Starring: Emilia Jones, Marlee Matlin, Troy Kotsur, Daniel Durant, Amy Forsyth, Eugenio Derbez
Director: Sian Heder
Review: Klep Napier
Rating: 5X’s out of 5X’s
There is a lot of Academy Awards talk surrounding the film CODA. But a film you may have not have heard about is La Famille Bélier, a French film in which writer and Director Sian Heder reimagined for American audiences to make CODA.
CODA, which stands for (Child Of Deaf Adult) brings us a different spin from the original, planting its characters in Gloucester, Massachusetts. There, main character Ruby Rossi [Emilia Jones] and her family make a small living on their fishing boat. Struggling with finding her own voice singing and going off to college, Ruby deals with juggling her own life while burdened with being the only non deaf member of her family and sticking around in order to be supportive for them.
Another stand out difference is that Heder, after numerous years of let downs from studios and investors who didn’t believe in the project, she was able to get this film green lit using real deaf actors to portray the Rossi family.
Now we went into this solely off of the hype. Knowing very little about the plot, cast and just taking the ride made it all that much more emotional. This film captures your heart and soul without warning.
The film focuses on not only the disabled but the non disabled and being trapped in a dependent mind state aside the fear of disappointment, whether to oneself or others. It also at times asks, who are the disabled? Do we need to learn to deal with them [Non disabled] or do they need to learn to deal with us?
Emilia Jones is however relatable from the moment she’s on screen. Seeing the sacrifices she made for her family and the dependency which is expected of her, are overwhelming enough to make you instantly tear up. We’re talking only about 30 minutes in folks. The heart in this film is enormous.
Now let’s talk about the Rossi family. Actors Marlee Matlin [Jackie Rossi], Troy Kotsur [Frank Rossi] and Daniel Durant [Leo Rossi] all contribute a hefty amount of emotion all while not ever having to say a word. Not all acting is verbal and these amazing group of people pour their hearts out on the floor. At times even stealing scenes from a lot of the speaking actors. The Rossi family is the heart and soul of this film. An exchange between Jackie and her daughter Ruby as Ruby tries to explain to her deaf mom that she’s interested in singing without saying so much turns sour when Jackie dismissively replies with sign language “If I was blind, would you want to paint?”
The tone is both soothing and heartbreaking. But weather you’re smiling, feeling joy or shaking your head in disbelief you will shed a tear or two. The ride is designed to make you feel and Sian Heder has done just that! Over all CODA is a masterpiece in its own right we highly recommend this one for the dreamers and the feelers.
CODA is available on AppleTV plus!