Moonlight Sonata: Deafness in Three Movements (2019) Movie Script

RALPH LAUREN: I never thought
I was in the fashion business.
If someone said,
"Are you a fashion designer?"
No, I hate fashion.
Fashion has to be desirable,
and Ralph sees that.
RALPH: I think it's important
people express who they are.
[ music score:
Beethoven medley ]
[Jonas] Mom, are you--
Is it filming?
[Irene] Uh, now. Yep.
Is this still okay?
[attempting notes of
Moonlight Sonata]
[sustained chord]
[Irene] Pssssst...
[Irene voice-over]
When my son Jonas was born
doctors told me he could hear.
[tapping bongo drum]
[clicking toy]
[Matt] Hey! Jonas, look at this.
Want to walk over here?
[silent movies]
[Irene voice-over]
Family genes have a way
of arriving unannounced.
They might skip
a generation or two.
But often they catch up.
[babbling and singing]
Around the time he should've
been learning to talk,
Jonas' voice was the first
[Matt] H-- Hello. Hello.
[Jonas] Hello.
Hello to the trapezoid
Hold on. Hold on.
What's that one?
-What is it?
Yeah, it's the octagon.
- [strumming chords]
- Hello to the octagon
So glad to see you
[Matt] What else
should we say hello to?
Hello... [unclear]
- To what?
- Hello... [unclear]
To the piano?
[playing scale]
[Matt] Piano? Can you say piano?
Twinkle, twinkle little star
How I wonder what you are
Up above the world...
- [laughing and babbling]
- [wind chimes rattling]
- [muffled underwater sounds]
- [Jonas] Twinkle
twinkle, little...
How I wonder what you...
[Jonas laughing and chattering]
[Audiologist #1]
Where's the cowboy?
[Audiologist #2]
Cowboy. Very good.
[Audiologist #1]
30-35 in the left.
Where's the football?
[Irene voice-over]
Every month we would get
a new hearing test.
[Audiologist #2]
Not sure on that one.
[Irene voice-over]
Sound was slipping away.
[Audiologist] Sss...
Sss... Sss...
[Irene voice-over]
Letters, entire words,
were disappearing.
[Audiologist] Sss...
No, I don't believe that one.
[Audiologist #1]
Could you play 115 decibels
through the right insert?
[warbling sound]
[Audiologist #2]
And he's not even
acknowledging that.
[warbling sound continues]
- [crying]
- [Matt] ...that shiny ring
won't shine
Daddy's gonna give you
some fishing line
[Irene voice-over]
We tried hearing aids to amp up
what little was left.
Daddy's gonna show you
a hummingbird
[soft piano chords]
[Irene voice-over]
This deafness?
It's a hand-me-down.
I can hear. And so can
my brother and sister.
But my parents,
both of them, are deaf.
They adapted well
to the hearing world.
Our world.
And they gave us things
they couldn't enjoy.
Music lessons.
Record players.
In return,
we were their interpreters.
We were their ears.
Jonas was my first child.
And now Mom and Dad had my
[Jonas laughing]
[Paul] Okay. Okay.
[Jonas] Mommy.
[Jonas] Daddy.
[Jonas] Kiss.
[drill whirring]
[drill whirring softly]
[drill whirring loudly]
- [drill whirring]
- [indistinct chatter]
[Irene voice-over]
A year before he was born,
Mom and Dad had surgery
to get cochlear implants,
devices that would allow them
to hear.
[Irene voice-over]
But their brains were so shaped
by a lifetime of silence,
that when they finally
heard sound...
- [laughing]
- Okay.
[Irene voice-over] turned out
not to be that meaningful.
[warbling sound]
And this is 2000 hertz.
- 80.
- [warbling]
- 95.
- [louder warbling]
[wind chimes tinkling]
- 105.
- [drill whirring loudly]
- 110.
- [train clanking]
[muffled ambient sound]
[Irene voice-over]
When he turned four...
the audible world for Jonas...
finally closed shut.
[loud train clanking]
[Irene] So Jonas, tomorrow
night we're going to have
a happy birthday dinner
for Nana.
We're also going to have
a happy surgery dinner for you.
So what should
we have for dinner?
Well, what else?
[monitor beeping]
[Irene] Why are you getting
a cochlear implant?
[crying softly]
[Irene] Is he going
to put it in your mouth?
- Oh. But-- But Jonas,
you're going to--
- [babbling]
Jonas, you know you're
going to have to go to sleep.
