“CODA” is a heartwarming movie that deserves a watch from anyone who enjoys an exciting and dramatic film with strong character development.
“CODA” stands for Child of Deaf Adult(s) and the movie, featuring three deaf actors, follows the story of a hearing girl with a deaf family who discovers a passion for singing. In this film, being deaf is a part of life, but it is not a deciding factor for the actions of the characters. From the family fishing business to the feeling of your first love, there are many aspects that make this story exciting. The movie has many funny moments as well as a heartwarming message.
“CODA” premiered on Aug. 13, 2021, starring Emilia Jones as Ruby. In preparation for the movie, Jones had to study nine months of sign language, as she herself is not deaf. Because of this, she was able to sign with the deaf co-stars of “CODA”: Troy Kotsur, Marlee Matin, and Daniel Durant. Kotsur himself made history in this year’s 2022 Oscars for his role in “CODA,” becoming the first deaf performer to win an Academy Award in the best supporting actor category.
In addition to taking sign lessons, Jones had to take singing lessons, which paid off as her voice was vibrant and beautiful in the film. For an audition at the climax of the movie, Jones sings “Both Sides Now” by Joni Mitchell, and it was a highlight of the movie, as it connected the deaf world to that of hearing.
Mitchell’s song was written to express that there are two sides to things and when Jones performs it, it is clear how the song relates to Ruby’s life. At that moment she is beginning to make her own identity apart from her family, and the song choice really captures that.
Ruby connects her family to the outside world as this film explores different forms of communication. “CODA” allows the viewers to experience the expressiveness of sign language (with subtitles).
Writer and director Sian Heder flips the viewpoint of that from a hearing individual to the deaf perspective. In one specific scene where Ruby is performing at her school, the whole film goes silent as we see the perspective of her deaf family. This is incredibly powerful because it allows the viewers to experience a peek into the world of silence that many consider normal.
The change of perspectives allows us to sympathize with the deaf characters, just as much as Ruby, and it draws the viewers in to connect with them. Heder gets the viewers to invest in the experiences of the characters, which leaves viewers on the edge of their seats.
“CODA” excels in both sound and design. It takes place in an impoverished fishing town, which is portrayed exceptionally well through the clothes and the set in Gloucester, Mass.
As the story progresses, it builds up to a heartfelt climax, which shows character development as Ruby figures out her true passion.
“CODA’s” message can be applied to the lives of countless people regardless of whether they have hearing loss or not. The story encourages people to follow their dreams and to listen to their hearts while staying true to their family.
I highly recommend this drama-filled heartwarmer because it provides a different perspective on the world while guiding viewers through an interesting and exciting story.