CODA MOVIE REVIEW
When a film premieres at Sundance, there’s a certain pedigree you can expect when it wins an award. But what about a film that wins more awards than any film in Sundance history? A film that prompted a bidding war between Netflix, Amazon, Searchlight and Apple which concluded in Apple paying a record breaking $25 million for worldwide rights for said movie. What is a movie like that about? In Gloucester, Massachusetts, as a CODA, or a Child of Deaf Adults, Ruby Rossi is the only hearing member of her family: her parents Frank and Jackie and older brother Leo are all culturally deaf. She assists with the family fishing business and plans to join it full-time after finishing high school. Ruby auditions for the school choir, run by Bernardo Villalobos (or Mr. V, if you can’t roll your R’s), but when she is called upon to sing, she panics and runs away. She later returns to Mr. V and explains that she was bullied for talking funny as a child. Mr. V accepts Ruby into the choir after hearing her beautiful voice and encourages her to be more confident. When the family’s fishing business is threatened, Ruby finds herself torn between pursuing her love of music and her fear of abandoning her parents. What unfolds is a beautiful and uplifting coming of age story that allowed Melina, Chad, and T.C. to laugh, weep, and truly appreciate the life of a child of deaf adults.
DIRECTED BY: Sian Heder
STARRING: Emilia Jones, Eugenio Derbez, Troy Kotsur, Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Daniel Durant, Marlee Matlin, Amy Forsyth, Kevin Chapman
Melina Eames (Screener Squad)
Melina first discovered that she carried the nerd gene at the tender age of four following her exposure to a little film called A New Hope. In the twenty-some years that followed, Melina continued to grow into her geek identity through the discovery of Batman, Mst3k, Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings and The Mandalorian. But perhaps her most significant discovery came at the age of fourteen when a night of YouTube mining led her to the review site of Spill.com. Melina became a devoted follower whose fandom did not end with the site’s demise. By then, it had worked its dark magic and left her with a love and appreciation for film criticism that she has yet to shrug.
Chad Halvorsen (Screener Squad)
Chad Halvorsen currently resides in Milwaukee, WI, where he produces and edits commercials, films, and everything in between. He was always a fan of film/television growing up, spending days in the Summer, making (terrible) home movies with his brothers. Little did he know that passion would carry on into adulthood. Since 2006, Chad has worked for several agencies in various departments. Shooting, producing, editing, production management, directing, and when forced to, writing copy. In 2015, Chad decided to take the big leap and become a freelancer. Since then, he’s produced content for Lyft, AT&T, Target, and Discovery Network. His passion lies in entertaining people, making them feel better, even for a moment. All the pain and suffering of this business is worth it, if even just one person views his work. Chad is a frequent podcaster, most notably posing as a co-host for the podcast “The Film Illogical Society.”
T.C. De Witt (Screener Squad)
T.C. De Witt is a multi-awarded writer/director originally from Wisconsin and now based in Los Angeles. His life has been devoted to the arts since he was a child. He’s been a stage performer, playwright, stand-up comic, film and television actor, radio DJ, podcaster published author, recorded musician, and comic writer/illustrator. He is now a professional screenwriter and has been thriving for the past decade, regularly offering his talents to production studios in LA, Chicago, Milwaukee, and internationally in Sydney and Poland. He’s provided content for Amazon Prime, Netflix, and several YouTube partners. His films have screened internationally, and his stageplays have been performed across the country. In the last ten years, he has directed 57 films, 23 episodes of his series The One Minute Rewatch, 300+ episodes of podcasts, and his multi-award-winning short film Screen: Righter screened at the Festival de Cannes in 2016. He has released two feature films, The Princess Knight and A Christmas Sunset. He thrives on collaboration and the thrill of sharing stories in all forms.
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