Did you know that?
- [Jonas crying]
- [Matt] Shh.
[Irene] Who else
has a cochlear implant?
[Irene] You see it?
Can you feel it?
Here, feel up here, honey.
The magnet's right in there.
[Irene] No. What goes
on your eye is glasses.
What went back here
is an implant.
[Matt] Okay.
Okay. Okay, buddy.
It looks pretty clean, huh?
[Irene voice-over]
I learned from
my parents' experience,
it would take a lot of work
to learn how to hear.
- But Jonas had an advantage.
- [Matt] See that?
He was young.
[seagulls calling]
[Irene] Maybe the battery's low.
What does it sound like, Jonas?
[Jonas mimics static]
That's what happened.
[Irene voice-over] At first,
the world of sound came at him
in a storm of beeps
and unintelligible clicks.
[Speech Therapist] Sss...
- Sss...kunk.
- Skunk.
You did it! Whoa! All right.
- [Irene] Tell me what you are.
- [Jonas] An astronaut.
And why do you need boots?
That's because, um,
the ground is so hot
that I can't even step.
Where? On Mars or the moon?
Um, on-- on Mars.
[Irene voice-over] Slowly,
he started to understand sound.
[Jonas] And this is
the countdown. That's
the countdown, right there.
[Irene voice-over]
His voice changed...
because he could hear it now.
He got his words back.
[Irene] I see. What does
the countdown sound like?
Five, four, three, two, one,
zero, blastoff. Just like that.
[Irene voice-over] And
that little boy who used to
sing "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little
He was getting music back, too.
- [man] Whoo!
- [cheers and applause]
[playing piano]
[Irene voice-over]
Jonas told us
he wanted to take piano
[Colleen] So our very first
performer has had five lessons,
and what an adventure.
[cheers and applause]
[Irene voice-over]
His piano teacher Colleen
helped him distinguish a C from
a G.
And when a note
sounded sharp or flat.
[plays mistake]
It got messy sometimes.
[playing Beethoven's
"F r Elise"]
But all that music was helping
Jonas navigate sound.
- [male voice on recording]
Say the word "wreck."
- Wreck.
- Say the word "waste."
- Wist.
- "Knee."
- Knee.
- "Camp."
- Cap.
- "Fresh."
- Fresh.
- "Fair."
- Fair.
[Audiologist] Okay. This time
it's going to sound like there
are a lot of other people
talking in the room. A lot of
other conversations happening.
Just do your best to--
[Jonas] Is it-- Is it going
to sound like "blah-blah-blah"?
[Audiologist] Yeah. Kind of.
- But you have to pick out
the words in all that blah-blah.
- Okay.
Okay, here we go.
[voice speaking in background
noise] We wanted to stay
at Cassie's tonight.
- We wanted to stay
at Cathy's the night.
- [overlapping conversations]
He checked out three books
from the school library.
- He checked out s-- School--
- [multiple voices
talking louder]
School books or three books
from the school library.
I forgot to put my lunchbox
in the classroom.
I forgot to put my lunchbox
in the classroom locker?
-[background noise
getting louder]
-Okay, wait.
It's just interrupting me.
I can't--
[music score]
[Irene voice-over]
When Jonas was 11,
he told his piano teacher
he wanted to learn a piece
he had fallen love with...
the Moonlight Sonata.
Her first response was
to tell him it was too hard.
She gave him other pieces,
but he wouldn't practice.
So he went online and
found the sheet music for it.
[Moonlight Sonata playing]
Beethoven wrote the Moonlight
Sonata when he was going deaf.
Some people call deafness
a cosmic mistake
in our human condition.
[Irene voice-over]
But how could this be a
Where did Beethoven
find this melody?
Where did he find his voice?
Eventually, Jonas' teacher
relented and agreed to teach
him the Moonlight Sonata.
They set a goal for him to play
a recital in seven months.
- [dissonant chords]
- [Colleen] Oops.
[Jonas] Sorry.
Have you practiced
a lot this week?
- [Jonas] Yes.
- [stammers] Okay.
[Colleen] Like I said,
Beethoven doesn't want you
to put a retard at the end.
He wants you to keep the tempo
exactly the same.
And he said
"Sonata kind of like a fantasy."
[playing piano]
That's wrong, Jonas.
It's a D sharp right there.
You're playing a D natural.
Right here.
I want you to stop.
This is one of those measures
we talked about.
