CODA, Sian Heder’s narrative of a young lady caught between chasing her goals and becoming a link between her deaf family and the outside world, isn’t just a “Sundance movie”: it’s perhaps the Sundance movie, magically encapsulating both definitions of the word at the same time. Yes, this dramedy serves as a reminder that studios no longer produce modest, character-driven films. However, it is a perfect example of the cozy-chair indie film that has been a mainstay of arthouse cinema since the early 1990s. It won the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award after premiering in the virtual edition of the festival this past January — a shame, because it would have killed with the Eccles Theater crowd on opening night — and went on to win the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award. IMDB
CODA – short for Child of Deaf Adults — is partially based on the 2014 French film La Famille Bélier and follows Ruby Rossi, a young lady who is deaf (take a bow, Emilia Jones). The sound of someone belting out a rendition of Etta James’ “Something’s Got a Hold on Me” playing over a boat trawling the Atlantic foreshadows the heroine of the film. Ruby is from a family who, like so many others in their hometown of Gloucester, Massachusetts, makes a living by catching fish. The skipper is Troy Kotsur’s father. Leo (Daniel Durant), her older brother, works with him. The books are kept by Mom (Marlee Matlin). Ruby is the only Rossi that isn’t deaf and helps out.