• Have you seen CODA?

    Posted by deann-r on March 29, 2022 at 8:00 am

    Surprisingly, despite not going to theaters, I’ve seen several of the Oscar-nominated films. Thank you for streaming services. One of the movies is CODA. Several nominations awarded the film 3 Oscars. Among the Best Picture as well as Best Supporting Actor went to Troy Kotsur. Only the second deaf actor to win an Oscar. His performance certainly warrants recognition. Comedic yet heartfelt, his character along with the entire cast sheds light on many issues families deal with when you add disability into the mix.

    CODA is an acronym that stands for a child of deaf adult(s). Typically coda refers to a hearing person who has a deaf parent or parents. In this film, both of the main character’s parents and brother are deaf while she is not. Having a disability myself with a sister who doesn’t I felt a greater connection to the film. My sister often took on the role of caretaker. Although I appreciate everything she’s done for me, I don’t want to hold her back or have her resent me. Does she help make things easier? Yes. Can I make do without her help? Yes.

    While I don’t have disabled parents it was easy to feel connected to their situation. Every good parent wants the best for their child. At some point, you have to trust you did your job. Even if they’re pursuing something you can’t connect with. Even if it means you’ll have to do things differently. When you’ve relied on each other for so long letting go can be difficult. I see it with parents who have kids with SMA. A lot of times they struggle to realize their kids can make a go of it.

    Perception is another topic the movie touches on. How you feel you and your family is perceived might be completely different than how you actually are perceived by others. This is demonstrated when the main character forms a relationship with a young man. She’s mortified by her family while he finds it comical and even refreshing in a way. It just goes to show how we see a situation isn’t how everyone sees it.

    Have you watched the film? What parallels can you draw? Did they miss the mark on anything? If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend adding it to your watchlist.

    deann-r replied 2 years ago 3 Members · 4 Replies
  • 4 Replies
  • alyssa-silva

    March 29, 2022 at 6:58 pm

    I haven’t watched it yet, but I did watch the Oscars. (Fun fact: the movie was filmed about an hour away from my house.) I loved Tony’s speech and how he dedicated it to the entire disability community. Gave me goosebumps. I’m going to have to definitely watch it now. Where did you stream it?

    • deann-r

      March 29, 2022 at 9:30 pm

      Agree it was an awesome speech. His co-star mentioned she hopes it opens the floodgates for more movies like this. Time will tell, but I hope so. I watched it through a trial of Apple+. Not sure if it’s available on other platforms or not.

  • kevin-schaefer

    April 18, 2022 at 12:15 pm

    I finally watched CODA last night. I liked it ok but didn’t think it was amazing. Phenomenal cast and it’s a touching, feel-good coming-of-age comedy, but I get some criticisms from members of the deaf community. Like, there’s nothing wrong with telling a story from the perspective of a non-disabled family member, but it didn’t add up that they were so reliant on her for being their interpreter when she’s the youngest and the dad grew up in the town his whole life. Part of it is the ignorance of the people around them and that they’re a close-knit family, but it didn’t make sense that they relied on Ruby so much and treated the older, deaf son differently. Why would two lifelong deaf parents treat their son, who has the same disability, in a baby-like way?

    It’s done better than previous movies, but it still has some “disability as a burden” stereotypes. And the parents’ total lack of understanding of why their daughter gravitated toward music was really awkward. That’s like if I had a kid and told them they were weird for wanting to play sports. Plus I know deaf individuals who love and experience music in different ways.

    Overall, it’s a decent movie and I’m glad for any progress in the realm of disability representation. I’m really glad it’s done well, and I especially loved Troy Kotsur’s performance. I just hope that future films that tackle disability move away from these stereotypes and put more focus on the stories of disabled characters, told by disabled creators.

    • deann-r

      April 21, 2022 at 10:08 am

      Thanks for your perspective Kevin! As you say there are issues with the movie. At first I had some of the same reservations, but when I thought about it I feel like they had to overemphasize some of the dynamics to get their point across. My main gripe is that currently it’s only available on Apple+. If more people could watch it more people could have this discission.

      In the disabled community we often see parents hold back their children. Sometimes it’s because they’re not confident in their abilities, sometimes it’s to protect them. That’s what I saw with the relationship with their son. Yes, being deaf themselves you would think they’d act differently, but sometimes it’s hard to break the cycle.

      The burden complex is a tricky one to tackle. Even though it seems like they relied on Ruby a lot, it is easy for the non-disabled person to fall into the support role. Most of the time it’s just something that comes naturally and really shouldn’t impede either party. In this case it becomes a point of contention. I do think the parents came to the realization that even though it was easy to rely on their daughter, they didn’t have to.

      As far as the parents dismissing Ruby’s passion, it was a bit extreme, but it had to be to make the movie. It’s still an interesting concept. Can you be 100% supportive when you can’t relate?

      I’m glad you were able to watch the film. It’ll be interesting to see how disability evolves in Hollywood.

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