- [Jonas] My God.
- [Colleen] Let me get
a red pencil.
[Jonas] I was doing so good!
No, you're not doing well
if you're playing a wrong note.
[groans] It was--
That was my first mistake.
- [playing notes]
- [smirks and scoffs]
[resumes playing]
[Colleen] Bring out these notes.
Yeah. Okay. That's one.
[resumes playing]
[Colleen] Two.
[Colleen] That's close.
[laughs] Oh, yeah. No.
[Colleen] Okay, now start--
You can start there
and keep on going.
[Jonas] Now I've, like,
forgotten everything.
[resumes playing]
[breathing heavily]
- [Colleen] Keep going.
- [chuckling]
- [Colleen] Zero! Zero!
- [Jonas] No, no, no!
That's what happens when you
don't correct your mistakes.
Your mistakes become the music.
Sorry, Jonas.
[bangs keyboard]
[music score]
- [screaming from sidelines]
- [Jonas] Open!
Colin! Col!
[Irene voice-over]
Jonas is my only deaf child.
- His two brothers came later.
- [Gil] Mom!
They can hear.
[Matt] Stay with him.
Stay with him. Pass right here.
To the wing. Good.
- Strong, hard passes, guys.
Hard passes.
- [whistle blows]
- Nice!
- [Irene] All right, Jonas!
[Jonas] Hello.
[Irene voice-over] Now we all
live just down the street
from Mom and Dad.
Wait, what?
My name is...
[Jonas exclaims]
[tapping on table]
I'm deaf.
The implants just help me hear.
But without the implants,
I'd be deaf and the implants
are a part of me.
Well, kind of.
Technically, they are, but...
Where do I put them?
Like, there?
I can't hear you right now.
So I can only, like, talk.
But, yeah.
[interviewer] And then... what
does it feel like right now?
What does it feel like
right now? Okay, I'm glad I,
like, understand that.
It feels pretty much
like I can't hear anything.
I barely even know
what I'm saying
'cause I know what I'm saying
'cause I know how to talk.
But, like, I can't hear myself
talking, so that feels
a little bit weird, but, like...
I really don't know, like,
what I sound like when
I'm talking right now.
I feel like I'm, like,
a little bit fast or a little
bit slow, but like... yeah.
- [interviewer] Can you feel--
- Yeah, I can feel...
If I put my hand here,
I can feel the vibration.
I can't really hear anything,
but I go like--
[screams] Probably can't hear
that or if I go "Ohhhhh,"
I can, like, barely hear that.
[deeply] I can hear really
low sounds. I can, like-- It's,
like, not really much hearing.
Like, if I produce a really low
hearing sound,
it just, like, basically goes
through my... vocal box.
So, like, I can hear
a really big vibration
that sounds like sound,
but it's actually just a
vibration, so I'm probably not
hearing anything right now.
- [music score]
- [keyboard keys clicking]
Oh, good combo, good combo!
Oh! G.G.!
- [indistinct voice on phone]
- I'm right here. I'm right
here. I'm in front of you.
[indistinct chatter]
Oh, my God! Bad, bad, bad!
Help me! I'm so scared.
Look at this! Look at this!
High-five over the phone.
[keyboard keys clicking]
[Jonas] So, like, do you want
to be Hamilton or Aaron Burr?
Three, two, one, go.
[Jonas humming]
Pardon me,
are you Aaron Burr, sir?
[Jonas mumbling and singing]
[Jonas and Cyrus]
I'm Alexander Hamilton
I'm at your service, sir
And I'm just like my country
I'm young,
scrappy and hungry
And I'm not throwing away
my shot
- A scholarship
to King's College...
- [music score]
- [lip synching]
What time is it?
- [both] Showtime!
- [silent movies]
- [Irene voice-over] A lot can
happen in two generations.
Most deaf people
couldn't even get car insurance
until the 1950s.
Dad got his driver's license
at 14 and he saw it as a sign
that he could do anything.
When he finished
graduate school, Dad's parents
gave him a new red Ford.
He took my mom out
on dates in it.
Dad became an engineer,
an inventor, my father.
And our family
was everything to him.
[silent movies]
[rotary clicking]
Papa was a scientific,
technological genius,
'cause he invented
the first FaceTime, kind of.
[Jonas voice-over]
It was called the TTY.
[teletype keys clicking]
Kind of like texting.
