REVIEW: CODA (2021) Adapted from the French


Film La Famille Bélier (Éric Lartigau, 2014) CODA written and directed by Siân Heder ( Tallulah , 2016) revolves around the life of a teenage girl with normal hearing ability named Ruby Rossi ( Emilia Jones ) who was born to a married couple. deaf, Frank ( Troy Kotsur ) and Jackie Rossi ( Marlee Matlin ). With this ability, Ruby Rossi’s daily life begins by helping her father and brother – who also has a deaf condition, Leo Rossi ( Daniel Durant), in their fishing effort. Ruby Rossi even has plans to join her family business as a permanent job once she has finished her high school education. However, those plans changed when Ruby Rossi joined her school choir activities.

Having a beautiful voice and a penchant for singing, Ruby Rossi gets encouragement from her choir tutor, Bernardo Villalobos ( Eugenio Derbez ), to hone her musical skills by taking a scholarship to the prestigious Berklee College of Music. The teacher’s encouragement was able to awaken the dream that had been buried by Ruby Rossi but, at the same time, she still felt very hard to leave her family which would obviously require her hearing ability.

Like the title Heder chose intelligently for the film – CODA is an abbreviation of child of deaf adults or a child of adults with deafness and is also a term in the music world that refers to the end of a song that contains notes and rhymes to close the song – CODA presents a good mix of stories about characters with deaf conditions and stories related to music.

The premise of a character trying to achieve a dream regardless of the challenges or obstacles that come from his family or the people around him is clearly a piece of a familiar story and has been presented by similar films over and over again. Even so, it’s definitely hard not to feel in love and emotionally connected when this familiar premise is able to be developed and executed so reliably by Heder. Each conflict is described carefully, each character is given a storytelling space that makes their presence able to leave a deep impression, and all elements of the story are able to combine in a straightforward narrative rhythm.

The dynamics of the relationship that is formed between the character of Ruby Rossi and the characters of Frank Rossi, Jackie Rossi, and Leo Rossi are solid and feel so convincing. Just look at how Heder builds the plot of Frank and Jackie Rossi’s character’s efforts to understand their daughter who has now grown up – and has a different life path from their own – or how Leo Rossi’s character continues to encourage his younger brother’s character to not hesitate in reaching his dreams. The interaction that exists between the characters is presented by Heder with a touch of comedy that is sometimes able to bring smiles and laughter but is always able to give a warm impression at all times.

The story of the life of the main character is also peppered with romantic intrigue that builds between Ruby Rossi’s character and Miles’ character ( Ferdia Walsh-Peelo ). The romance between these two characters is not as prominent as the family story, which is the soul and life of the CODA story script . Even so, the chemistry that exists between Jones and Walsh-Peelo is able to present pleasant sweet moments from the relationship that exists between the two characters they play.

As a film that is also about music, CODA is also able to present the right tone of storytelling. Accompanied by songs from Etta James, Marvin Gaye, to The Clash, to Jones and Walsh-Peelo who re-sung a number of classic songs, CODA performed so much fun. Both Sides Now songJoni Mitchell’s sung by Jones will stick in the memory of every viewer long after they have finished watching this film. Derbez’s appearance as a music teacher for Ruby Rossi’s character also adds a strong storytelling color to the musical elements in the storytelling of this film. Derbez managed to execute a line of strong dialogue on the character he played which then produced a number of comedic moments that felt refreshing.

Apart from Derbez, the entire acting department of this film managed to give the best performance in bringing each character they played to life. Jones ‘ appearance is clearly the main energy for CODA ‘s storytelling . Strong and emotional without ever feeling too much in every scene of his performance. The chemistry that Jones builds with Kotsur, Matlin, and Durant is also the key to the success of CODA. The most powerful emotional moments in this film even emerge from the silence and no dialogue scenes that appear when interactions using sign language are formed between the characters played by Jones, Kotsur, Matlin, and Durant. Heder’s script, which reliably provides a storytelling space for each character present in the film’s storyline, also provides an opportunity for each actor to leave a distinct impression that will not be easily forgotten.


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