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Marlee Matlin, Her Perfect Teeth, and CODA

Marlee Matlin, Her Perfect Teeth, and CODA

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Well, CODA looks like it’s getting a bunch of awards, and it’s likely to get a bunch more. The story, in case you haven’t seen it yet, is about a hearing girl in a Deaf family (“CODA” stands for Child of Deaf Adult)

Here’s the preview:

CODA deserves awards; it’s a good movie.

The only reason I haven’t written about it yet here is because I’ve been overwhelmed with school. But it’s a good movie.

I resisted watching it for a long time because I just thought, ‘meh, Marlee Matlin as a fisherman’s wife?! with those perfect teeth?! ha’ Also, I had seen the original French movie and that was enough for me.

But what I forgot was that Marlee Matlin earned that Oscar she won (in Children of the Lesser God). She is an amazing actress, and perfect teeth notwithstanding, she was a believable fisherman’s wife. She was hilarious. They all were. Which brings me to what worked about this movie:

What I liked about CODA:

  1. It was really funny. They did a great job of pulling humor in
  2. it was believable. I could see a lot of moments really happening. I thought it did a good job of fleshing out some of the elements that I’ve heard exist in the lives of real CODA, like the intense (often inappropriate) translating that they usually get pulled into doing
  3. The acting and cinematography were great. The pacing was excellent.
  4. Real Deaf actors. Thank you.
  5. It outlined the need for support for CODA, for interpreters that Deaf families can access.
  6. It touched on the isolation that can exist for so many of us in the d/Deaf community and our real need to be more integrated into hearing spaces and the community at large.
  7. I enjoyed the details – the alarm clocks, the videophone, the close-knit family – all those little pieces made it more believable for me.
  8. It’s predictable. I suppose this might be a drawback? But in this messed up world right now, I kind of need some feel-good predictability that CODA provides.

I was talking about it later with my friend Jane and she pointed out that it’s (yet) another disability movie that is framed around the experience of a non-disabled person. I loved that she made that point – because it’s true! And I had not thought of it!

With that, I started wondering about what the movie would be like from the perspective of the others in the family. The idea of watching a movie about a working Deaf mom in a hearing community with a hearing daughter, Deaf husband and Deaf son would be AH-mahzing. Holy cow, that would be so cool, wouldn’t it?! Pulling each of the characters through my mind, it’s easy to see how different the movie would be if it were framed with one of the Deaf characters in the lead.

And that, well. That’s the movie that I most want to see.

Watch CODA on Apple TV

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