Apple TV+ has put out a bunch of high-profile original movies in the year-and-a-half since its launch. “On the Rocks,” “Greyhound,” and “Cherry” were all made with veteran directors and big-name stars. But critics weren’t as enthusiastic about any of those projects as the streamer might have hoped. “CODA,” on the other hand, has been piling up accolades without an A-lister in sight.
Apple acquired the rights to distribute the New England drama with a record-setting $25 million bid days after its premiere at January’s Sundance Film Festival, where it won an unprecedented four awards in the U.S. Dramatic Competition. Prior to “CODA,” the last two films to win both the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award were “Minari” in 2020 and “Fruitvale Station” in 2013. That bodes well for the Directing Award-winner Siân Heder, who wrote for “Orange Is the New Black” before making her feature debut with “Tallulah” in 2015. Two films into her career, Heder is making a strong imprint as a potentially major voice in the industry.
Here’s the official synopsis:
“Seventeen-year-old Ruby is the sole hearing member of a deaf family – a CODA, child of deaf adults. Her life revolves around acting as an interpreter for her parents and working on the family’s struggling fishing boat every day before school with her father and older brother. But when Ruby joins her high school’s choir club, she discovers a gift for singing and soon finds herself drawn to her duet partner Miles. Encouraged by her enthusiastic, tough-love choirmaster to apply to a prestigious music school, Ruby finds herself torn between the obligations she feels to her family and the pursuit of her own dreams.”
Ruby and her romantic interest Miles are played by Emilia Jones (“Locke & Key”) and Ferdia Walsh-Peelo (“Sing Street”) respectively, with Eugenio Derbez (“Instructions Not Included”) as their choirmaster. Marlee Matlin and Troy Kotsur portray Ruby’s parents while Daniel Durant (“You”) plays her brother. The heaviest name here is obviously Matlin, the only deaf performer to have ever won an Academy Award (“Best Actress” for 1986’s “Children of a Lesser God”). Given the praise, she’s already received and the critical adoration for “CODA” in general, it’s not impossible to imagine her walking the red carpet again next year.
The movie will be available on Apple TV+ beginning August 13. Watch the trailer below.