Director Siân Heder / 2021 / USA

Winner of four awards at Sundance, including the US Dramatic Grand Jury Prize, CODA is a sweet, touchingly funny tale about a working-class teen whose newfound passion for singing helps her connect with her deaf family in new ways.

Ruby is a ‘CODA’ – child of deaf adults – living in coastal Massachusetts. The only hearing member of her family, she is depended on by her mum, dad and brother to assist with their fishing business, and to act as their sign-language translator. Between high school and home, Ruby has little time to pursue her own dreams, until a class crush inspires her to discover her voice and what she really wants to get out of life.

Young actor Emilia Jones (High-Rise, MIFF 2016), in a star-making turn, shines in this crowd-pleasing coming-of-ager about a kind, charismatic teen and the close-knit family she both loves and longs to assert some independence from. Remaking the 2014 French box-office hit The Bélier Family, writer/director Siân Heder adopts a delicate, honest approach to bringing a majority-deaf family to the screen, capturing their fond but feisty dynamic with humour and empathetic authenticity – something only strengthened by three of the lead roles being played by deaf actors, including Oscar winner Marlee Matlin.

“Truly heartfelt … Sweet, thoughtful, and unusual in its extensive use of sign language and its casting of deaf actors, it’s the kind of film you can't help but love.” – Vox

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