CODA (2021) – Movie Review and Analysis
Summary of the post
The following summary includes the list of the topics we will cover in our post related to “CODA.”
- The Story
- Review, Analysis and Insights – (Spoilers Begin)
- Pros, Cons and Best Scene
- Final rating and where to watch Coda
CODA – Introduction
Produced and released by Apple, CODA (Children Of Deaf Adults) is an inspiring movie. It’s a musical, a comedy, a drama. CODA embraces the idea of family, love, passions and equality.
Inspired by the 2014 film “La Famille Bélier,” CODA makes you laugh, cry, think and reconsider your life. Sian Heder is the writer and the director of the film, and she is not the only name to remember. Emilia Jones (Ruby) has talent and all the skills to become a star. Marius De Vries, a protagonist on “La La Land”, Moulin Rouge”, and “Romeo + Juliet”, brings on the scene excellent music, perfectly fitting the needs of the movie.
Released in August 2021, CODA already won six awards and one nomination. Other good reasons to watch it and learn something new and powerful. Let us explain it.
CODA – The Story
Ruby is the only hearing person in her deaf family. They run a small business as fishermen, and she helps and supports them, mainly translating everything to her family in the deaf signs language. As a result, she splits her life between her family and her dreams.
Ruby discovers an incredible talent, something that makes her feel alive and happy. But the two worlds are not easily manageable for her because society and her parents are not ready to understand each other. Ruby’s role becomes crucial for her family, especially when a new law threatens their business and future.
Therefore to keep her dreams moving forward, she will need to fight, sacrifice and change the reality around her story. Fortunately, Ruby meets an incredible character during her journey and something powerful will happen. It’s an engaging story.
- What is Ruby’s dream?
- Why is her life so exhausting?
- And how will you manage this challenging situation?
CODA – Official Trailer
CODA – Review, Analysis and Insights
(This section contains SPOILERS, we suggested to watch the movie first and then enjoy it.)
Apple’s productions are always curated. Quality is part of their identity, and after Cherry, we found another incredible success for Apple’s team in CODA. We mentioned above the incredible talent of Emilia Jones in the role of Ruby. To be ready for the movie, she studied the American sign language for nine months, had singing lessons, and learned how to operate a fishing trawler. She seems a real Ruby in her life too. She deserves our congratulations.
1. CODA is music for deaf people
The main protagonist of the movie is music. It’s something so magical that even deaf people can “hear” it. For example, Frank, Ruby’s father, enjoys the bass’s vibration in rap music. And, at the end of the movie, he can finally “appreciate” the singing quality of her daughter, touching her neck while she is singing.
Music has the power to bring everyone together. Ruby and Miles become close thanks to their passion. Bernardo can teach singing and life to Ruby. All the people in the school theatre can appreciate the powerful sound of the notes.
But there is something more. CODA is music for deaf people not only because of Frank’s experience. People can be deaf, but some don’t want to listen. Therefore CODA intends to bring to our attention the discrimination that our society provides to deaf people. For example, Ruby’s colleagues bully her because of her family.
The Rossi’s struggle to integrate themselves into the community because they can’t communicate, and for this reason, they live emarginated. Music brings the Rossi together after some moments of difficulties. It’s a fantastic gift in our life and, after watching CODA, we should learn how to play it and, especially, how to listen to someone who can sing with their voice.
So, let’s be deaf to bully and let’s follow Ruby’s behaviour. She ignores everything the other guys tell her and focuses on what matters for her: love, music, family and friends.
2. Bernardo Villalobos, the deus ex machina
We need kind people who can change the story. In our “Mandela” review, we had Thenmozhi helping Smile building a new life. Ruby finds her path and inspiration in Bernardo, her singing teacher. Ruby struggles in managing her life and the one with her parents. She can’t find her way, and when she seems lost, Bernardo appears on the scene to guide her through her life.
Ruby is afraid of singing in front of her colleagues. She doesn’t push her voice to her limits, as she does with her life. She doesn’t believe in herself and, perhaps, for this reason, she can’t find a way to walk alone, without the need to stay with her family.
Bernardo helps Ruby to find herself, her voice in this world, her place on the stage. Without him, Ruby will never go to college and embrace her dream. When she started singing at the audition, she performed poorly and suddenly, like a deus ex machina, Bernardo appeared to save her.
Bernardo is the inspiring character in the story, who doesn’t only teach but learn from Ruby because sometimes appearances can mislead us. Like when he thought that she didn’t respect his time and didn’t know how to sacrifice for her passions and duties.
3. Let’s fight the law and change the system
The fishermen don’t earn how much they should because of intermediary services to sell their fish. At a certain point, the situation becomes worse when the authorities want to install a monitor to collect data in each boat, which will cost $800,00 a day. More than a fisherman earned.
Frank and Leo want to fight this system, but they don’t have the voice to do it. So until one day, Ruby translates their point of view to all the fishermen, inviting them to rebel against the authority and sell the fish directly.
