Daniel Durant, Marlee Matlin, Justin Chang discussed on Fresh Air


Of a lesser God. Our film critic Justin Chang has this review of Kota The title of the new movie, Koda is an acronym for Child of Deaf Adults. Here. It refers to a teenager named Ruby played by a terrific Amelia Chance who's the only hearing member of her close knit family. They run a scrappy fishing business in Gloucester, Massachusetts, and Ruby spends a lot of time helping out joining the family on the water every morning before school and serving as their interpreter. Ruby is also a talented singer and wants to attend music school in Boston. But she worries that her family might not be able to get by without her. And that they'll never understand her love for music. That's a pretty pat irony. But the writer director Sean Hater, seems well aware of it. Cota is an unabashedly formulaic coming of age story. But it uses that formula to show us characters and experiences we seldom see in movies. It's also proved unexpectedly divisive. Rapturously received by many at Sundance for its sweet, heartfelt emotion. It's also been dismissed by others as blend and sentimental. It's been praised for putting a spotlight on deaf characters, but also criticized for putting a hearing character front and center. Not to be too equivocal about it, but I think there's an element of truth to all these arguments. Koda strikes me as both clumsy and lovely. And while I Winston, it's contrivances. It was also undeniably moved by it in ways that caught me off guard. Much of that is due to the actors. Notably, the deaf characters are all played by deaf performers. Thanks to the behind the scenes efforts of the movie is best known actor Marlee Matlin. She plays Ruby's mom, Jackie, while Troy Katsura plays her dad, Frank. They're an endearingly rough around the edges duo with a course sense of humor. But the movie exaggerates for comic effect. Ruby is often embarrassed by their behavior at home and in public. But it's partly their way of showing how unconcerned they are with what others especially hearing people, think of them. Ruby's older brother, Leo, played by Daniel Durant is just as defiant. He hates the ways he and his parents are marginalized for being deaf. And he often resents his younger sister for being their trusted go between Saint Ruby as he calls her. Ruby is pretty tired of it herself, especially when life starts presenting other possibilities. Should begin singing at school and thrives under a teacher who encourages her to apply to Berklee College of Music. And this being a coming of age story. There, of course, has to be a romance with a nice boy in her music class, whom Ruby pairs up with at one point for a duet of You're.

Coming up next