Starring: Emilia Jones, Eugenio Derbez, Troy Kotsur
Director: Siân Heder
Running Time: 112 mins
CODA is an American film about a high school girl living with her deaf-mute family of fisherfolk who discovers a gift for singing, which promises to take her to new heights, but could also take her away from her family.
This is such a wonderful movie. Emotionally captivating and with a heart of gold throughout, CODA is a soaring, uplifting crowd-pleaser which overcomes a few cheesy genre conventions to deliver a fun, characterful and rhythmic story.
An American remake of the French film The Bélier Family, CODA seems to up the ante a little in comparison to its predecessor. While it’s perhaps not as understated, this is film is much more of a showstopper, with big emotion, high drama and belting musical numbers that work effortlessly alongside intimate family emotion.
There’s so much that makes CODA a deeply lovable film, but it’s lead actress Emilia Jones who really steals the show. She has all the hallmarks of a great star of cinema, with confidence, charisma and an innate sweetness that makes you fall in love with her from the very first moments of the film.
Jones’ performance really helps you to form a deep emotional connection with her character, and therefore her family, also played brilliantly by co-stars Troy Kotsur, Daniel Durant and Marlee Matlin. As a family unit, the quartet are absolutely wonderful together, with a strong emotional bond on screen which runs in synergy with a playful, humorous dynamic throughout.
And it’s that humour which plays a big part in making CODA a really fun, uplifting experience. On the surface, the story does at times come off as a bit of a cheesy tearjerker, but the film’s genuine heart and emotional depth is bolstered by very honest humour that brings you closer to the characters than anything else.
While you feel the devastation of the dramatic lows that the story goes to, it’s those highs where the family are laughing together through adversity which make the film all the more delightful, as it opts to fill you with joy before it starts to tug at those heartstrings.
I won’t say that this is a big tearjerker, simply because the film’s uplifting positivity is by far its strongest suit, but there are moments particularly in the final act which do hit where it hurts. Coupled with musical sequences that are full of emotion, this is a family drama that hits all the right beats throughout, and makes for a captivating and genuinely delightful watch from beginning to end. So, that’s why I’m giving CODA an 8.1 overall.