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The Hollywood Insider CODA Review - Deaf Parents, Children

Photo: ‘CODA’ 

‘CODA’ follows the emotional story of a young, musically talented girl and her hard-of-hearing mother, father, and brother on the daughter’s difficult journey between choosing to pursue music education or help to maintain the family fishing business. ‘CODA’ first premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, but now people will be able to enjoy the film in theaters and on Apple TV+ on August 13, 2021. 

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‘CODA,’ if you were not already aware, is an acronym for the child of deaf adults, which is usually used to refer to children with a deaf parent or parents. Viewers will be able to enjoy an emotional tale of growing up and family ties while also seeing more representation of the deaf community and culture with a more inclusive approach that will focus on the reality of being a CODA and the individual challenges of having a disability.

Ruby Rossi (Emilia Jones) is the daughter within the film that will undergo the battle of choosing between her desired future or her family’s fishing business. It is not often that we see movies that represent the struggles and reality of living with a disability. This is why ‘CODA’ will be something that will bring diversity within the film industry while also telling an emotional story of growing up.

Portrayals from the Film

As mentioned above, the family owns a fishing business which they all work, for that is ultimately threatened as Ruby reveals her desire to pursue a music education, leading her away from the family business. You might be asking how the business might be challenged by Ruby’s desire to leave the family and head to school, but it seemed evident in the trailer. 

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Being that the rest of the family is deaf, including her father, Frank Rossi (Troy Kotsur), her mother Jackie Rossi (Marlee Matlin), and her brother Leo Rossi (Daniel Durant), it seems clear that the family will face legal issues if they want to maintain their family business without the help of their daughter. It seems the legal problems stem from the fact that it might be unsafe to run a ship without a person abroad that is not deaf, ultimately threatening the business and, more than likely, the livelihood of the family. 

We will most definitely see several examples and portrayals of the struggles and challenges that come with being a CODA, as well as the unique struggles that come with being deaf. This film is essential to the film industry because it takes a realistic approach to the challenges of a child’s desire to go to college when their family is dependent on them and the struggle of picking between yourself and your family while also representing the deaf community.

More Representation

The director and writer of ‘CODA,’ Sian Heder, made it a necessity that the characters within the film that were deaf would be played by deaf actors and even mentioned that she would stand her ground if the decision were questioned by anyone. After all, it doesn’t make much sense to cast actors with hearing abilities to represent an emotional story of living with hearing impairments. Instead, it makes much more sense to hire actors that can feel and portray the struggles they might have once faced at some point in their lives. 

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Throughout the film, viewers will also watch and experience what the deaf adults would be experiencing in the moments throughout the film, with mentions of emotional moments where the sound was edited to go completely silent for viewers in theaters. Sian also made sure that there were American Sign Language experts on the set at all times to ensure the accuracy of the script. 

‘CODA’ is One of a Kind

As mentioned before, this film will be highly realistic and will represent an average family. In other words, we will see Ruby and Leo arguing about sibling stuff (as any brother and sister do), Jackie and Frank will be hilarious parents who get a kick out of embarrassing their kids (they talk about Tinder in the trailer), and Ruby will be trying to pursue a music education which is always a stressful venture. 

Most importantly, ‘CODA’ will be highlighting a somewhat unique topic which is how do children of deaf adults navigate the world around them while also knowing they might have someone that is semi-dependent on them in certain circumstances. Once again, ‘CODA’ will be bringing something to the film industry that is not often portrayed in such a realistic and emotional way in which people can relate and also learn about the unique struggles of being deaf. 

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Don’t Miss It

I am personally excited to watch this film, with hopes of safely watching in theaters, to experience all of the work that was put into the film to represent people with hearing impairments. I just know that this film will have me laughing, crying, and smiling all at once, which is genuinely all I could ask for in a film.

Viewers are not going to want to miss all of the glory that ‘CODA’ is, and I am sure the world will be talking about it, they already are now, for years to come as it is a unique film that we do not often have the privilege of enjoying. The realisticness and emotions of the film will definitely have people experiencing all of the feels. All I am saying is get the tissue box ready because it’s definitely going to be an ugly cry film.

Don’t forget to check out the movie on Apple TV+ and in theaters on August 13th! Emilia Jones will next be seen in ‘Cat Person’ with Nicholas Braun directed by Susanna Fogel. Marlee Matlin will next be seen in ‘Run’ with Alan Cumming directed by Craig Otto. Troy Kotsur will next be seen in ‘Flash Before the Bang’ with Deanne Bray directed by Jevon Whetter. Daniel Durant will next be seen in ‘CODA’ with Emilia Jones directed by Sian Heder. Sian Heder’s has completed ‘CODA’ starring Marlee Matlin. 

Cast: Emilia Jones, Marlee Matlin, Troy Kotsur, Daniel Durant

Director: Sian Heder Writer: Sian Heder Producer: Fabrice Gianfermi

By Chelsea Black

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