So, like, you could text
with a typewriter
and you could send a direct
message to the other
Except black and white and
the graphics were, like, lower.
The thing is, when my
grandparents were young,
I've learned about some
of their history, because
I've seen a few movies.
They just kind of, just, like,
played with their friends,
they didn't talk much.
I can't say that's boring
because that's, like,
the 20th century.
[Irene voice-over] He made
movies about us all the time.
And he gave me my first camera.
He taught me
how to take pictures.
And tell stories.
[music score]
[Jonas voice-over] I know that
would be their life for them.
So they would-- They would have
never known our life of all
this technology and stuff.
[Audiologist] Okay, I'm going
to turn it on. Are you ready?
What are you doing?
[Jonas voice-over]
I got my first implant
when I was four or five.
And then I got my second one
when I was eight.
Or nine.
Music class.
[Jonas voice-over] I've had
more experience hearing things
than not hearing things now.
But my grandparents,
they've had more experience
not hearing things.
And that's not
going to change 'cause
you don't live to be 120.
[turn signal blinking]
[kids shouting and chattering]
[Girl] We want to welcome you
to the 2017 Ainsworth
Talent Show.
[cheers and applause]
- [music score]
- [tapping shoes, reverberating]
[silent filming]
[mimics chatter]
[mimics chatter]
[muffled applause]
[movie projector clicking]
- [silent movies]
- [musical score]
- [silent movies]
- [musical score]
[silent movies]
[seagull calling]
[music score continues]
[Irene voice-over] Eventually,
Dad found his voice.
- [squealing laughter]
- But I would never wish
upon Jonas
what it took him
to get there.
I know silence gave Dad...
gave all of us...
something valuable.
And that's the deafness
I've always known.
[seagull calling]
Now, I wondered if my son
would ever know it too.
[Jonas playing
the Moonlight Sonata]
[Jonas] It's like you can
almost hear the first note.
- Wait, listen.
- [continues playing]
[Colleen] That's like Beethoven.
When Beethoven
didn't actually hear,
he heard it in his head,
just like you are right now.
But now play it
the way Beethoven wrote it.
- [playing random notes]
- [Colleen] Did you hear
what I said?
Tell me what's going on. Did you
have a bad day at school?
- Wait. Tell me.
- [Jonas] No.
- A good day at school?
- [Jonas] Yeah.
So you're just--
You're just being hyper
and naughty.
- [Jonas] Naughty.
- You're naughty?
- [Jonas sighs]
- Okay, now be good. So I can
give you an O for your lesson.
[Colleen] I'm going to start
putting it in writing now.
I think you're at about an S.
Let's see if you can work your
way up to an O.
- And an Altoid.
- [Jonas clicks tongue]
[playing the Moonlight Sonata]
[Colleen voice-over]
I was thinking a little bit
about this piece
and where Beethoven was
at the time when he wrote this.
The deafness
had started affecting him
for already a few years.
The anguish in it, even
the humiliation, of being who
he was and then going deaf.
[Moonlight Sonata playing]
He felt isolated and solitary
and maybe misunderstood
by people.
He had been to every doctor.
His hearing was probably
never going to get better.
It was only going to get worse.
[fish tank bubbling]
[Gil mumbling]
[piano keys sounding]
[Jonas] May I please
have an Altoid?
[Colleen] Yes.
Thank you for asking.
[Jonas] Open.
Touch, touch, touch, touch.
- [Colleen laughing]
- [Jonas] Do I get them now?
- [Colleen] Oh, man.
Are your hands clean?
- [Jonas] Yeah. No.
- [Colleen laughing] You're--
- [Jonas] Can I just have
the whole thing?
[Colleen] You know,
you're an imp.
[playing scale]
[playing scale]
[genetic counselor]
Hello, I'm Jessica.
No, we haven't met yet.
So it's nice--
I'm a genetic counselor.
[counselor] Have you
been told anything
about your test results?
[Jessica] Oh, okay.
[counselor] It appears that
they found an answer
that seems to explain
the cause of your deafness.
[counselor] Right?
[counselor] They found
some changes in the instructions
in this gene.
[counselor] Mm-hmm.
[counselor] Mm-hmm.
[counselor] This gene explains
less than one percent
of all childhood deafness.
Maybe half a percent.
So it's rare.
[counselor] So a gene is
a really long string of letters
and it has to be
spelled just so.
And what they found is that in
your both copies of this gene,
you have a spelling change.
