9/10 “CODA”, which is an acronym for Child of Deaf Adults, is the heartwarming story of a non-deaf girl in a family with both parents and her brother being deaf. She feels like an outsider to her family since she can hear and feels like an outsider everywhere else as she is constantly using sign language with her family, while getting teased by classmates. My pick for the #1 Best Film of 2020 was “Sound of Metal”, which dealt with a drummer going deaf and the ramifications of that disability in his life. While I still have a couple 2021 films to see, “CODA” might very well make the top of the list for a deaf themed repeat. While I have yet to see Best Picture nominee “Drive My Car”, “CODA” is the best film out of all of the other Best Picture nominees by a long shot. (UPDATE: I had “CODA” as my #3 best film of 2021 and it has gone on to win Best Picture). The cast is phenomenal and I hadn’t seen many of these actors in anything prior to this so I loved being pleasantly surprised by the massive talent this film had to offer. Lead actress Emilia Jones is not only a fantastic actress but has a wonderful singing voice and learned how to sign for the film, showing how dedicated she was to her role. The actors playing her parents and brother are all really deaf but don’t let that hold them back from giving terrific performances here as well. The script is one of the best of the year as it simultaneously lifts your spirits, breaks your heart, makes you laugh with some surprisingly natural humor and will bring tears to your eyes with its strong, emotional moments. As a former choir kid myself, seeing Ruby (Jones) in choir class and auditioning brought back some nostalgic moments for me. The song selection is fantastic as both older and newer songs are used to great effect, providing one of the best soundtracks of 2021. I had heard this film was a tear jerker (which it is) but I didn’t realize how many funny moments would be included, making this funnier than most comedies from 2021. Everything feels so natural and thankfully writer/director Sian Heder wisely leaves out your typical politically correct Hollywood propaganda and lets the story and loveable characters carry the film. Her direction is strong as one moment in particular comes to mind when Ruby is performing and we get to experience what her family experiences as they watch her. While I didn’t realize until after I watched this that this is a remake of the 2014 French film “La Famille Bélier”, I now want to watch that and see how this English language remake compares. My 9/10 could be higher or lower depending upon how this measures up to the original. That being said, whether you have seen the original French film or not, I can’t recommend this triumph of a film more to anyone and everyone. It is eye opening to the struggles that deaf people go through on a daily basis and shows you that despite not being able to hear, they still go through the same ups and downs in life that we all struggle with. One of the best films of 2021, without a doubt.

#ClubCoda / #TrebleDeaf / #HymnStone / #Dock&Sea / #HearYeHearYe / #BeCarefulWhatYouFishFor

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