Why CODA‘s heart and mainstream coming-of-age story upended Hollywood

When CODA took the award for Best Picture at the 94th Academy Awards, more than a few people probably stared blankly at the screen. The wonderfully affecting, tightly written and executed film toppled Hollywood favorites, including The Power of the Dog and Belfast. While it spent some time in commercial theaters, the movie spent most of its life streaming on Apple+ after its release on August 13, 2021.

My full review is live at the Independent Institute. But I think the secret to CODA‘s win is pretty straightforward. As I write

… CODA’s story centers on a teenage girl trying to discover her own sense of self while grappling with fears, anxieties, and frustrations common to most families raising children.

The fact she is the only hearing child of a deaf family creates a compelling story. Its story is also one that deeply resonates with a universal human experience.

While CODA checked a social justice box – CODA stands for Child of Deaf Adult – the story resonates with universal human experiences. What does it mean to belong? When do I prioritize my needs? What responsibility do I play on the happiness and success of others?

Combine these questions with a well crafted script, tight direction, and an excellent cast and you get – a great film.

For more, follow the link to the full review. And don’t forget to check out all my recent movie reviews.

Author: SR Staley
SR Staley has one more than 11 literary awards for his fiction and nonfiction writing. He is on the full-time faculty of the College and Social Sciences and Public Policy at Florida State University as well as a film critic and research fellow at the Independent Institute in Oakland, California. His award-winning Pirate of Panther Bay series (syppublishing.com) has won awards in historical fiction, mainstream & literary fiction, young adult fiction, and reached the finals in women's fiction. His most recent book is "The Beatles and Economics: Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and the Making of a Cultural Revolution" due out in April 2020 (Routledge).