I watched “CODA” last night well before the Awards ceremony and thought that it was wonderful. It is not a star vehicle and all the better for that. But some stars were made, not least Emilia Jones who was stunning. In our cynical age the movie was just what we needed. No special effects, no posturing prima donnas no “Me, Me, Me” – an absolute lack of phoniness.
I believed “CODA” because it was utterly uncontrived. It was as if I had wandered into that New England fishing village and was watching real life in a real community. But this is not just sentiment – the underlying issues in the story were real and tough. How we deal with disability individually and collectively the main one. And how we deal with differences – of ability, of gender, of needs. This was a small canvas but a very rich one full of colour.
Over the years the French have done emotion well with cinema vérité and despite the setting this is a very French film. The central character Ruby had echoes of Amelie and even Betty Blue and many other ingénues in French cinema. I didn’t feel that the movie was much about modern America – the brief reference to Donald Trump was little more than a signal of time. This is actually a timeless story and whilst mobile phones and text messages occasionally intrude we could have been in the 1950s.
Obviously our opinions of art are subjective but the Oscar process reduces that subjectivity by aggregating the choices of Academy members. For me “CODA” is an instant classic. I’m delighted that it won best film because that will bring more people to it.