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News & Views of Phillips Since 1976
Thursday June 20th 2024

Movie Corner: Coda

Vendome Pictures (2021)

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Official film poster, Apple TV+

          What can I say about this motion picture that is “art- house”, perhaps, yet rings to me to be one of the best films since the 2021 Oscars? CODA (the 2021 story) is the precise literary work by both the director and screenwriter: Sian Heder. She tells a story of one family of deaf members except for the daughter, Ruby Rossi (Emilia Jones), in a small fishing town (set in Massachusetts) where the family makes their living by catching and selling fish from a boat.

         A superb performance by Emilia Jones and fine performances by the supporting cast: Marlee Matlin (won best actress for Children of a Lesser God [1986]a theme centering on deaf people) as Ruby’s mother; Troy Kotsur (Frank Rossi) as Ruby’s father; and Daniel Durant (Leo Rossi) as her brother. Although Ruby is the only non- deaf person, she is the interpreter for Frank and Leo on the fishing boat. As one can see, making a living by fishing is often drudgery, intertwined with buyers trying to undercut on sales. There is a strong sense the fishermen are dissatisfied with their pay.

         But Ruby attends high school where she gets teased and harassed by other kids. (CODA stands for “child of deaf adults”.) She decides to join the school choir where she’s getting notice from her no-nonsense music teacher, Bernardo Villalobos (Eugenio Derbez). The teacher pairs her up with a shy boy, Miles (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) for a duet. The two are awkward at first, but after several tries at the music, a love interest develops. Ruby tries to tell her family her real interest is singing; in turn her mother seems to be most in opposition to her daughter’s new career.

      CODA is not sappy, however. It’s empathetic, heartwarming, funny, and believable. The film is a must-see for moviegoers to see the struggle of a minority of the population – the deaf.

Cast: Emilia Jones (Ruby Rossi), Marlee Matlin (Jackie Rossi), Troy Kotsur (Frank Rossi), Daniel Durant (Leo Rossi), Ferdia Walsh-Peelo (Miles), Eugenio Derbez (Music Teacher Bernardo), Amy Forsyth (Gertie), Erica McDermontt (Angela), Lance Norris (Chubs), Kevin Chapman (Brady), Kayla Caulfield (ChoirSinger).

Director and Screenwriter: Sian Heder.

Running time: 101 minutes (PG-13).

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