“CODA,” a new film coming to theaters and streaming on AppleTV+ on August 13 was a delightful and inspirational movie about what it is like to be a CODA, Child of Deaf Adults.
Ruby Rossi is just a normal teenage girl who loves to sing, and her family is anything but normal. As the youngest child of deaf adults, Ruby takes on many roles that many other children don’t need to worry about. Her father and older brother are fishermen in Gloucester, Massachusetts. She joins them every morning before the sun rises and before school starts out on the water as a deck hand, and the only one who can listen for distress calls from the Coast Guard or warnings from the National Weather Service. When they bring in the catch, she helps negotiate a price for the fish they catch, making sure they aren’t getting ripped off compared to other fishermen.
From the docks she goes to school with other kids who don’t know what it’s like being the daughter of deaf parents. She lives in a world that she feels she doesn’t belong, but in her senior year, Ruby decides to do something for herself for once. She auditions for the high school choir.
Besides bringing awareness of what it might be like for deaf people around us, the film explores the interesting dynamics between the world of hearers and the deaf community. The film also delves into how the deaf parents might feel if a child wanted to do something that they couldn’t enjoy or appreciate due to their deafness.
The film is as much about pursuing a dream and gaining independence, as it is about inter-dependence in a family and supporting one another. There are so many powerful moments throughout the film as Ruby explores what it means to be independent as well as what it means to be a CODA. It is a human story about connection and love and being there for one another no matter what. It is also a story about letting go and releasing someone you love to live life to the fullest.
I really loved this film and the story that it told. I feel like I gained new empathy and understanding for deaf people in my community. The film is funny and sweet, but also inspirational.
“CODA” was written and directed by Siân Heder. The film stars Emilia Jones as Ruby Rossi, Marlee Matlin and Troy Kotsur as Jackie and Frank Rossi, Daniel Durant as Leo Rossi, and Eugenio Derbez as Ruby’s music teacher, Mr. Villalobos among others.
When speaking about the film with WBUR, the local PBS where the movie was filmed in Gloucester, Massachusetts, this is what Ms. Heder had to say about the film’s meaning:
“CODA does have a double meaning in the title because it’s Children of Deaf Adults, but it’s also the end of a piece of music, ” Heder says. “It’s a story about the end of childhood.”
“That’s what the movie is about,” Heder says, “it’s like once you remove yourself from your comfort zone of your identity within the people you love — how do you find your own voice?”
“[CODAs] oftentimes feel more connected to deaf culture than to hearing culture,” she says, “and there’s this strange limbo that they exist in where they’re a part of both worlds, but also a part of neither.”Excerpt from an interview on WBUR
You can read Hader’s entire interview about the film on WBUR’s website here:
“CODA” is in theaters everywhere on August 13 or you can stream the film starting on August 13 on AppleTV+ with a free 7-day trial, and then $4.99/month after the trial.