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Sundance Review: CODA

Sundance is underway with the first film in the dramatic category: CODA. Newcomer Emilia Jones plays Ruby Rossi, a girl who is the only member in her family with the ability to hear. She is a CODA, or child of deaf adults. She helps out with her family’s fishing business and is essential in their lives as both a daughter and an interpreter. But Ruby’s real passion and talent is to sing. Inspired by her enthusiastic choir teacher (Eugenio Derbez), Ruby is able to envision another life for herself, but separating herself from her family depending on her may be harder than she imagines.

Coda was such a delight and a great way to start the festival. It was so warm and funny and the emotions felt so real. Coming of age films are some of my favorite films, especially at Sundance, but this one adds a family dramedy layer that gives it even more weight and heart. You feel for Ruby’s journey and you can understand everyone’s side in this. More than a couple of scenes towards the end made me tear up and really pulled at the heartstrings.

Emilia Jones knocks it out of the park in her debut role, but the acting all around is stellar too. There’s not a false note in the cast and everyone gets their moment to shine. It also must be said that Jones has a lovely singing voice and I can't wait until the soundtrack is available. All in all, Coda is a winning film that has it all: humor and heart. See it as soon as you can.

RATING: 8.5/10


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