Some days it feels like this slog will never end. Other days, it feels like new life is just around the corner. This year’s Sundance Film Festival belongs firmly in the latter. What has brought around this sudden turn of optimism? CODA:
CODA (Children of Deaf Adults), from writer/director Siân Heder, which cleaned up in the dramatic category with the audience award, grand jury prize, a directing award and a special jury prize for the ensemble cast led by 17-year-old Emilia Jones. Jones plays Ruby Rossi, the hearing daughter of deaf parents (Troy Kotsur and Marlee Matlin) and older brother Leo (Daniel Durant). Living on the Massachusetts coast, the Rossis are commercial fishers, making Ruby the de facto family interpreter — a role Ruby’s had her whole life. And, like in a lot of families, it’s a role mom and dad have grown accustomed to and one Ruby’s grown to resent. Ruby doesn’t want fish, she wants to sing. And she can: anything from Motown to Joni Mitchell.
A familiar plot for sure, but CODA — adapted from the 2014 French film, La famille Bélier — is much more than a manipulative story of familial tension. That’s especially true in the moments revolving around the Rossis’ hearing impairments and Ruby’s ability to move between the hearing and deaf worlds. Those moments take the wind out of your sails and earn your emotions twofold.Boulder Weekly, Vol. 28, No. 26, “All I need to get by“