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CODA Review (Spoilers Ahead)

lizzieryann's picture

I would describe “CODA” as a feel-good movie that tells a coming-of-age tale. However, instead, of the plot centering around the typical “film friendly family" (white and able bodied), the Rossi family is deaf besides their one hearing child, Ruby Rossi. The movie centers around the Rossi family dynamics providing insight into the life of a “CODA”- Child of Deaf Adult. CODA was adapted from the French film “La Famille Bélier.” In this film, the cast were all hearing with the exception of the brother played by deaf actor Luca Gilberg. Contrastingly, in CODA, all the deaf characters are played by deaf actors, which is what made this film feel so authentic and beautiful. As I posted the other day, Troy Katsur won an Oscar for his performance, which is a reminder to the film community that deaf talent is readily available. I especially appreciated that “CODA” did not portray being deaf as a sob-story instead it presented the challenges deaf individuals experience from living in an unaccommodating hearing world, but focused more on the beauty of deaf culture. At no point did I feel that the movie dehumanized its deaf characters. For example, when Ruby was considering not going to music school in order to continue to act as an interpreter for her family, Ruby’s brother proclaims “Let them figure out how to deal with deaf people! We’re not helpless.” 

Perhaps my favorite part of the film was that so many of the scenes were familiar in the sense that family banter scenes seem to always be present in coming-of-age films. In CODA, there are several scenes showcasing the Rossi family dynamics through capturing the conversations between the parents and their children about topics like sex, dating apps, moving away, responsibility, etc. These typical coming-of-age conversations are recognizable and familiar allowing the deaf community to be seen as the “typical” family. The conversations about sex especially emphasized this idea as conversations between children and their parents about the birds and the bees is uncomfortable in every language- including ASL. Another one of my favorite scenes in the film was when Ruby was performing at her music concert. In the middle of her performance the sound cuts out, allowing the viewer to experience the concert in the same way that Ruby’s deaf parents and brother are. I thought this was a brilliant film choice and allowed the viewer to connect even more with the Rossi family. This moment as with many other parts of the film emphasized the universal language of love. 



Elena's picture

Hey Lizzie, thank you so much for your review! I got the chance to watch CODA yesterday and really enjoyed it as well :D. I definately agree with the points you made and also really enjoyed Ruby's performance. I think my favourite part of the movie was the audition scene where Ruby signed and sang at the same time. She was able to express her emotions and passion for music through the use of sign language. It not only showed her connection to the Deaf community as a CODA but the power of sign language in convey meaning and expression. The OSCAR's award for CODA positively supports the visiability to the Deaf community and the movie provides a really fun insight into the Rossi family.