An American remake of The Aries Family, Coda caused a sensation at the Sundance Film Festival in the United States. The film is now available on Apple TV +. Does it deserve a look?
What is it about ?
In a Massachusetts fishing town. Taking its title from the acronym for children of deaf adults, CODA follows a high school student torn between her passion for music and staying home to help her deaf parents and brother.
Who is it with?
Writer on Orange Is the New Black and director on GLOW, Sian Heder directs his second feature film after Tallulah with Elliot Page, Allison Janey and Zachary Quinto. With CODA, she focuses on endearing characters embodied by a convincing cast.
The heroine is played by Emilia Jones, known for the Locke & Key series. To interpret his hearing-impaired family, the deaf comedians Marlee Matlin, Oscar-winning actress, Troy Kotsur and Daniel Durant, were chosen.
The rest of the cast include Ferdia Walsh-Peelo (Sing Street, Vikings), Eugenio Derbez (Dora and the Lost City) and Amy Forsyth (Channel Zero).
Well worth a look ?
If American remakes of French films are very often failed, Coda is clearly not one of them. Awarded the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Prize, among others, at the last Sundance Festival, the feature film directed by Sian Heder is a US-style revisit of La Famille Bélier, a box of Eric Lartigau who directed more 7 million entry at the French box office upon its theatrical release in 2015.
The French film could be criticized for not having called on hearing-impaired actors to play the parents of the heroine and the American remake made a point of being much more inclusive and offers Marlee Matlin, Troy Kotsur and Daniel Durant, all deaf actors, the exposure they deserve in authentic, funny and endearing roles.
The chemistry is undeniable within the Rossi family they embody and it is hard not to resist their bickering, their tenderness and their credible rants. Sian Heder films them with great affection and benevolence and brings them moments of brilliance despite some ease of directing.
In the midst of this united but disorderly family, we find Ruby, a sparkling heroine whose talent is waiting to blossom. Overwhelmed by the weight of responsibilities incumbent on a Coda (acronym for “Child Of Deaf Adults”, which means “child hearing from deaf parents”), Ruby finds herself torn between her dreams and the obligations she believes he owes his family.
Totally invested in her role between singing and sign language, Emilia Jones impresses and proves to be as convincing as she is charming by illuminating the space with each presence on the screen. The other roles are pretty solid, especially Professor Bernardo Villalobos (Eugenio Derbez), who brings an extra touch of madness.
In short, Coda is a successful remake that has been able to blend in perfectly with American culture without losing the essence of the lovely original family history. Full of good feelings, without ever being dripping or laughable, the film seduces with its whirlwind of sensitivity and humor, its terribly endearing characters, its catchy melodies and its effective and relevant plot.