blue graphic with the cover photo of the movie CODA

Why You Should Watch CODA

Penny was the first person in our family to watch CODA, the Best-Picture winning film which doubles as a coming-of-age story and a reflection on life in a family as a child of Deaf adults (aka CODA).  

Peter and I finally watched it last weekend, and I recommend it not only because it is a feel-good story about a teenager finding her way. And not only because the director cast Deaf actors to portray Deaf people and called attention to some of the struggles of experiencing deafness in a world that is designed for hearing. 

I recommend it because it captures:

The tension of both wanting to conform and wanting to reject a society designed as if disabilities don’t exist (or shouldn’t exist). 

The desire to protect family members with disabilities from a world that seems primed to reject them and the need to enter into that world.

The hope that human relationships and love can actually overcome painful social barriers.

The truth that people with disabilities don’t need to be saved from themselves or from others. 

The truth that people with disabilities do need justice and respect. 

CODA is not a perfect reflection of life with disability. As this article in the New York Times pointed out, Deaf adults feel conflicted in response to the film because it gets aspects of Deaf culture wrong. But it also got something right about what it looks like to face fear and struggle and hold on to love.

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