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Review | CODA – IN THE RHYTHM OF THE HEART

Siân Heder's feature is in the Prime Video catalog and it's surprising

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O Sundance Festival, held annually in January since 1978 in Park City, Utah, is the first film competition of the year and is recognized as one of the most important events for independent cinema in the United States. In the year 2021, the winner of the festival (won Best Director, Best Cast, Best Film by the jury and the audience), CODA: In the Rhythm of the Heart, has been acclaimed by specialized critics and has accumulated awards and nominations in the Gotham Awards, Golden Globe and Critics Choice. In Brazil, No Ritmo do Coração is in the catalog of Prime Video and is a great option for anyone who wants to see something exciting, lively and witty.

The narrative follows the relationship of the young woman Ruby Rossi, played by the actress Emilia Jones, with the family and their dreams. Ruby he is the only person in his family who is not deaf and, therefore, has taken on the important role of interpreter. While facing the challenges of adolescence and problems at home, Ruby discovers a great talent and a new dream that she works hard to fulfill.

Ruby and her father Frank, hugging after her performance / Reproduction Diamond Films

With the support and mentorship of the music teacher Bernardo Villalobos (Eugenio Derbez), who was willing to help her understand her talent, thus continuing in music. However, it doesn't take long for the impasse to happen, as she will need to decide if she chooses to follow her dream or if she remains the support of her family.

Here the analysis will be on two fronts: the technique and the message that the feature conveys to us. The beauty of the film is unquestionable and it is not only aesthetic, but poetic. It is a beautiful and reflective film to the point of asking ourselves to what extent we can be selfish when trying to prevent the other from following his dream, under the “pretext” of love. Do we really have this right to stop someone who wants to leave to follow their own dream?

Moment when Frank and Leo are trying to understand what is being discussed at the fishermen's meeting / Reproduction Diamond Films

Think otherwise now, to what extent can we be altruistic when we abdicate our dream under the “pretext” of love? It is a difficult choice, but one that has to be made at any time. Regardless of the choice, it will be something that will make someone suffer, both parties. Maybe that's why the feature is so beautiful, because it works this issue of the protagonist in understanding what priorities she will assume and in favor of what she will guide her choice.

In CODA, another important detail is the topic of deafness. Society sins by not assertively including any type of disability because the inclusion of people who are deaf, blind or any other type of situation is not always honest, it does not always make those around them know how to deal with these people and the fact that the feature discusses this not only from the point of view of Ruby, but also that of their families, their colleagues and the entire nucleus that works in the company. At one point, one of the characters even said that he missed a community – because we identify more with those who have similarities with us.

Departing a little from the message that the film conveys, the director and screenwriter Sian Heder (Tallulah), does not deliver an original story, as the feature was already portrayed in 2014, The Belier Family, and it is a feature that drinks from the subgenre coming of age and that crosses the borders established by that same film format. Here, the contrast between adolescence and the dichotomous responsibility of having to take care of being young, but also of being an adult ahead of time, are things that constantly conflict. Something very interesting is to see that the feature walks through each character, whether protagonist or supporting, seeking to show the difficulties that a deaf family faces, as it explores a genuine social issue that, until today, cannot be solved correctly: How to include the hearing impaired in society and thus break the cycle of prejudice? 

The big point here is the discomfort that the protagonist feels, because what she loves to do is sing. At all times she is singing or listening to music and it is in the school choir that she finds the possibility to live it more intensely. Because she is used to verbal silence - but to the constant sounds of her family who, precisely because she does not know the height of everyday sounds, is used to slamming doors, dishes and even keeping the car stereo loud, to feel the vibration -, she can't express what she feels for the music and in addition to that, Ruby has in his mother, Jackie (Marlee Matlin), the greatest resistance to his passion.

Curiosities

  • In 9 months, actress Emilia Jones learned American Sign Language, improved her singing and learned to use a fishing boat.
  • Real representation on screen does exist, the actors Troy Kotsur, Marlee Matlin and Daniel during they are all deaf in real life.

Masterfully balancing drama and comedy, CODA it is brilliant and moving because it manages to show the inequalities between the difficulties of a deaf family in being understood and accepted by their own community, and a young woman who has never had her voice heard within her own home. The soundtrack used goes beyond an audiovisual technical resource. On here, Heder uses music as a tool to contrast the inevitable silence of deaf characters, as well as making it the voice of its protagonist – who learns to relate socially through music and her beautiful voice.

CODA, a wonderful film that is more than it appears to be / Reproduction Diamond Films

The script well tied with some reservations, manages to build a siege, a suffocating atmosphere that becomes more visible when we realize that Ruby finds herself excluded from her own family. Here, we perceive the interesting vision of the screenwriter and director Sian Heder, it shows us Ruby in the position of being the different person, something usually pointed out by those who judge deafness as a limitation of something beyond hearing and necessarily, it doesn't have to be that way. In this case, the girl puts herself as a defender, as part of them – although she doesn't feel like it – and this makes those who watch the film connect to her not because they can hear, but because they can dream. In that city, by the way, she is different from everyone else and, therefore, bullying is present.

The script by the screenwriter and filmmaker wanders between humor and drama, and in this mixture manages to reach the right tone to build truly emotional moments. Fun and moving, the film is bittersweet from beginning to end, always elevating the audience to the level of depth of the cast's performances, which shine on screen, and captivate us with their intensity and delivery. The actors complement each other in a way that they enter light moments and come out of acidic situations without letting themselves fall and manage to pass scenes that require a very large dramatic load in a surreal way. It's ravishing.

In "CODA – In the Rhythm of the Heart”, it is clear the existence of the melodramatic composition of the young woman who dreams big in the small town. However, it is from the opening minutes that the film presents what really came and the feeling that remains is of crying, of joy and of a warm heart.

CODA Trailer – In the Rhythm of the Heart / Playback
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Thunder Wave note
critique-coda-in-the-rhythm-of-the-heartThe film is beautiful and moving. The actors are in perfect harmony and the fact that deaf actors were chosen was of substantial importance for the film to succeed and to convey the message it proposed. Although it looks like just another movie, it has more potential than meets the eye. The photography is beautiful, the soundtrack goes beyond its function and the script - it has errors, yes - works very well and creates an atmosphere around the protagonist that makes the viewer connect more and more with her. CODA - In Rhythm of the Heart, I knew how to thrill and enchant with just 111 minutes. After all, it's not for nothing that he won the biggest awards in cinema.

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