Although there will be talk of the slap between Will Smith and Chris Rock for months, the 2022 Oscars ceremony has seen some high and low between surprises and spot-on forecasts. To win the Oscar for best film of 2022, however, it was The Signs Of The Heart (CODA in the original), a film that deals with adolescence in a deaf family of the only hearing daughter. The director, sian heder, had already made a film with quite particular themes in 2016, Tallulah, with Elliot page as a girl struggling with a little girl in a Manhattan full of poor parenting figures. The director said she was “grateful to the deaf community and to CODA for having permanently changed his life, as an artist and as a human being ".
Please note:: the following review contains spoilers of I Segni del Cuore. If you are interested in seeing the film in question, skip the next part and go directly to the evaluation!
Plot in a nutshell
Ruby Rossi (Emilia jones) is a seventeen-year-old girl who lives with her family in Gluchaster, Massachussets. Since she is the only hearing member of her family since she was a child, she has seen the responsibility of mediating. Her family (Troy Kotsur, Daniel Durant and Marlee Matlin) and the rest of the world, on the other hand, seem to her separate realities. This obviously didn't make her particularly popular at school. Her father and her older brother, both fishermen, are not doing well between quotas and the falling market. Ruby helps them on the boat before they go to school, which negatively affects their academic performance.
But the girl's life changes when she joins the choir and meets Mr. V. (Eugenio Verbez), a singing teacher with somewhat particular methods. Singing has always been a taboo for Ruby: her family would not hear it and it would be rude to sideline them from such an important thing. What initially was therefore an impulsive choice - Miles (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo), guy Ruby likes - turns into an opportunity to make life's dream come true. Ruby, indeed, has a beautiful voice and her Mr. V decides to teach her what she knows to allow her to go to college.
At the same time the family decides to go out on their own (also due to financial tightness) and Ruby serves as a mediator: her position is not easy and, in the end, she decides to follow her dream. Before her at the fall school concert and then at the college auditions, her family supports her and goes to "listen" to her; initially surrounded by silence alone, at the audition Ruby she uses sign language thus making the family participate. In the finale, Ruby's departure for college is observed. The family assists her and watches her leave, then the girl thinks back, she goes back and hugs them for a long time. Finally, she leans out the window, greeting them with a "i love you forever"In sign language.
A film that tried to break me from the start
While not enjoying I Segni del Cuore at the cinema, the film managed to catch and capture me from the very beginning. The director Sian Heder has managed, through a masterly direction, to make Ruby's life live in everyday life; the first hours, with the silence of the sea and the sound of the boat, up to the noisy school full of voices. Finally, the house, with loud noises, rattling dishes and the daily life of clashes and divergent interests.
Special mention goes to Troy Kotsur, Daniel Durant e Marlee matlin, many scenes with them appeared to me to be decidedly felt, probably because they were first-person protagonists beyond the acting role of people with hearing impairments. A difference that detaches the original film, The Beliér family, for identification and depth.
I appreciated the way the film has of making it clear how difficult it is to integrate two distant but equal communities; the fact that sign language is completely unknown to those who do not use it, how it separates two groups in substance with the same problems and how this can create barriers in addition to those already present in hearing impairments. In spite of everything, I Segni del Cuore did not manage to break me, to make me fall in tears; his goal, however, he pursues it in a fine way and it can be said that he brings home a good result.