Coda (review, 2021-2022 Oscar for Best Picture)

“CODA”: a hearing daughter from deaf parents faces extra stakes when trying to become a musician

Sian Heder writes and directs a high-stakes musical story “CODA”, which is the acronym for Children of Deaf Adults, derived from a 2014 French comedy film “La famille belier” by Eric Laitigau.

Rubi Rossi (Emilia Jones) was born to deaf parents Frank and Jackie (Troy Kotsur and Marlee Martin), hearing, even though she would already have a deaf older brother Leo (Daniel Durant). They run a fishing trawler off the Massachusetts coast for a living. The parents are quite demonstrative about their own relationship in front of others, unusually so.

Ruby gradually discovers she has musical and vocal talent, with the help especially of high school music teacher Mr. V. (Eugenio Derbez), who is quite energetic and demanding with bosy language, and sometimes uneven; and cold-water diver boyfriend Miles (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo).  As she learns about the possibility of auditioning for a music college, her parents’ fishing business gets into serious trouble when it doesn’t have a hearing employee who can read sign language on the boat, after the boat is boarded by the Coast Guard.

This sets up the potential problem of sacrifice for “family responsibility”. Fortunately, Ruby scrapes through the audition (arrives late, and her parents sneak in, and Mr. V stumbles accompanying on he piano), and the workers on the ship start to learn sign language, so she doesn’t have to make the self sacrifice.

My own experience with piano as a youth, and the paths my own life took, are a lot more nuanced and less “set up”.

Name:  “CODA“

Director, writer: Sian Heder

Released: 2021

Format: 1.85:1

When and how viewed: Apple TV+ 2022/2/10

Length: 111

Rating:            PG-13

Companies: Pathe, Vendome, Apple TV

Stars: ***__

(Posted: Thursday, February 10, 2022 at 2 PM EST by John W. Boushka)