Director – Sian Heder (Tallulah)
Cast – Emilia Jones, Troy Kotsur, Eugenio Derbez, Marlee Matlin, Daniel Durant
Plot – Teenager Ruby (Jones) is the only member of her family with hearing and she finds the battle between being loyal to her family and the person they need her to be a constant deterrent to her dreams of being a singer and moving on with her life.
“Did you ever wish I was deaf?”
Review by Eddie on 14/02/2022
Put simply, Apple original film CODA (a remake of 2014 French film La Famille Belier) that stands for Child of Deaf Adults has no right being as charming and effective as it is, as it takes a generic and even predictable story too great heights to present what is surely one of 2021’s great feel good films, one that is guaranteed to leave you with a great big smile on your face come the closing credits.
A breakout film of 2021’s Sundance Film Festival and one that has impressively made its mark across film award ceremonies and best of lists across the globe, director Sian Heder’s film is one that never threatens to offer its viewers something that they haven’t seen before in one iteration or another but while it may lull you into its story initially, come the films hugely impressive final acts you begin to understand that Heder and her cast have created a special film full of warmth, heart and soul.
Following Emilia Jones teenager Ruby, whose mother, father and brother are all deaf, CODA’s story arc wont be surprising to anyone that’s ever seen a family dramedy or coming of age tale before but Heder’s film earns its stripes through a string of impressive acting turns, a whip-smart script and some hugely emotional segments that are sure to make even the hardest of hearts feel a slight stuttering of movement.
Front and centre to this tale of Ruby’s journey of self-discovery and her place in the wider world outside of being her families lived in interpreter or boat hand is a career making turn from the awards worthy Emilia Jones.
Recognizable from films such as High-Rise and Brimstone as well as TV shows such as Utopia and Locke and Key, Jones may not be new to the game of acting but her hard work here learning how to do sign language as well as sing pays off big time in Heder’s film and when she’s working onscreen alongside Troy Kotsur or Marlee Matlin as her embarrassing parents Frank and Jackie (a scene involving them chatting to what they believe too be her new boyfriend is all time awkward) or a scene-stealing Eugenio Derbez as music teacher Bernardo Villalobos, there’s reason to believe that we are witnessing a serious new talent enter into the picture of Hollywood.
All in all CODA plays out the way in which you may expect but its little surprises, intricacies and wonderfully realised moments ensure that when you consider what are the stand out feel good movies from the last 12 months, it’s highly likely that this very human and very warm film is going to be sitting pretty at the top of that list.
Final Say –
It doesn’t break new ground but CODA’s unique family, wonderfully realised delivery and lead work by a memorable Emilia Jones ensures it’s top-tier feel good movie making that is likely to live a long and prosperous life into the future.
4 loud car radios out of 5