DramaMusical

CODA movie review | Child of Deaf Adults

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CODA movie review, Ruby doing love sign with her hand

Storyline

As a CODA (Child of Deaf Adults) Ruby is the only hearing person in her deaf family. When the family’s fishing business is threatened; Ruby finds herself torn between pursuing her love of music and her fear of abandoning her parents.

Credit to IMDb

Quick States

  • Rating: 8.1
  • Genres: Drama, Music
  • Stars: Emilia Jones, Marlee Matlin, Troy Kotsur, Daniel Durant, Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Eugenio Derbez
  • Director: Sian Heder
  • Writers: Sian Heder,
  • Certificate: PG-13
  • Country: USA
  • Language: American Sign Language, English
  • Release Date: 2021
  • AKA: Child of Deaf Adults
  • Runtime: 111 min
  • Filming Location: Massachusetts, USA

CODA movie trailer

credit to Apple TV youtube channel

At the beginning of August, the cinema world starts introducing some of the best cinematic artworks of the year; with the goal of candidating for different awards such as Oscars, Palme D’Or – The Cannes International Film Festival; BAFTA Awards, Golden Globes… And when we have been busy with all the commercial summer movies, we have been hit with a heavy movie! it’s CODA.

And I guess CODA can be easily one of the most beautiful movie-watching experiences of the year so far! Knowing that this film is based on the French movie, ” La Famille Bélier (2014) “.

The events of the movie revolve around Ruby. A teenage girl who enjoys the blessing of hearing, in the middle of a deaf family. Ruby’s family makes living fishing and selling fish, and you can imagine that this craft requires people that can hear! Ruby has a special talent for singing, and she absolutely adores it, but here she found herself between two options; the best of them is bitter, either she can stay and help her family make living or go and pursue her passion for singing. So what is going to happen?

coda movie, the boat
coda first scene

CODA movie did not put any snapshot or scene or frame to waste! Everything had a message to deliver or a purpose to serve. Even the title CODA is an abbreviation of the phrase Children Of Deaf Adults; can have other meanings depending on how you explain it.

The movie begins with a beautiful catching scene ( see the picture above ). Wonderful and very simple but if you look closely, the scene summarizes what is going on in the whole movie.

CODA movie review

enjoy this song!

The Movie begins with the soundtrack “Something’s Got a Hold On Me” in the background, and two men having a good day at work, holding up a net full of fish, and sorting them with the help of a teenage girl while she is dancing and singing the words of the same song that was on the background the whole time “Something’s Got a Hold On Me”; in an expression that could be the state of the life of Ruby.

During the first quarter of the movie, we got to take a glimpse into the life of each of the four characters, Ruby and her brother and father and mother. Moreover, we got to know the lifestyle of Ruby and the struggle she is facing at school; and how she got bullied on many occasions. Ruby decided to join the school choir, and this is where the movie takes a rough twist.

The beginning of the movie was a quick, attention grabber, and amazing. It easily succeded in designing a clear picture of each side of Ruby’s world in our imagination; especially given that it’s a small world, in terms of characters and also in terms of places, we usually see scenes of the movie take place in the fishing Boat or at school, or in-home, the music teacher’s house, or in the lake.

Well, let’s dig deep into the movie, CODA movie has basically two clear lines of events. Firstly, Ruby’s musical life, how she is evolving, and what are the problems she is facing. Secondly, we have the family business, fishing, we get a closer look at the problems that Ruby’s family is facing; whether in terms of communicating with other fishing boats or the bullying that they experience from the responsibility of buying fish from fishermen.

Lines of story

Both of these lines have a high impact on the story; we can feel that when Ruby turns back home.

The movie has a cool and steady rhythm, there is no rushing, no dragging, every scene has a purpose. Some scenes look like something not necessary, but it’s as if the director is planting them for later use in the movie! And this is what made some impeccable twists over the course of the ending of the movie.

The beginning minutes of the movie provided good humor; what I admire about it is that it was spontaneous and impeccably effective. And when I say humor, I am generally talking about Ruby’s parents, their innocent rudeness and spontaneous simplicity made their appearance on the screen very lovely, and draw a smile on our faces, shall I say!

