Starting off my Sundance festival with ‘Coda’ starring Emilia Jones as Ruby Rossi, the only hearing member of an all deaf family of 4. The family are fishers and Ruby is their interpreter to be able to communicate to the sellers, but she also has a passion for singing. When she notices the cute boy in school Miles (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) enroll in choir she decides to take a risk and seek out the chance to follow singing as her passion.
Sian Heder crushed it with this film. I loved the performances by all of the cast and especially Emilia Jones who give her all to the role and was absolutely incredible. Seeing the misunderstandings, difficulties, and uniqueness of being the only person in your family that can hear is not only fascinating but also is what makes ‘Coda’ so great.
The music and singing performances are also spot on. I thought Eugenio Derbez who played the choir director was the MVP of the film, and brought a flare and playfulness to the traditional teacher-student relationship we see in coming of age films like this.
The cinematography is great, and the showcasing of ASL to immerse you in the film is beautiful. ‘Coda’ makes me only crave more films in ASL and with last years ‘Sound of Metal’ and the strength of this movie I would wager we will be seeing more in this emerging sub-genre.
I’ll be honest, I probably cried like 3 times during the films conclusion because of how touched I was by the story. This is an incredible start to Sundance and while many feel the virtual experience is not as engaging as in person is I would argue that the films we are going to see this weekend are the exception. I felt no difference in my movie watching experience.