and his life is an endless string of frat boy party gags that amuse his friends and upset everyone else.

Done right, this could work.  But as played by Marc Singer, Sullivan is such an insufferable bore that you just want to get up and leave.  Watching the movie, I’ve never fidgeted and grumbled so much in my life.  His antics are irritating and show that his blindness is really the least of his problems. 

He has problems with women.  At one point he falls in love with Heather (Sheri Bellefonte) a beautiful woman who is black and uses the excuse that, well, since she is black and he is blind, that’s makes them both minorities.  Uh, boy!  Reasonably, she refuses to marry him and this breaks his heart so much that he goes right back out and makes a lot of fumbling attempts to pick up women.  His technique: he bumps into the potential target and that’s supposed to be his opening.  OH!  And he two-times her with a girl named Patti (Sarah Torgov)

He has problems with alcohol and self-destructive behavior.  The issues with Heather and Patty don’t slow him down because he’s also an alcoholic, always with a beer in his hand and always letting it be followed by some form of reckless endangerment.  At one point, he speeds around in a sports car while his friends direct him so he doesn’t get them killed.  This is before he nearly kills himself skydiving and pulls down a power line.

He causes trouble.  He and his buddy just love to make fun of innocent bystanders.  At one point, the two are in a bar drinking and the burly waiter asked to be paid.  The two guys stall and stall and stall before revealing that they have no money.  The guy reasonably tries to throw them out which leads to a bar fight in which the two guys are shown as having fun, punching and drinking.

He has problems coping.  Nearly everything that Sullivan says in this movie is a joke, quip, crack or put-down of his condition, but at no point in this film does he ever talk about it or try to cope with it in any real way.

I wanted to get away from this man.  I don’t know who he is in real life, but I can’t imagine that he is this insufferable.  I have a feeling that this personality and his adventures have been juiced up a bit.  This is the most manipulative movie I’ve seen in a long time, one that asks me to care for a self-destructive alcoholic only because he can’t see.  And worse, the movie ends with his moment of clarity when a little girl nearly drowns in a swimming pool.  WOW!  This movie is asking a lot.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1982) View IMDB Filed in: Comedy, Drama