Review: CODA (BFF 2021)

CODA (BFF 2021)

Managing to feel both familiar and completely fresh at the same time, CODA is a marvelously beautiful feel-good film with passionate performances and an abundance of heart.

17-year-old Ruby (Emilia Jones) finds herself torn between the needs of her deaf family and her own interests in this Sundance-awarded tale titled after the term for a child of deaf adults (CODA). Writer/director Sian Heder has crafted a sensitive and powerful, yet simple tale that explores the pressures of this child’s life with tender moments and emotive clashes. Jones’ arc as a teenager is nothing new until her family dynamics are explored and laid bare. CODA carefully tells its story without asking for forgiveness or diminishing the struggles of its deaf characters, rather it simply draws attention to a way of life so foreign to many.

The core cast has been perfectly picked from Troy Kotsur and Marlee Matlin as Ruby’s parents to her protective older brother played by Daniel Durrant. Even Eugenio Derbez’ choir instructor, a character who sees Ruby’s potential and helps unlock it, is essential to the development of her character and the overall story. But it is Jones who rules the day here, expertly balancing intensity and humor through an empathic performance that is downright impressive. 

CODA breaks barriers in the way in which it highlights a family dynamic never before seen in a film like this, evoking everything from heartbreak and tears to laughter and cheers. This is a family drama that must be seen.

CODA hits Apple TV+ this Friday.

Rating: 5/5

Photo from Apple Press

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