[counselor] Two variants
were identified in the
T-M-P-R-S-S-3 gene.
Which may be the cause
of your patient's hearing loss.
- And that was the conclusion.
- Okay.
[counselor] So I think of it
often as a spelling error
or a "typo."
[counselor] Mm-hmm.
[counselor] Say that again.
I'm sorry.
[counselor] We all have
some defective genes.
- [counselor] Yeah.
- Or...
[counselor] You know,
the way they call it--
the "technical" name--
they call it a variant.
[counselor] The term, you know,
we learned in school
is "mutation."
[music score]
[counselor] The outcome,
the end product, doesn't perform
as-- as we typically expect.
[music score continues]
[inhales, exhales deeply]
[silent conversation]
"F r Elise" playing]
[Irene voice-over ] Even though
deafness passed through
my family's genes,
I never really thought of
deafness as a medical
It just shaped who we were.
Like Jonas,
Mom wasn't born deaf either.
My grandmother once told me
when Mom was a little girl
losing her hearing,
she was so locked
in her thoughts, unable to
understand or be understood,
she would bang her head
on the floor, trying to get
what was inside of her out.
Mom's mother, my grandmother,
was a professional pianist.
Mom used to sit under her piano
so she could feel the
vibrations when she played.
["F r Elise" continues]
[Sally tentatively playing
first notes of F r Elise ]
[Irene voice-over]
In our family, music got passed
between generations too.
[John] After this...
[plays F r Elise notes]
[Irene voice-over]
Jonas' other grandfather,
John, also plays the piano.
[Sally] Okay.
- [playing "F r Elise"]
- [laughing]
[Irene voice-over] He's the one
who first introduced Jonas
to Beethoven's music.
[John] Right hand. Right. E.
When I was ten years old,
it would be easy.
[snaps fingers]
Like that. Right.
[Jonas playing Moonlight Sonata]
[Colleen] Why don't you come
over here? Let's talk about the
piece away from the piano.
- I thought you did a great job
of not being too loud. Okay?
- [Jonas] Mm-hmm.
It was like what we've talked
about before when somebody
kind of whispers a little bit.
You-- Your ears perk up.
You want to hear what they're--
they have to say.
Like the right hand says,
"Da, dum." And the left hand
goes, "Bum, bum."
And then the right hand
interrupts and says, "Shush."
[softly] "Da, dum."
You're expressing emotion
because they don't give you
a story. It's not like a book.
They give you
kind of an emotional story,
so when you, you know,
play it a certain way,
we're going to say,
"Oh yeah, I understand
what he's trying to say there."
There's moments
that are almost sacred to me.
And there's a few measures in
here that are very sacred to me.
[Colleen] This right here.
When this is played,
Beethoven had big emotions.
They were very deep emotions.
And so sometimes
when he... he feels good,
or he resolves something,
it's more special because you
know how far down he went.
[Jonas] Okay. [inhales deeply]
[Beethoven's Sonata No. 7 plays]
[Colleen voice-over]
Whenever you find yourself
profoundly moved
by something or profoundly sad,
the composer you're most likely
to turn to will be Beethoven.
[muffled sound
of water and music]
There's just something
elemental that's in his music.
It's not pretty, you know,
for prettiness' sake
or anything like that.
It's just the depth of human
experience from the really
awful to the really exalted.
So when you hear a piece
like this, it's not moonlight
reflected on a lake at night.
I think it's really
about his deafness.
[wings flapping in the air]
[cards shuffling]
[music score]
[Irene voice-over] I was so
used to seeing my parents
content in their quiet world
that it was hard to notice
at first.
Something was different
with Dad.
He was having trouble
keeping up.
[sewing machine running]
[sewing machine running]
[Jonas playing
the Moonlight Sonata]
Wooh... Di, di, di
- [Jonas] Oh, my God.
- Yeah, that's the other thing.
Right. [chuckles]
- It's like, you pause
and then you play.
- Yeah. Right. That's right.
[Jonas] He's teaching me tricks.
How to make it sound better
and more beautiful.
He claims he's played it
more times than Beethoven or
any other person in the world.
[all chuckling]
- [begins "F r Elise"]
- [Colleen]
We're not doing that.
- [Jonas] Should I relearn
"F r Elise" or no?
- No.
- Jonas, I want to work
on polishing it.
- Okay.
And what does that mean,
To... make sure your mistakes
aren't mistakes.
Well, that's the very
basic thing. You're not going
to make mistakes.
