Hearing Link

Film Review: Sound of Metal – A hearing loss triumph or tragedy?

**Warning: This review may contain spoilers**

On the day of its national cinema release (17th May), Hearing Link volunteer Sylvia Irvine-Robertson shares her review of Oscar-winning film Sound of Metal. 

This is a film to watch, and I guarantee you will find it thought-provoking and brilliantly acted.

The sound team creates unnerving, but realistic effects, from silence to natural to distorted sound to reflect what Ruben is experiencing.

Sound of Metal follows Ruben, a drummer in a heavy metal band, touring with his partner Lou (played by Olivia Cooke) on stage and off, as he faces profound hearing loss and begins his hearing loss journey.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect having read a couple of newspaper reviews, but I found myself engaged immediately with Ruben’s predicament. It is no surprise that Riz Ahmed who plays Ruben was nominated for an Oscar for the ‘Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role’ and the film received six overall Oscar nominations.

Lou is supportive, but Ruben’s scenario hit home for two reasons. Firstly, it reminded me of my own Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SSHL) with the shock and emotion that that entails. Secondly, it reminded me of a young man seeking support in recent a LinkUp Online having suffered SSHL. Music is important to him and he too needs to find a way forward.

Regardless of the scenario, anger is normal and Ruben’s anger is palpable in this film. He wants to ‘fix’ his hearing whatever it costs. Hearing Link volunteers with or without hearing loss, know only too well that the path is a complex one.

A recent post I read about a deaf band ‘Beethoven’s Nightmare’ also sprang to mind. Beethoven continued to compose following deafness age 35, which gave inspiration to the US rock band trio who perform internationally to great acclaim. Two band members have been deaf from birth, but the third lost his hearing due to spinal meningitis.

The film raises questions about approaches to dealing with hearing loss, the value or otherwise of cochlear implants, entertains uplifts and unites those with a common disability.

The film will appeal to viewers in different ways depending on their understanding of hearing loss. Since the film is based in US, there are perhaps elements, which may not equate with how things are dealt with in the UK.

The bottom line is that any film which highlights the trauma of hearing loss and how to deal with it, can only be a good thing

Don’t miss it!


Film Review: The Sound of Metal 2019 Drama/Music. Cinema release date UK 17th May 2021.

Director: Darius Marder starring Riz Ahmed (Ruben Stone), Olivia Cooke (Lou), Paul Raci (Joe)

Sound of Metal received the Oscar for Best Sound and Best Achievement in Film Editing at the 2021 ceremony.

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