No Ordinary Hero: The SuperDeafy Movie

Movie review by
Grace Montgomery, Common Sense Media
No Ordinary Hero: The SuperDeafy Movie Movie Poster Image
Well-meaning drama about being deaf in a hearing world.
  • PG
  • 2013
  • 78 minutes

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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Teaches words in American Sign Language, explains what diversity means, and gives kids insights into what life is like for deaf people.

Positive Messages

When you believe in yourself, anything is possible. Not all people with disabilities are the same, and they shouldn't be treated that way. Diversity doesn't mean erasing our differences; it means embracing them and coming together. Celebrates compassion and empathy.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Tony shows the world that deaf people can accomplish whatever they put their minds to and that it's important not only to earn respect from others but demand it. Marlee Matlin reminds the casting directors (and the audience) that not all deaf people are the same -- they're unique, just like everyone else. Ashley Fiolek, a deaf motocross racer, shows kids that you can do anything you put your mind to, so long as you listen to your own heart and work hard.

Violence & Scariness

A kid shoves Jacob. Tony refers to the deaths of his parents when he was 5.

Sexy Stuff

Some kissing between adult couples; some mild flirting.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Parents have beer or wine at dinner but are never shown actually drinking it.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that No Ordinary Hero: The SuperDeafy Movie is a film about a deaf child and a deaf superhero that tries to create a bridge between the deaf and hearing communities. Although it's sometimes a bit heavy-handed, this sweet and affecting movie truly captures what it's like to be a deaf person in a hearing world and presents it in a way that's accessible to both kids and adults. No Ordinary Hero is full of lessons on diversity, the dangers of typecasting those with disabilities, and the importance of treating deaf people with respect. It also stays pretty clean, with only mild content (adults kissing, some mild flirting) and some bullying (Jacob is shoved; Tony and Jacob are verbally made fun of by others).

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What's the story?

In NO ORDINARY HERO: THE SUPERDEAFY MOVIE, Tony (John Maucere) is the famous star of SuperDeafy, a kids' TV show about a bumbling deaf superhero and his police-officer sidekick. But Tony has reached his breaking point in being the butt of everyone's jokes and his deafness being treated like a gimmick. Meanwhile, Jacob (Zane Hencker), a deaf third-grader, is struggling to do well in a mainstream classroom, as his father wants him to learn to lip-read and "be normal." As the two struggle to find a place in mainstream society where they're treated as equals, their two worlds collide when Jacob's teacher, Jenny (Michelle Nunes), asks Tony to perform in front of the school. After he's mocked by his costar in front of the school, Tony must reexamine his role in how others treat him and find out how he can be a true hero for kids like Jacob and his community.

Is it any good?

Although the delivery is a bit obvious and heavy-handed, this sweet film insightfully and respectfully captures the realities and frustrations of being a deaf person in a hearing world. No Ordinary Hero: The SuperDeafy Movie is a bit cheesy and probably won't appeal to an older audience, but it's a marvelous way for younger kids to develop empathy toward those who are different, as well as see that they want to be treated as equals and don't want to be pitied. Although it's campy and silly, it always treats the characters respectfully.

Parents will love the messages, but kids may become a bit bored toward the end as the plot gets dragged out a bit too long. But the characters are endearing, and there's enough slapstick to keep kids laughing and hopefully learning a few things along the way.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Parents can talk about the people who worked on No Ordinary Hero: The SuperDeafy Movie. The director and executive producers are all deaf. Do you think it was important to have deaf people working on this film? Why, or why not?

  • How are characters with hearing impairments usually depicted in books and movies? Do you think this movie shows them differently?

  • Do you know anyone with a disability? What can you do to treat him or her respectfully?

  • How does No Ordinary Hero: The SuperDeafy Movie promote compassion and empathy? Why are these important character strengths?

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