You know, everybody makes some
mistakes. But you're not going
to make the same mistakes
- over and over again.
- Okay, okay. Um, polishing
means... dynamics?
- Yes. You have-- You know, if--
- I get an Altoid for that.
If it doesn't have any dynamics,
it just-- It's not interesting.
Like, this is without dynamics.
Like, "F r Elise,"
for example...
[Jonas playing staccato]
But with dynamics...
[Jonas playing legato]
- Like that.
- Yeah.
Of course, you don't have
to do the big acting job, too.
You-- Your fingers
do most of the work.
- [Jonas] Okay.
- [Colleen] Now one thing,
just in terms of style,
when you're in the middle
of the piece, you can't
scratch your head.
- What does that mean?
- Rub your nose...
Well, you were playing and then
with-- the left hand wasn't
busy, you were going like this.
And sometimes you even stopped.
- And then at the--
- Oh, my contact was bugging me.
Oh. Well, okay. But you know,
when you're performing,
you can't do that. Right?
No matter how bad it itches,
you have to suffer.
And so we were talking
about that, that we were
going to use the soft pedal,
and keep this--
He says "Always pianissimo."
[Colleen playing
Moonlight Sonata]
And then he brings it home.
So if you keep that
really quiet, all of a sudden,
there's a voice in the piece.
- Jonas, a voice.
- [inhales sharply]
[Jonas] On a scale
of one to six, four is average,
I think I would give myself
a four plus.
- Okay.
- What would you give me?
- What would my score be on a--
- Two.
- A two?
- Mm-hmm. Sorry.
That's not even-- That doesn't
even meet the standards.
I know! That's what I'm trying
to help you do.
I'm trying to help you be a six,
which I know you can do.
- [fast Beethoven music plays]
- [chattering]
[Jonas playing scale]
[Paul's Grandson] Okay, bye.
[Gil crying] I want the phone!
- I want the phone!
- [Irene voice-over]
Gil could scream all he wants.
I want the phone!
- [muffled audio, silence]
- [Irene voice-over]
Dad has a superpower.
He likes to shut out sound
by turning off
his cochlear implant.
[loud violin music]
[cymbals clanging]
[drumming in background]
[Irene voice-over] Jonas hadn't
figured out yet that he has
that superpower too.
- [dog barking]
- [Irene] Matt--
[Colleen] Almost everybody who
loves music loves this piece.
I want you to play it like you--
The way you wanted to play it
before you even learned it.
- Do you remember
what that was like?
- [Jonas] Mm-hmm.
Okay, let's hear it
that way, then.
[Jonas playing
the Moonlight Sonata]
[Jonas] I don't know. [grunts]
I was waiting to see
if you could kind of recover.
I'd love for you to be able
to just start at that measure.
[Jonas playing
the Moonlight Sonata]
[dog growling]
[dog barking]
[dog barking]
[dog yapping]
I think it's a really good thing
that you have a little brother
that interrupts your playing
because it teaches you to play
through unexpected things.
[dog paws scampering on floor]
[Colleen] This is what I hear.
[Colleen playing
the Moonlight Sonata]
Do you know what's wrong
with that?
- [Jonas] I start going
too fast?
- [Colleen] No.
- Too slow?
- No, it has nothing to do
with tempo.
- It's too--
- Too loud?
The-- The melody is too weak.
We're hearing this.
[Colleen playing
overlapping notes]
Let your ear be your guide.
- [Jonas] Thank you.
- You're welcome.
- [sighs]
- [blender whirring]
[continues playing]
[Gil] It's me. It's me. It's me.
[screams] No. No.
[indistinct chatter]
Get up!
[Jonas] Can I just be done now?
[Irene] Jonas? Would you like to
take off your implants and just
check out for a little while?
Just something, honey, to just
let your senses calm down.
[Irene] I'm always just trying
to understand how we can
live with this better.
'Cause it's hard. And the
hardest person it's for right
now, it's hardest for you.
- [Irene] But you know what
Papa said to me today?
- What?
He told me he thought his life
was better because he was deaf.
[music score]
[lawnmower running]
[absence of ambient sounds]
[absence of ambient sounds]
[absence of ambient sounds]
[playing Moonlight Sonata]
- Wait.
- [stops and starts]
I messed up.
[Jonas] Why should I bother?
[John] That does bring up
an interesting question
as to whether you want to play
mostly for yourself
or whether you want
to play mostly for other people.
