Monday, February 20, 2023

Movie Monday: CODA

As usual, we're a bit behind, but my husband and I finally watched the movie CODA last week. In 2021, it won Oscars for Best Motion Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actor (for Troy Katsur). Now we know what all the fuss was about! We both loved this funny, uplifting movie about a family of deaf fishermen in New England.

As a Child of Deaf Adults (CODA), Ruby, played by Emilia Jones, is the only hearing person in her deaf family. They live on the New England coast and make their living fishing. Early every morning, Ruby heads out in their boat with her father, played by Troy Katsur, and her older brother, Leo (played by Daniel Durant), before she heads into town for high school. For as long as she can remember, Ruby has been the interpreter for her father, brother, and mother, played by Marlee Matlin. Her family is quite isolated from the rest of the town, though they are very close-knit and loving. In her senior year of high school, Ruby signs up for choir on a whim. She has always loved to sing, but in the midst of her deaf family, she has no idea if she's any good. The music teacher, Bernardo Villalobos, played by Eugenio Derbez, immediately recognizes Ruby's raw talent. He begins training both her and Miles, played by Ferdia Walsh-Peelo from Sing Street, another excellent movie), for their upcoming concert, as well as for an audition at the prestigious Berklee School of Music. He's convinced Ruby can get in, and the more she sings, the more passionate she becomes about it. But her family needs her more than ever, with several crises occurring in the local fishing community. Ruby is torn between following her dreams and finally becoming her own person and caring for the family she loves.

When I thought back to this movie, I realized it's a familiar coming-of-age movie theme: the adolescent finding her identity and learning to separate from her family. The setting, of course, is quite original: a hearing child in the midst of a deaf family who rely on her. That's not all that makes this movie special, though. The entire cast is outstanding, and glimpsing the interior lives of a deaf family is fascinating, especially in one scene completely from their perspective, with complete silence in the midst of a crowd. The writing is also excellent (and award-winning), with each character fully developed and plenty of humor blended with the drama. Even the physical setting, on the rocky coast in a fishing village, is beautiful and unique. All together, this makes for an engrossing package: a moving, inspiring, funny family drama that kept us rapt and left our hearts soaring.

CODA is an Apple original movie and is available on Apple TV.

If you are looking for other warm, inspiring, funny family dramas, try:

Captain Fantastic - warm, funny story of quirky family facing challenges

Lady Bird - tender, realistic, funny coming-of-age story

The Peanut Butter Falcon - Original, heartwarming & funny, about found family.

Grandma - warm, funny, heartbreaking movie about eccentric grandma & her granddaughter 

This is Where I Leave You – warm, hilarious adaptation of the novel

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