August 30th, 2021
It is common to look at art and, no matter how different it is from you, find something in common. It is rare to find art that is made for the very specific life that you’ve lived.
I do not need a new streaming service, but I’d been eyeing Apple TV+ for a minute. When I saw the trailer for CODA, that needless want became an immediate need.
CODA, if you’re unfamiliar with the term, stands for Child of Deaf Adult. It’s also, if you’re unfamiliar with me (how dare you), what I am.
CODAs make up less than 0.00125 percent of the global population. We are a very niche people. So when I saw there was a film that dared to speak of my experience, I was equal parts wary and excited. I needed only to be ready.
I don’t know if I’ve cried more during any film. To see such specific parts of my life reflected through this beautiful story felt like so many things cycling a million times per minute. Sometimes it felt like a relief. Sometimes it hurt. Sometimes it just felt like home.
One of the best parts of this film (which has a lot of best parts) is that they don’t have “deaf actors” playing “deaf characters.” These are deaf people. Living deaf lives.
Not only did I grow up with deaf parents, but I was a theater and choir kid, too. Which the protagonist, Ruby, also happens to be. Her journey almost felt like it was joyfully teasing mine; that someone found my journals and turned them out loud.
I don’t want to spoil anything — ever — and there are countless scenes that I could pause and tell you all about how THAT actually happened to me. But there was a particular moment between Ruby and her mom, when her mom discovered Ruby could hear, that taught me something I never could have known about my own mom.
Clearly, I recommend this. To everyone. Everywhere. It’s essential to see for the understanding it gives and compassion it shares.
It’s the closest thing I’ve felt to home in a long time.