CODA (2021) - 4K quality

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CODA (2021) - 4K quality

CODA (2021)

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CODA is a 2021 coming-of-age comedy drama film written and directed by Sian Heder. An English-language remake of the 2014 French-Belgian film La Famille Bélier, it stars Emilia Jones as Ruby Rossi, the titular child of deaf adults (CODA) and only hearing member of her family, a teenager who attempts to help her family's struggling fishing business while pursuing her own aspirations of being a singer.


About CODA

Title and Year of Release

"CODA" (2021) stands for Child of Deaf Adults. The title immediately brings to the fore the unique perspective and experiences of the film's protagonist.

Released in a year that saw the world grappling with numerous challenges, "CODA" emerged as a story of resilience, empathy, and the universal quest for identity and belonging.

Director: Sian Heder

Sian Heder, the director of "CODA," is known for her nuanced and empathetic storytelling. Her directorial prowess shines through in the film's sensitive portrayal of deaf culture and the intricacies of family relationships.

Heder’s background in writing and directing plays a crucial role in how she crafts her characters, each rendered with depth and authenticity. Her approach in "CODA" demonstrates an acute awareness of the nuances of human interaction, especially within a family where modes of communication differ.


Genre of the Film

"CODA" is primarily a family drama, but it also incorporates elements of coming-of-age and comedy genres.

This amalgamation allows the film to tackle profound themes with a lightness of touch that resonates deeply with its audience. The narrative is grounded in reality, offering a window into the experiences of a segment of society that is often underrepresented in mainstream cinema.

Plot and Themes

In Gloucester, on the northeast coast of Massachusetts, seventeen-year-old Ruby Rossi is the only hearing member of her family; her parents, Frank and Jackie, and older brother, Leo, are all deaf. She assists with the family fishing business and plans to join it full-time after high school.

One day at school, Ruby sees her crush, Miles, signing up for choir as his elective, so she impulsively signs up for choir too. The music teacher, Mr. Bernardo "Mr. V" Villalobos, encourages Ruby to sing more. He assigns her to sing a duet with Miles.


Meanwhile, Frank and Leo struggle to make ends meet with the fishing business as new fees and sanctions are imposed by the local board. At a board meeting, everyone is angry about the fact that more boats are disappearing from the harbor despite the fact that the council is trying to help.

During the yelling, Frank stands and announces that he is going to start his own company to get around the new restrictions and intends to sell his fish on his own, inviting other local fishermen to join him. The family struggles to get the new business off the ground, relying on Ruby to spread the word.

Mr. V encourages Ruby to audition for Berklee College of Music, his alma mater. He offers her private lessons to prepare, as he is already privately tutoring Miles.

Ruby agrees, but her increasing commitments to the family business (her parents are dependent upon her to interpret for them) cause her to be late to their lessons. Mr. V grows irritated with Ruby's constant tardiness and chastises her for wasting his time and not caring enough about music.

While fishing one day, when Ruby is off swimming with Miles, Frank and Leo sail with a federal fishing observer on board, who does not know in advance that Frank and Leo are deaf. The boat is intercepted by the Coast Guard, after failing to respond to ship horns and radio calls. Frank and Leo are fined and have their fishing licenses suspended for negligence.


When they tell Ruby that she should have been on the boat with them, she tells them she can't always interpret for them and she was not at fault. Frank and Leo appeal and manage to get their license back, on the condition that they have a hearing person on board at all times. Ruby announces to the family that she is forgoing college and will join the business full-time.

Her parents are supportive, but Leo reacts angrily, insisting that they can manage without Ruby as she truly has talent. He and Ruby later have an argument where he tells her that she will regret not going to college forever if she doesn't go.

Ruby's family attends her choir recital, and while they cannot hear her sing, they notice the positive reception from the surrounding audience. That night, Frank asks Ruby to sing for him while he feels her vocal cords, growing emotional. The entire family then drives to Boston with Ruby for her Berklee audition.

Before her audition, she sees Miles, who reveals that he failed at his audition and wishes her luck. Ruby's family sneaks up to the balcony while Mr. V comes to accompany her on piano, in spite of the general prohibition on outside attendees for auditions.


Ruby is nervous and unprepared at first, but after Mr. V deliberately makes a mistake on his accompaniment, she's allowed to start again and gains confidence when she sees her family.

Ruby signs along while singing "Both Sides, Now" by Joni Mitchell, so they can understand what she is singing. The adjudicators notice the family and surmise the particular family situation.

Sometime later, Ruby is accepted to Berklee. Her family and Mr. V are delighted with the news. She invites Miles to visit her in Boston. Meanwhile, the hearing workers in the family's fishing business have been learning sign language, enabling them to communicate with and interpret for the family.

Ruby's friend Gertie drives her to Boston for college as her family sees them off; Ruby signs, "I love you so much" (literal translation: "I really love you") to them as they drive away.

Cinematography and Sound Design

The cinematography in "CODA" is striking, capturing the quaintness of the fishing town and the emotive expressions of the characters, which are crucial for non-verbal communication. The use of sound design is particularly noteworthy; it plays a pivotal role in conveying the dichotomy between Ruby’s world and that of her family. The film skillfully uses silence to powerful effect, immersing the audience in the experience of the deaf characters.


Character Development

The characters in "CODA" are richly developed, each contributing to the film's emotional depth. Ruby, played by Emilia Jones, is portrayed with a remarkable balance of vulnerability and determination. Her journey is one of self-actualization and finding her voice, both literally and figuratively.

The portrayal of Ruby’s family, including her parents and brother, is done with dignity and depth, avoiding stereotypical depictions and instead presenting them as fully realized individuals with their own dreams, frustrations, and humor.


In summary, "CODA" is a beautifully crafted film that stands out for its authentic portrayal of a unique family dynamic, the empathetic direction by Sian Heder, and a narrative that skillfully blends personal aspiration with familial love.

The movie not only entertains but also enlightens, offering a rare glimpse into the lives of deaf individuals and their families. With its compelling storyline, robust character development, and thoughtful integration of sound and visuals, "CODA" is a poignant and uplifting film that resonates with a wide range of audiences. It is a testament to the power of cinema in bridging gaps in understanding and celebrating the diversity of human experiences.