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CODA is a beautifully shot and brilliantly scripted film that tells the story of a family and their struggles.

The main focus is on a family of four, all of which are deaf, except for the teenage daughter who is hearing, a child of deaf adults (CODA). The story follows them as they navigate life and its challenges. I won’t give away the plot in the CODA film review, but as someone who works with the hard of hearing at Marin Hearing Center, I was very moved by this film. Watching the frustration of the deaf characters in various aspects of their life really made me think about the challenges they face in a hearing world. From running a business to supporting their only hearing child, the layers of challenges were apparent. In contrast, it also brought to light issues of being the only hearing member of a family and how to navigate the many situations that required her assistance. The hearing child had a huge responsibility to help with the family business and had obligations that made her teenage life difficult.

As hearing individuals, we take for granted so many things that make our life easier.

This film made me really look at what those things are and what I can do to help the deaf community. Learning sign language has always interested me and I am going to sign up for classes now so I can have the skills to communicate. I can’t help but wonder how much harder life has been since the pandemic and mask-wearing. Many deaf people read lips and rely on that form of communication with others who don’t sign.

Actor Troy Kotsur won the Oscar for best supporting actor for his role as the deaf father. He is only the second deaf person in history to win an oscar. Interestingly, the original actor chosen to play the role wasn’t deaf, but the producers convinced the study that having a deaf actor play a deaf role would be more authentic.

I hope you enjoyed this CODA film review. I highly recommend this film and hope many people see it. You will learn about being deaf and about being a hearing person with deaf family members. It is truly a heartwarming story so have the tissues ready!

by Robin Casper, Practice Manager, Marin Hearing Center