Ruby, (Emilia Jones) a seventeen year old girl who lives in Gloucester, Massachusetts is the only hearing member of a deaf family. All her life, she has gone above and beyond to help her mother Jackie (Marlee Matlin), her father Frank (Troy Kotsur) and her brother Leo (Daniel Durant). When her family’s fishing business finds itself in trouble, Ruby feels herself being pulled in two directions. She wants to be there for her family, but she just started singing in the school’s choir led by Bernardo Villalobos (Eugenio Derbez) who is aiding her to audition for Berklee College of Music.
All of the buzz surrounding CODA and the fact that it did so amazingly at the Sundance Film Festival is what made me want to watch it. I had a feeling that it would be something special. I just didn’t realize how much.
This was absolutely phenomenal. Based on a French movie called La Famille Belier, CODA had my heart breaking and mending simultaneously throughout. Ruby was such a relatable teen and yet I could never even begin to imagine how difficult it must have been for her to choose between her family and her dream. At the same time, I felt bad for her family who wanted to be treated as equals, but who were also scared to put themselves out there. The fact that actual deaf actors were casted in the roles of Ruby’s parents and brother made it all the better and more impressive. More films should take a cue from this one going forward.
I didn’t know what to expect going into CODA and it wound up completely blowing my mind. The storyline, the music – everything was perfectly executed. It’s a film that really makes you think and one that will definitely make you cry. I know I did.