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.