Synopsis: A story of how Helen Keller, who was blind and deaf since childhood, learned to communicate with the help of her teacher Anne Sullivan and became a famous author and activist.
INT. KELLER HOUSE – DAY
A young girl, HELEN KELLER, 7, is sitting on the floor, playing with a doll. She is blind and deaf, and does not know any language. She is unaware of the world around her, except for what she can touch and smell. She lives in a state of frustration and isolation.
Her mother, KATE KELLER, 25, enters the room. She is a kind and gentle woman, who loves her daughter dearly. She tries to communicate with Helen by touching her face and hands, but Helen does not respond. She only pushes her away.
KATE: Helen, my darling. I’m here. I love you.
Helen does not hear or understand her words. She continues to play with her doll.
KATE: Helen, please. Look at me.
Helen does not see or acknowledge her mother. She throws her doll across the room.
KATE: Helen, no!
Kate tries to hug Helen, but Helen resists. She kicks and screams, throwing a tantrum.
KATE: Helen, stop! Calm down!
Helen does not listen or obey her mother. She bites her hand.
KATE: Ow! Helen, that hurts!
Kate lets go of Helen, who runs out of the room.
KATE: Helen, come back!
Kate follows Helen, worried and helpless.
EXT. KELLER HOUSE – DAY
Helen runs out of the house, into the yard. She bumps into a tree and falls down. She cries out in pain and anger.
Her father, ARTHUR KELLER, 40, hears her cry and comes out of the house. He is a stern and proud man, who works as a newspaper editor. He is ashamed of his daughter’s condition and wants to send her away to an institution.
ARTHUR: What’s going on here?
KATE: Arthur, it’s Helen. She’s having another fit.
ARTHUR: Again? When will this end?
KATE: I don’t know. I don’t know what to do with her.
ARTHUR: You know what I think. We should send her away.
KATE: No! Arthur, no! She’s our daughter. We can’t give up on her.
ARTHUR: We’re not giving up on her. We’re giving her a chance to be happy.
KATE: Happy? How can she be happy in a place where no one cares for her?
ARTHUR: How can she be happy here where no one understands her?
KATE: Someone will understand her. Someone will help her.
ARTHUR: Who? Who can help her?
KATE: I don’t know. But I have faith.
ARTHUR: Faith? Faith in what?
KATE: Faith in God. Faith in miracles.
ARTHUR: Miracles? Don’t be foolish, Kate. There are no miracles for Helen.
KATE: There are miracles for everyone, Arthur. Even for Helen.
They look at Helen, who is still crying on the ground.
INT. TRAIN STATION – DAY
A young woman, ANNE SULLIVAN, 20, is standing on the platform, holding a suitcase and a letter. She is wearing glasses and has scars on her eyes from a previous surgery. She is partially blind herself, but she can see enough to read and write. She is smart and determined, but also stubborn and sarcastic.
She reads the letter from ALEXANDER GRAHAM BELL, 40, the famous inventor of the telephone and a friend of the Kellers. He has recommended Anne as a teacher for Helen.
BELL (V.O): Dear Miss Sullivan,
I am writing to you on behalf of Mr. and Mrs. Keller of Tuscumbia, Alabama. They have a daughter named Helen who is blind and deaf since infancy due to an illness. They are looking for someone who can teach her how to communicate and educate her mind.
I have heard of your remarkable success at the Perkins School for the Blind in Boston, where you yourself were a student until recently. I have also heard of your courage and perseverance in overcoming your own visual impairment caused by trachoma when you were a child.
I believe that you are the best person for this job. You have the skills and the experience to teach Helen how to read and write using Braille and how to speak using finger spelling and lip reading. You also have the patience and the compassion to deal with her difficult behavior and emotional needs.
I urge you to accept this offer and travel to Alabama as soon as possible. You will be well compensated and well treated by the Kellers, who are desperate for your help. You will also have the opportunity to make a difference in the life of a child who has been living in darkness and silence for too long.
Please reply to this letter as soon as you can and let me know your decision. I hope that you will agree to take on this challenge and become Helen’s teacher and friend.
Alexander Graham Bell
Anne folds the letter and puts it in her pocket. She looks at the train that is about to depart.
ANNE: Well, here goes nothing.
She boards the train, ready for her new adventure.
EXT. KELLER HOUSE – DAY
The train arrives at the station near the Keller house. Anne gets off the train, carrying her suitcase. She looks around, trying to find her way.
She sees a carriage waiting for her, driven by a black man, PERCY, 30. He is a servant of the Kellers, and he is friendly and helpful.
PERCY: Miss Sullivan?
PERCY: I’m Percy. I work for the Kellers. I’m here to take you to their house.
ANNE: Oh, thank you.
PERCY: You’re welcome. Let me help you with your suitcase.
ANNE: Thank you.
Percy takes her suitcase and puts it in the carriage. He helps Anne get in the carriage.
PERCY: Are you ready?
ANNE: Yes, I am.
PERCY: All right then. Let’s go.
He whips the horse and drives the carriage away from the station.
INT. CARRIAGE – DAY
Anne and Percy are riding in the carriage, heading towards the Keller house. Anne looks out of the window, curious about her new surroundings.
ANNE: So, Percy, how long have you been working for the Kellers?
PERCY: Oh, about five years now.
ANNE: And how do you like it?
PERCY: It’s all right. They’re good people. They treat me well.
ANNE: That’s good to hear.
PERCY: Yes, ma’am.
ANNE: And what about Helen? How is she?
PERCY: Helen? She’s a sweet child. But she’s also a wild one. She does whatever she wants. She doesn’t listen to anyone. She doesn’t know any better.
ANNE: Well, that’s why I’m here. To teach her better.
PERCY: You’re here to teach her?
ANNE: Yes, I am.
PERCY: To teach her what?
ANNE: To teach her language.
ANNE: Yes, language. How to read and write and speak.
PERCY: Speak? But she can’t hear or see.
ANNE: That doesn’t matter. She can still learn.
ANNE: By using her hands and her mouth and her mind.
PERCY: Her hands and her mouth and her mind?
ANNE: Yes, Percy. Her hands and her mouth and her mind.
PERCY: Well, I’ll be damned.
He shakes his head in disbelief.
ANNE: Don’t worry, Percy. You’ll see. It’s possible. It’s a miracle of language.
She smiles confidently, as the carriage continues its journey.
STORY SOURCE from various online sources