We focus on Ruby for the whole movie, but her brother Leo tries to find his path too. After the failed attempt punching a bully in the bar, he finally finds his way to engage with the other fishermen. Thoughts are more potent than punches, and, therefore, the fish revolution can start.
Like on “Mandela” together, we can change the injustices of a deaf system.
A revolution because after this rebellion, they can start a new business and integrate themselves into society. It’s a big success that can become true thanks to Ruby. But it’s with the help of Leo that Ruby can follow her dreams. So let’s dive into the next point
4. The Rossi remind us of the importance of family.
2021 is the year of “weird” families. We already met “The Mitchell“, who showed us the fundamental role of family. The Rossi are also “particular” as a family. Uniques in their way to live together. They are all deaf, except Ruby. Therefore, the Rossi mainly lived alone, closed in their comfort zone.
It’s Ruby who starts to push all of them out from their self-exclusion. They were scared of the other people, but they started a business, met different people, and commenced their lives thanks to Ruby.
The scene between Ruby’s mum and our singer is touching. Jackie admires her daughter for her courage, and she learns from Ruby. She doesn’t want Ruby to go to college because she doesn’t want to lose her. But then she reminds that loving someone is let them free.
The Rossi are funny, and they live their lives. They often have sex without any embarrassment. Frank and Jackie love each other, and they are an example for their children and us. However, if we compare the Rossi to Miles’s family, we find incredible differences, and we should learn from those for ourselves.
They are together in the moment of difficulties. For example, when the authorities remove the license from Frank. Or when Ruby needs to perform for the audition, they go with her and support her and Ruby, to pay back, sings with the deaf language.
Even if they are deaf, they know how to communicate with each other. It’s an unusual family where the parents seem the children. They are genuine, sincere, and have a special bond and glue that keeps them together.
The Rossi are weird. Well, it’s time to learn how to become it.
5. The importance of the songs to tell the story
Music is the focal point of the movie. It is what drives Ruby every day, but it’s also what divides her from her family. At least at the beginning. Tinder is more enjoyable than music, in a funny scene together. When her parents try to approach music is a disaster, in the scene when they pick up Ruby from school on the notes of a rap song.
Nevertheless, they teach us to not care about other people’s opinions but just enjoy the moment that makes you happy. But for Ruby is challenging to support her family as their interpreter and pursuing her vocal career at the Berklee School of Music at the same time.
But music in the film has the central role in recharging Ruby in her difficult moments, but also it has the power to link us in the atmosphere of the movie. It reveals our character’s feelings and ambitions and how they interact with the world.
Some of the best songs in the movie, for example, are:
“I fought the law” by the Clash. It’s Ruby song to wake up at 3:00 AM to work on the fishing boat. And this is what they do, they fight the law, and this time, they won. The Rossi create their business challenging the authorities’ abuses, and with this, they start their integration journey within the society. And the song says, “She is the best girl that I ever had,” the reference to Ruby is firm.
“I got the music in me” by the Kiki Dee Band. And “You are all I need to get by” by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrel. It’s the song that Ruby and Miles perform together on the stage, and Ruby dedicates to her father, Miles, and music. Some of the lyrics:
With my arms open wide,From “You are all I need to get by.”
I threw away my pride
I’ll sacrifice for you
Dedicate my life for you
I will go where you lead
Always there in time of need
And when I lose my will
You’ll be there to push me up the hill
There’s no, no looking back for us
We got love sure ‘nough, that’s enough
You’re all, You’re All I need to get by.
It looks like the perfect explanation of the bond between Frank and Ruby.
CODA has several pieces of music composed by Marius the Vries, such as “One thing I know how to do” or “Going to Boston” or the “Ruby’s theme.”
CODA – PROS, CONS and Best Scene
As we have seen above, it’s a film of revolution, passion, family and friendships. It teaches us about integration and shows us the difficulty deaf people face every day. The pieces of music are perfect, and the film has pace and rhythm. The performance delivered by the actors is incredible and makes the movie more engaging. The response to bully through art and ignoring them is incredibly powerful. The cinematography could be a bit better, but it delivers its purpose.
We really enjoyed the part when Ruby’s parents got their genital infection and how embarrassed Ruby needs to deal with them and the doctor. But also when Ruby is exercising with Miles for their duet, but then dramatically interrupted by the sex noises coming from her parent’s room.
But where the movie makes something incredible is when the music disappears in the middle of the duet performed by Ruby and Miles. We sit together with Frank and Jackie, and we feel what they feel. The movie moves around this duet. We see how difficult it is to prepare just a few minutes of a song. When we are waiting for it, at the best moment, the director removes the music and leave us deaf.
What remains is only to listen to the silence and the hypocrisy of a society that can’t correctly support who is affected by this problem
CODA is missing something to make an unforgettable masterpiece. We think that sometimes the film is slow. More camera movements could make it more engaging and bring us to the scene. But the messages delivered are solid and essential for our lives and society.
Our final rating is
Where you can watch CODA?
The movie is currently available on Apple TV+ but check this link to see where you can watch it in your country.
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Have you watched the movie? Let us know your opinion. 🙂
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It’s the little changes that make the biggest changes.
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