I recently watched the 2021 film CODA on Apple+ and was simply blown away. It’s one of those movies that will move you, and then move you again, and again, heart, mind, and soul, that when it finally comes to an end, you feel better about yourself, this world, and life in general, something I think we all need a lot more of right now in life.
Directed by Sian Heder, “CODA” stands for Child of Deaf Adults and stars Emilia Jones as Ruby Rossi. The film centers around her as the only hearing person in a family of deaf individuals, where her life becomes torn between pursuing a gift she’s only just coming to learn she has, that of singing, and of not abandoning a family who depends on her. When Ruby opts to join the school’s choir solely out of pursing an attractive male interest who’s also joining the choir (Miles, played by Ferdia Walsh-Peelo), she’s quickly introduced to its teacher, Bernardo Villalobos (played by Eugenio Derbez), who immediately sees her potential and the prodigy she is. But the more Ruby pursues her gift and a path that can lead her to the Berklee College of Music, the more her deaf family and their fishing business seems to depend on her, leaving her to choose in life what’s more important, the love she has for her family, or the love she has for music?
CODA was such an enlightening and uplifting film. In recent years, I’ve grown weary of what Hollywood considers awards-based contenders, as most have been dreary and dark. In this COVID-bleak world, where the news fills us every, single day with dread and horror stories, where the world seem charged with negativity all the time now, seeing CODA was truly a breath of fresh air and exactly what my soul needed. It was the first artistic film I’ve seen in a long while that truly moved me to incredible tears, not tears of sadness, but tears of joy, one that left me filled with that long after the credits had rolled.
I don’t believe that people need depressing movies with depressing endings right now in life, where crime and violence, greed and manipulation, addiction and its demise, and anything of the sort rule a film’s storyline. What I think people need are a lot more of right now are uplifting films that inspire us to be better people, that drive us to love each other far more than we have been in the past bunch of years. CODA was able to do this for me and then some.
Why films like The Sound of Music, The Shawshank Redemption, It’s a Wonderful Life, Forest Gump, and even E.T. continue to stand the test of time and watched by one generation after another is because they are inspiring and inspire people in general to be better individuals in life. But films like 2021’s The Power of The Dog, where real animal abuse actually occurred on set and where its ending was so very tragic and desolate, will most likely become one more film that’s forgotten about in the years to come. But why a movie like Spider-Man: Far From Home makes over $1.5 billion dollars worldwide and will probably be viewed countless times in decades to come is because it’s inspiring and that’s what people are driving to in droves right now.
CODA was THE most inspiring film I saw in 2021’s slate and one I plan on buying for home watching when it becomes available on Blu-Ray. I pray and hope that one day what Hollywood finally recognizes is that our world needs uplifting films far more than it needs a crop of artistic bleak, depressing, and downtrodden movies that leave a viewer feeling more down than up by the time the credits roll. Thankfully, I will remember CODA long after this pandemic and even this decade has come and gone.
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson