CODA by Sian Heder [8/10]

An English-language remake of that rousing, funny French film, La Famille Belier, “CODA” hews closely to the original but still strikes a fresh chord. CODA stands for Child of Deaf Adults, and in this telling, Ruby is the only hearing member of a four-person fishing family in Massachusetts. The three deaf family members are superbly played: the seemingly gruff father, the insular mother, the rebellious son. But it is Ruby’s movie, her love of family clashing with an instinctive love of music that finds expression with her untutored voice. Eugenio Derbez is pitch perfect as the new music teacher who takes Ruby under his wing. Of course a movie like has a familiar trajectory, and the ending is calculated to wring out a tear, but Sian Heder’s screenplay and direction are strong and intelligent enough to make it all work. In a pandemic world, CODA is an antidote, a reminder that dreams can be real.

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