CODA] also is about how children yearn to be independent and find their voice.
My Rating: 4.5/5 ( Highly Recommended)
Ruby is the only hearing member of a deaf family from Gloucester, Massachusetts. At 17, she works mornings before school to help her parents and brother keep their fishing business afloat. But in joining her high school’s choir club, Ruby finds herself drawn to both her duet partner and her latent passion for singing.
Ruby (Emilia Jones) is a fresh-faced 17 year old who lives near the waterfront in Gloucester, Massachusetts. While her mother Jackie (Marlee Matlin) takes care of housekeeping, she works on the family’s fishing boat with her father Frank (Troy Kotsur) and older brother Leo (Daniel Durant). Ruby is a CODA – child of deaf parents – and her brother is also deaf. As the only hearing person in the family, she is their interpreter and go-between with the world. Now a senior in high school, she’s been doing this all her life.
Sometimes Ruby is so exhausted that she falls asleep on her desk at school, and she is often the target of ridicule by her suburban classmates. She finally musters up enough courage to show up at choir class, but when asked to sing to determine in which section she belongs, she flees the room.
She returns the next day and impresses the music teacher, Mr. V. (Eugenio Derbex) with her singing. Soon she is enjoying being in the choir. She’s pleased with Mr. V. asks her to sing a duet with Miles (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) at their concert.
Coda is an emotionally rich coming-of-age drama directed by Sian Heder and based on a 2014 French film, La Famille Belier. Heder does a commendable job depicting both what is unique and what is universal about Ruby’s situation. When the family decides to try a new approach to make their fishing business profitable, they need Ruby to help them communicate and set it up.
Yet she would like to go away to music school. Their being deaf complicates the situation but does not completely define it. Viewers will recognize universal elements of family life here — deep love, sibling rivalry, the parents’ desire to hold on, the child’s need to break free.
This is a feel-good movie with a few lows and many highs. You will find yourself cheering for all the characters, a rare accomplishment by the writers, directors, and actors. And you’ll recognize and celebrate Ruby’s realization that singing gives wings to her spirit, freeing the soul so she can really soar.
Heartwarming coming-of-age story that illustrates how singing can set you free.
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