CODA, rated PG-13
CODA is a delightful film about a fishing family in Gloucester, Massachusetts in which only the daughter is not deaf. The film, a remake of a 2014 French film, and directed by Sian Heder, recently won three Oscars, including Best Motion Picture. Heder won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay and Troy Kotsur won for Best Supporting Actor. In many, if not most years, I would not agree with the Best Film selection. This year however, I am in hearty agreement. I thoroughly enjoyed this film. The film’s title comes from an acronym that stands for Child Of Deaf Adults.
The close-knit Rossi family is comprised of father Frank, played by Oscar winner Troy Kotsur (CODA), mother Jackie, played by Oscar winner Marlee Martin (Children of a Lesser God), brother Leo, played by Daniel Durant, and the music loving Ruby, played by Emilia Jones. Frank, Leo and Ruby support the family by fishing, beginning their days at 3am. The family particularly depends on Ruby as the only speaking member of the family, as she has spent her whole life interpreting for them. Much of the film utilizes subtitles, depicting the dialogue of the three deaf members of the family.
Jones as Ruby is the heart of this film. She is a bit of an outsider at school. She is shy and is made fun of – first for the way she spoke when she first entered school and now for the way she smells like fish, as she leaves the fishing boat and rides her bike directly to high school.
When an attractive boy named Miles, played by Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, signs up for choir, Ruby decides to do so as well. The choir director Mr. V., played by Eugenio Derbez (Overboard) soon recognizes that Ruby has talent, and has her team with Miles on a duet for the upcoming choir concert. Immediately, you can see the connection between the two as they practice their song. Mr. V., who has been helping Miles to prepare for an audition for the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, offers to do the same for Ruby.
When the family’s fishing business is threatened by government regulations and greedy middlemen, they decide to go into business for themselves, selling fish directly to consumers. Ruby is needed more than ever with the new business.
Themes in the film include the importance of family, a strong marriage, hard work, music, and sacrifice. Content concerns are a brief sexual scene without nudity, sexual dialogue (some of which is via sign language), and adult language, including the abuse of Jesus’ name.
CODA is a heart-warming film about a fishing family in Massachusetts, featuring a strong cast, in which the cast members playing deaf characters are actually deaf in real life. Despite some content concerns, some of which are played for laughs, we recommend this excellent film