Obviously, everyone has their personal opinions on which version of The Miracle Worker is the best, the 1960s one, the 1970s one, or this 2000s one. The truth is, when you have such a moving, powerful story as the life of Helen Keller, then it can be filmed many times and each version will have its own quality and value to it. After all, great stories can be told more than once.
This Wonderful World of Disney made-for-television version is lovely and handsome, with a charming "family film" quality that makes it a great version for kids, young and old, to view it and understand it. It accurately follows the true story of how Annie Sullivan taught communication to blind, deaf, and dumb Helen Keller. (Any strict comparisons to the stage play, upon which this is based, or the excellent 1960s film are not necessary; after all, if you want to view the 60s film or the stage play, go view them.)
Hallie Kate Eisenberg is perhaps the most underrated little actress on the planet, giving a totally believable and intricate performance as Helen. Just watching her movements and body language in each scene makes you fully believe that she is a blind and deaf child. Patty Duke deservedly won an Academy Award for her performance as Helen Keller in the 60s film. I think Hallie Kate Eisenberg deserves an Emmy for this one! In addition, Hallie Kate is the first screen Helen Keller who is literally the spitting image of the real Helen Keller, both in age and in looks.
Alison Elliott is very real and genuine as the plucky Annie Sullivan, as is the rest of the cast, which includes hard-working character actor David Strathairn as Helen's father. This is a lovely, well-made, believable version of Helen Keller's extraordinary story, and it stands completely on its own in comparison to previous versions. It is highly recommended for families, and could be a great version for children who have not yet heard about Helen Keller.