When approaching the end of the CODA movie you may get very emotional, and the movie easily succeeded in striping up our emotions, and that was without any cheap attempts to ruminate them from the viewer. The sequence of events was very accurate, you can tell that the scenarist had invested time in writing! Moreover, we witnessed some nice scenes that were nicely designed and skillfully executed.

CODA cast

One of the things I loved about the CODA movie is the writing of the characters. I stated before that the are a few characters in this film; so it makes sense to be a good level of deepness to them. So nevertheless they are one family and they have like normal problems, but they are very different, in terms of ideas, principles, qualities… However, that did not stop them from being a united family, and that is what we see on many occasions that test the stability of the family.

Let’s take a look at the characters. Firstly, we have the father (Frank), nice to his kids and wife, a little away from the community, he knows nothing but fishing. Secondly, the mother (Jackie), the ex-model, a mother that loves her kids; decided to not get too close to people thinking she is a burden. Thirdly, we have the brother (Leo) Leo thinks that his family treating him as a kid and counting too much on Ruby, which lead him to get angry on many occasions. Moreover, we have The music teacher (Bernardo), Bernardo’s life is all about music, he respects his time, he sees something in Ruby that others don’t see.

coda, Ruby singing

In terms of acting itself, all the cast crew did well and were persuasive if we talked about the family members or the secondary roles. For instance, Emilia Jones in the role of Ruby and with a beautiful voice and her innocent facial features was absolutely capable of providing the role with such simplicity and coolness besides the struggles the character is having in a professional skillful way. Keep in mind that Emilia spent about nine months learning American Sign Language, besides having regular singing lessons to enhance her voice and singing skills, and she learned fishing, this means that she is a promising young actress that we should keep an eye on!

Soundtracks

We must also give credit to the casting choice of the deaf actors Troy Kotsur, he was awesome and very convincing, also Marlee Matlin, we must mention that she got the Oscar as Best Actress in her leading role in the movie ” Children of a Lesser God (1986) “, these two actors on set made communicating with American sign language fluidly using their hands shall I say, which made it looks normal and succeded in expressing the feelings and some emotional scenes, and that helped the movie to outstand. And it is worth mentioning that the interpreters on-set were all Children Of Deaf Adults.

theatre

The soundtrack used in the CODA movie was cool, light on the heart, I liked them all especially the one at the beginning scene ” Something’s Got a Hold On Me “, I got to admit that I have been listening to it since. And of course, there are some other soundtracks used in the film: ” Baby It’s True “, ” You’re All I Need To Get By “, ” You Put The Spice In My Life “, ” Both Sides Now “, ” I’ve Got the Music in Me “, ” Starman”. The rarity of using soundtracks made them valuable, especially knowing that they were used in good timing, like in intense scenes.

There is also a beauty in CODA’s cinematography and the different frame used, whether it was inside or outside, all were almost perfect and have a message and a purpose behind them, even the use of colors was good and we can touch that in the scenes in the theatre, and how the use of the color red was somehow a mix of comfort and intensity.

In Conclusion

coda, the family at the doctor

The editing of the movie was good, nothing there to talk about really, but it played a huge role in the sequence of the end events, besides Troy Kotsur’s (the father) last scenes this combination have produced something that can only be described as perfect.

To sum up, the CODA movie was a comfortable warm trip, full of positive emotions that are reflected by Ruby’s family, a trip that you really won’t be aware of it until its end! The CODA film has definitely made its place in 2021 movies, there are no notes I have in terms of things that need to be changed or edited, I mean the movie is off the charts impeccable, I highly recommend it for you, if you want to see some movie that makes sense in this year coda is definitely the movie for you.

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Ayoub
Writer and film critic for Filmiland website, movies enthusiast. "Everything I know I know from movies!"

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    3 Comments

    1. […] stopped a piece, and brought us into Ruben’s deafness gradually (speaking of the deaf, you may like CODA movie review), continuously, there might have been more noteworthy credibility. All things being equal, the […]

    2. […] at school or at work. And here in Filmiland, we talked about this problem on many occasions (CODA movie for instance), who knows we may make some […]

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