A coming-of-age tale about family and connection is the focus of this latest review for the Oscars Best Picture Challenge.
CODA tells the story of Ruby Rossi (Emilia Jones) and her family. On its surface, Siân Heder’s film follows the traditional paradigm of the coming-of-age tale, with a twist. Ruby is a CODA (Child of Deaf Adults) and, in fact, is the only hearing person in her family. Given her ability to hear, Ruby balances the usual teenage life of school with helping interpret for her family and assisting with their fishing business. Later on, we see Ruby arrive at a crossroads with her passion for music and the fear of leaving her family behind to pursue her dream. Through music, she finds freedom and love. But she also dearly cares for her family and their well being; grappling with the decision she must make.
Of the Best Picture nominated films I’ve viewed so far, CODA has been my favorite. Its characters’ witty banter and overall charm sets it apart. Perhaps I’m biased, too, as I’m a sucker for pretty much any film that deals with music – and it’s pretty darn cool that the soundtrack include classic tunes from the likes of Etta James, David Bowie, and Marvin Gaye. Beyond that, however, the main cast of Jones – as well as Marlee Matlin, Troy Kotsur, Daniel Durant, Amy Forsyth, and Eugenio Derbez – provide exquisite performances in their respective roles.
All in all, CODA is a brilliantly executed film. Despite receiving mixed reviews on social media – and comparisons to Green Book, why I don’t know – the film addresses a very real topic with tons of heart. I would not be mad at all if it took home Best Picture.
*An Aside: Stone Martin makes an appearance in the film as one of the choir students. I know Martin from competing on “The X-Factor” a few years ago and have followed his career since that time!
My Rating: A