- I don't know.
- Yeah.
It's a tough question to answer
'cause it's nice to play
for other people
because then they, uh, sort of
admire your expressiveness.
But if it gives you
a little stage fright,
then it's a pain in the neck.
It interferes with your own
appreciation of it.
[John] I always make
at least one mistake.
And every time I sit down
at the piano, I say, "This time
it's going to be perfect."
And I don't think it ever is.
[music score]
[Jonas] I hate this piece.
I hate it.
[music score continues]
[John] He's got it in his head,
but if it's not perfect, then
the whole thing falls apart.
You can't learn
without making a mistake.
[music score continues]
[door latches]
[glass marbles rolling]
[glass marbles rolling]
[turn signal blinking]
[Jonas] Go left.
- Left?
- Yes, left.
[Jonas humming]
-It's right here.
Oh. This. Right there.
-[Cyrus] Right there.
Yes, right there.
Go right... there.
[music score]
[rain pattering]
- [rain falling heavily]
- [thunder rumbling softly]
[Irene] I'm just
not fully comfortable
with you driving the kids.
- [music score]
- [geese calling]
[Irene voice-over]
Telling my dad
he couldn't drive my family
was one of the hardest
things I've ever had to do.
I know what driving
meant to him.
Driving was more than freedom.
It was progress.
I'll never forget the way
Dad used to look at me
while he drove us around.
He looked as if nothing
could stop him.
[Velcro ripping]
[Doctor] So I think I have
some idea about your history.
I need to examine your brain.
So the first thing, I'd like
you to arrange these tiles
to match that design.
Can you tell me how much
seven from one hundred is?
[Doctor] Ninety-three. Yes.
What is that?
- [Doctor] Yes.
- [chuckles]
[Doctor] I'm going to ask you
to try to remember four words.
The words are...
robin, carrot, piano and green.
[Doctor] Okay, well,
there was a musical instrument
in the list of words.
It was either a drum, a piano...
[Doctor] Or a trumpet.
Uh, do any of those...
Do you recall
any of those being... listed?
No. Okay.
Say as many words
as you can think of that begin
with the letter F.
[Doctor] Mm-hmm.
[whispers] Fun, fun...
[music score]
[Doctor] On your exam today,
there were no surprises.
So putting this all together,
um, you know,
this looks like
what we would call
the early stages of a dementia.
So the most common cause
of dementia is Alzheimer's.
Right now, um,
you're in an early stage.
But, unfortunately,
this would likely progress
and then there may be
other difficulties
that come with that.
Continue to be engaged
with the world.
Um, I know it's challenging.
[music score continues]
[playing the Moonlight Sonata]
[faltering notes]
- [faltering, stops playing]
- [sighs]
[sustained note]
- [muffled audio]
- [abrupt silence]
[heartbeat continues]
[indecipherable distant voices]
[music score]
[Colleen voice-over]
He memorized sound.
He knew when he looked
at the page, he could hear it.
He looked at his art as
the thing that would save him.
His isolation gave him
a greater sense of who he was
and what he heard
in his own mind
and it just blocked out
all the noise
of the rest of the world.
He only had his own noise.
His deafness just gave him
an isolation that might have
given him the best ability
to hear his own voice.
- [ambient sound]
- Did it sound good?
That was weird.
[music score]
[Colleen] At the end
of the Ninth Symphony,
one of the orchestra members
got up and walked over to him
to turn him around
so he could see
that he was getting
a standing ovation
for the Ninth Symphony.
Small wonder, but... [chuckles]
[music score]
[chess piece tapping on board]
[Irene voice-over]
Jonas took the leap
into silence.
He was spending
more and more time
with his implants off.
And more time with Dad.
[Paul chuckles]
[piano notes play then stop]
[Jonas] What's brown and sits
on a piano bench?
Beethoven's first movement.
I want the recital to be, like,
this weekend. Instead of--
- [Colleen] Because you don't
want to practice this anymore?
- Yeah. And plus I've nailed it.
- I'm just going to--
- You haven't nailed it.
You think you've nailed it.
- You haven't nailed it.
- Okay.
- It can always be better.
- Of course.
Have you listened to this
on YouTube?
- My bad. My bad.
- Have you listened to this
on YouTube?
- Really? Who?
Who was the pianist?
- Mm-hmm.
- Beethoven.
- [laughs]
Wait, did Beethoven
ever play this and was it
ever recorded to YouTube?
