Entertainment

Criticism | CODA: ‘Lock & Key’ actress, star of flawless teen drama, opens up about deaf family

Watched movie during the 2021 Sundance Film Festival

Amidst the deafening sound of adolescence – washed down by its exhausting hormones and social pressures – there is an absurd and almost uncomfortable silence. In the life of young Ruby (Emilia Jones – Lock & Key), bang and stillness collide chaotically, mixing and further complicating the art of navigating one of the most troubled stages of human development. And CODA is that exuberant, symbolic, and necessary comedy-drama that shines the spotlight on the family of a deaf family, where only a 17-year-old is tasked with giving her voice – in a universe of people absolutely oblivious to need. to include hearing loss.

A CODA image of Siân Heder, an official selection from the American Drama Competition at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute.
All photos are copyrighted and may only be used by press for informational purposes or for editorial coverage of Sundance Institute programs. Photos must be accompanied by credit to the photographer and / or “courtesy of Sundance Institute”. The unauthorized use, modification, reproduction or sale of logos and / or photos is strictly prohibited.

Winner of four awards at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, CODA has never been more critical. In a grandiose appropriation of the sub-genre of maturation, director and screenwriter Siân Heder (Tallulah) delivers an absolutely original story that goes beyond the very borders established by this same film format. Here, the contrast between the transformation phase of youth and the dichotomous responsibility of having to deal with being a teenager, but also to be an adult before the hour, is constantly struggling. By taking us to the most intimate places of each of the characters – protagonists and assistants – the production gives a real account of the discomfort of a deaf family, because it explores a real problem of society and which until today hui cannot be solved correctly: How to break with prejudices and include people with hearing loss in society?

In the plot, Ruby divides her time between studying and her family’s lower-class fishing boat. Dependent on him even to practice deep-sea fishing – since the deaf cannot perform this function alone – they do not know the world beyond their small and humble community. Without much ambition and emotionally linked to his physical limitations, his parents and brother struggle to pay the bills and be able to maintain a minimum income from selling fish. But as Ruby begins to open up to school activities – in this case the student choir, the more she will discover two passions in her life: the crush (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Sing Street) with whom she will make a duet and will sing as a possible professional career. Torn between her dream and the family responsibility assumed since childhood, she will have to make one of the most difficult decisions of her life.

Eugenio Derbez appears in Siân Heder’s CODA, an official selection from the American Drama Competition at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Mark Hill.
All photos are copyrighted and may only be used by press for informational purposes or for editorial coverage of Sundance Institute programs. Photos must be accompanied by credit to the photographer and / or “courtesy of Sundance Institute”. The unauthorized use, modification, reproduction or sale of logos and / or photos is strictly prohibited.

Perfectly harmonizing drama and comedy, CODA is exceptional for showing the gaps between the difficulties of a deaf family in being understood and accepted by their own community, and a young woman who has never made her voice heard at home. Using the soundtrack as much as an audiovisual technical resource, Heder transforms the music of the feature film into an instrument of contrast with the inevitable silence of the deaf characters, while making it the voice of its protagonist – who learns to relate socially through the corner.

These techniques, combined with an intimate and delicate staging, transform the production into one of the richest and most synaesthetic cinematic experiences of recent years. Fun and moving, the feature is bittersweet from start to finish, always elevating audiences to the level of depth of the cast’s performances, which shines on screen, mesmerizing us for its intensity and delivery. Here, the actors complete each frame, showcasing moments ranging from extreme lightness to absurd humor, and always running through a dense dramatic load that overwhelms us.

Emilia Jones appears in Siân Heder’s CODA, an official selection from the US Drama Competition at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute.
All photos are copyrighted and may only be used by press for informational purposes or for editorial coverage of Sundance Institute programs. Photos must be accompanied by credit to the photographer and / or “courtesy of Sundance Institute”. The unauthorized use, modification, reproduction or sale of logos and / or photos is strictly prohibited.

Reflective and immersive, the production not only courageously debates the importance of social inclusion for people with disabilities, but also invites the audience to reflect on their own human condition and their role as social agents in this process of change. Confronting, but also heartwarming and hilarious, CODA is – by far – one of the best teen dramas to ever come out and still teaches us something deeply valuable about the importance of shared community life.

Make sure to watch:

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL

Back to top button