Last night I watched CODA, which is available on Apple TV+. It’s a coming-of-age/drama film that follows the story of a teenager on the brink of graduating high school and potentially going off to college, as well as her immediate family. Her brother, mother, and father are all deaf, and the family primarily communicates through sign language. It’s funny, heartfelt, and one of the best movies of the year.
These slice of life stories are usually anchored by the relationships between the characters. That’s the case in CODA as well, as the heart of this movie comes from Ruby and her interactions with her family. There’s also just incredible performances all-around. Emilia Jones is amazing, but Marlee Matlin, Troy Kotsur, and Daniel Durant really blew me away. Their performances were moving, and made me immediately want to explore more of their filmography.
I also appreciated that CODA is a coming-of-age story that goes beyond the standard cliches of the genre. Of course, you have your teenager that's on the brink of adulthood and doesn’t feel like they’re ready for it, but I love how Ruby’s struggles tie directly into her relationship with her family. That she’s always made it a number one priority to protect them and be there at their beckoning call, and now both sides have to figure out how to let go.
It’s also worth noting that there’s a good deal of music in this movie. It’s not a musical by any means, but the main character is a singer, and we get to hear her belt on several different occasions. She’s really good, too. The soundtrack is on streaming services, if that’s your sort of thing.
I honestly can’t think of any reasons to hate on CODA. From beginning to end, it’s just an excellent movie-watching experience. I even shed a tear or two at some parts. If you happen to have access to Apple TV+, it’s simply a must-watch. Easily in my top 5 movies of the year.