It makes me really happy to learn about senior citizens who are incredibly awesome. Whether it's that old dude on the Chiquita banana commercial that could whup my ass in a swimming race or my friend's grandmother who eats only raw, organic foods and has a subscription to The Believer, elderly people who are full of spunk, determination, and bravery give me hope that I, too, will be living large well past my 90s.
Hear and Now is director Irene Taylor Brodsky's documentary about her parents, who just so happen to fall into that supremely awesome category. Paul and Sally Taylor were both born deaf. As kids, they both attended Central Institute for the Deaf in St. Louis, where they learned to talk, read lips, and understand rhythm. In her 20s, Sally could read lips from 100 yards away (which proved useful to the journalists who would hire her to eavesdrop). Paul, along with other deaf inventors, created the TTY text phone—the precursor to today's instant messaging—that allowed deaf people to communicate with the rest of the world. Throughout it all, the Taylors raised three kids and maintained a loving relationship. Then, at age 65, they decided they were both getting cochlear implants that would allow them to hear for the first time in their lives.
Hear and Now chronicles the Taylors' journey as they not only experience sound for the first time, but learn to hear. And sure, it teaches that even seemingly positive changes can affect us and the relationships we have with others in negative ways, and it reminds us that to become normal doesn't necessarily mean to become better. But it also reminds us that to stay young at heart we must keep trying new things, never stop going on adventures, and maybe most importantly, never stop rocking out to heavy metal when we drive. Even if you can't hear it.