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  • Photos Courtesy of APPLE TV

I think some folks might be wary of watching CODA (streaming on Apple TV), as it’s being promoted as a moving, tear-jerking tale about a deaf family trying to navigate life. Sounds like a downer or at least a sad story. But CODA is very special and very inspiring. Yes, of course, I cried … but they were happy tears and happy tears can be very fulfilling and rewarding.

At the beginning of the story, we meet the Rossi family (the mother and father portrayed beautifully by Marlee Matlin and Troy Kotsur), brother Leo (Daniel Durant), and their daughter, Ruby (Emilia Jones), who is the only hearing member of the family. Her plate is very full as she helps with the family fishing business each morning (they rise at 3am!), while attending school full time. She is the family’s sole interpreter. They only trust Ruby. This is a lot of pressure for a blossoming teenage girl. Through signing, the family shares an extreme closeness and an irreversible tight bond. 

The thing is … Ruby wants to sing. She gets up the courage to join her school choir and realizes that singing is her true passion in life, not the fishing boat or rushing around and looking after the family business. What I find most profound is that the family can’t ever hear her sing … or sing so beautifully. They cannot understand the passion or effects of music — not being able to hear it, they don’t know that music can touch and even heal one’s soul. It’s a hard reality for all of them. Love will overcome, right? It usually does if you have a little faith. CODA is jam-packed with other subject matter … the typical ugly duckling syndrome, high school bullying, romance (love the brother!), first kisses, being embarrassed by your parents … all of which makes the story even richer. The cast also includes Eugenio Derbez, Amy Forsyth, Kevin Chapman, and Lonnie Farmer. An English-language remake of the 2014 French film La Famille Bélier, CODA is written and directed by Sian Heder. It was filmed on location in Gloucester, Massachusetts.

If you’re a Joni Mitchell fan (as I am!) there is a moment that will yes, make you sob, but in the best way. I really enjoyed this film and I know you will too. Watch it!

CODA” is streaming on Apple TV.