CODA stands for children of deaf adults. This film has been around all year, originally debuting at 2021 Sundance in January, and it was one that I heard about from the For Your Consideration crew on YouTube. It reminded me of this movie that was being talked about earlier this year on SEN Live.

I went to see where the film was streaming and found it on Apple TV +. I don’t check Apple TV + much so some things may slip past. CODA was one of the films that slipped by, but I am so grateful that I was able to circle back to CODA because it was a tremendous film.

Ruby Rossi (Emilia Jones) is a teenager whose mother (Marlee Matlin), father (Troy Kotsur) and older brother (Daniel Durant) were all deaf. Ruby is the only member of her immediate family who could hear. At school, Ruby joined the choir because she loved to sing. She also had to help her father and brother on their fishing boat as the translator.

In the choir, after some initial doubt, Ruby showed her talent and her teacher, Mr. Bernardo Villalobos (Eugenio Derbez) thought she had that special “it” and wanted her to try to apply to Berklee.

The film does a wonderful job creating these characters and presenting their relationships. How important Ruby was for her family and how she was getting overwhelmed by expectations and how it conflicted with what she wanted to do.

The ending of the film was very emotional and real. There was a scene between Ruby and her father sitting on the tailgate of his truck that was just beautiful.

By the way, Eugenio Derbez does a phenomenal job as Bernardo. He was funny, had great dialogue and played off Emilia Jones so well. This was one of my favorite performances from him.

This coming to age movie tells a great story, has great performances with real deaf actors and fills the screen with awesome characters. It is a film that you should seek out. It’s worth it.

4.3 stars

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