I'm sure Beethoven played this
a zillion times,
but he died long before
they had recordings
of his playing.
- You want to know the truth?
- Mm-hmm.
- Mr. "I Nailed It."
- Mm-hmm.
I'm not Mr. "I Nailed It."
You played it louder,
but you didn't play it well.
And I think if you practice it
this week,
you'll play it
so we hear the notes
and then you'll play it well.
- [Jonas] Thank you.
- [Colleen] You're welcome.
- Actually, like, thank you.
- Hmm?
Thank you for, like, for real.
- Time to fly again!
- No, no, no, no, no!
Ah! Where are my pants?
[Moonlight Sonata
melody audible]
[music ends]
[Moonlight Sonata playing]
[Jonas] Oh, yeah.
[heavy metal rendition
of the Moonlight Sonata]
[ Moonlight Sonata ]
[ Moonlight Sonata ]
[man] It was like I was a ghost
walking down the street.
[organ playing
the Moonlight Sonata]
[ Moonlight Sonata ]
- Trust me.
- God's sake!
- It's for the best.
- Annie, please!
[classical rock rendition
of Moonlight Sonata]
This shall be
my greatest performance
of all time!
[Moonlight Sonata playing]
This is it, Morty. We're goners.
We're not getting out
of this one.
After everything
we've been through,
this is how we're going to die.
- Make peace with your god.
- Oh, geez, Rick,
I don't want to die!
And now for the E-Splat!
[hip-hop music with
Moonlight beat playing]
[absence of ambient sounds]
[hip-hop score continues]
[Jonas playing tune, stops]
- [Jonas] Oh, my gosh.
- [John laughs] Oh, my gosh.
I don't even have
my implants on.
Oh. Okay. Well, I heard it fine.
[highway noises]
[blinker sounding]
[horn honking]
[blinker sounding]
[indistinct background chatter]
[Beethoven's Sonata No. 7
[Irene voice-over]
It got to the point where
the only way
Dad could remember
what he had done each day,
was to write things down.
[music score]
- [crunching ice]
- [Sally grunts softly]
[music score continues]
[wind howling]
[very muffled ambient sound]
- [no audible piano]
- [music score]
[Jonas] When I play without
my implants,
I just feel really joyful.
It's beautiful and soothing.
If I'm not wearing my implants
and I make a mistake,
I don't really care.
I just try to move on.
I can just let my mind wander.
I only like it when I know
I can go back to not being
[birds chirping loudly]
[Paul voice-over]
[birds chirping loudly]
[Irene] I appreciate you
letting me film you a lot.
Because I will always
have this of you.
[Irene] It's nice.
[Irene] Yeah.
You taught me how to film.
Happy birthday to you
- Happy birthday to you
- Wow!
Happy birthday, dear Papa
Happy birthday to you
- Okay.
- [Sally] Okay.
[music score]
[scissors clipping nails]
[Matt] So you go around once,
like this.
- Excuse me.
- [Matt] Stand up straight.
Let's have a look.
- [groaning]
- Let's have a look.
[highway noises]
Jonas, that's really sweet.
Oh, and they're so pretty.
[background audience chatter]
[Colleen] Welcome, everybody,
to our piano recital.
I want everybody
to really applaud the kids
after they play,
not for the perfection
of their pieces
but the effort that
they put trying to get
to that perfection.
So we'll start today with Jonas,
and he'll be playing
the first movement
of the Moonlight Sonata.
[Jonas playing
the Moonlight Sonata]
[plays notes flawlessly]
[Moonlight Sonata fades
into music score]
[Irene voice-over] I'll never
sure what Jonas heard that day.
What Dad will remember of it.
Or what Beethoven meant when
he gave us his Moonlight
[Beethoven medley playing]
We gave Jonas hearing.
But he had to find his voice.
If deafness is a mutation...
a "typo" in our
human condition...
then our mistakes
can become our music.
I, I want to be
One of those storms
Falling over the sea
- [background vocalization]
- I want to rely
Stars fiercer than Mars
Smile back at me
I, I want to be
One of those storms
Falling over the sea
Falling over the sea
Falling over the sea
Falling over the sea
Falling over the sea
Falling over the sea
Falling over the sea
I, I want to be
One of those storms
Falling over the sea
Falling over the sea
One of those storms
Falling over the sea
Falling over the sea
[background vocalization]
[crowd applause]
[hummingbird buzzing]