Introduktion og formål

The purpose of this material is to place focus on the struggles of growing up and following your dreams. Through interpretation and analysis, the pupils will gain a sense of what is at stake in the film, and they will learn how to compare their own lives with what is going on in the film.  Finally, they will write about incidents that have changed their own lives. 


Kompetenceområde: Fortolkning 
Kompetencemål: Eleven kan forholde sig til kultur, identitet og sprog gennem systematisk undersøgelse og diskussion af litteratur og andre æstetiske tekster
Færdigheds- og vidensområder: Oplevelse og indlevelse, undersøgelse, fortolkning og perspektivering

Foto: Nordisk Filmdistribution

Film og forforståelse


'CODA' is a film about a girl named Ruby. She is the only hearing person in her family as her brother and parents are all deaf. The acronym CODA stands for Child of Deaf Adults and it is also a music term that describes the ending of a piece of music. This is interesting as the film ends with a concert which the viewer does not get to hear. We experience this scene through the ”eyes” of a deaf person. The film is interesting as characters with hearing impairments are not often represented in film and TV, but through this film we get a glimpse of some of the challenges that deaf people encounter and the difficulties that hearing children of deaf parents might experience. The pupils can work on this effect as they progress through this material. Furthermore, this film has won three Oscar Awards (2022) and several other prizes. It is a remake of the French film 'La Famille Bélier' (2014). 


Titel: CODA
Originaltitel: CODA 
Produktionsland og -år: USA, Canada, Frankrig, 2021
Instruktion: Sian Heder
Længde: 111 min
Distribution: Nordisk Filmdistribution A/S
Medierådet for Børn og Unges vurdering: Frarådes børn under syv år. Find vurdering her.

Emilia Jones
Troy Kotsur 
Daniel Durant 
Marlee Martin 
Amy Forsyth 
Ferdia Walsh-Peelo
Eugenio Derbez


CODA means Child of Deaf Adults and the title is therefore important to discuss before seeing the film. The fact that CODA is also a term used to refer to the ending of a piece of music is also essential to consider in an initial discussion about the title and what this might have to do with the film.

Foto: Nordisk Filmdistribution A/S


Ruby is the only hearing person in her family. Her brother and parents are deaf and this makes Ruby their lifeline to the community around them. As a teenager, Ruby is like most others. She feels insecure and she does not know what the future after high school holds for her. The family owns a fishing boat and catching and selling fish is their only source of income. Ruby helps out on the boat and she bears a huge responsibility as she has to help communicate for her parents in many situations. In some situations, Ruby feels embarrassed by her parents as they have a unique way of interacting with others and she finds their house dirty.

In school, Ruby has a weak spot for a boy named Miles. Their music teacher, Mr. V, is very eccentric. He recognises Ruby’s talent for singing and wants Ruby and Miles to perform a duet. Ruby starts taking private singing lessons as her big dream is to go to a music college away from home. On multiple occasions, Ruby is late for her lessons because of her job helping out on the boat and eventually she has to make a choice. She tells her family that she wants to follow her passion for music. This decision does not make her family happy as they rely on her help to get by, but they also know that they cannot continue relying on her.

Foto: Nordisk Filmdistribution A/S

One day, Ruby spends an entire day with Miles. This action proves to be a big mistake. On this particular day, the family boat is being observed by the authorities. This situation ends with the family receiving a fine and a ticket which means that the family has a hard time keeping their business afloat. The family blames Ruby for what happened but despite the situation, Ruby finally decides to follow her dreams.

The film ends at a school concert where Ruby and Miles sing their duet. However, we do not get to hear the final song as the sound is removed from the track and thus we get to experience how her family might feel and experience the whole situation. After the concert and the audition at the music college, Ruby sets off to her new future at the music college. 

Foto: Nordisk Filmdistribution A/S



Ruby feels left out both at school and at home. She gets bullied at school because she sometimes smells of fish from working on her father’s boat. In her early school years, she had difficulties speaking as her family was unable to speak properly due to her parents’ deafness. These experiences made her withdrawn and she sticks to her only friend. Ruby is not the only character who feels left out. Her brother feels left out when he goes to the pub with the other fishermen. When the others are talking together, he finds it difficult to follow their conversations and to keep up with what is being said. In some respects, the family also leaves the brother out because they let Ruby take on too much responsibility for her age. Her brother feels that he is capable of taking charge himself. In certain respects, the whole family is also left out and isolated. As a result of their inability to hear, they do not have any friends in the local community and they keep to themselves. 

Foto: Nordisk Filmdistribution A/S


For Ruby, there are many ”bumps on the road” to adulthood. She takes on great responsibilities regarding her family and she works hard to make ends meet for the family business. When on one rare occasion she neglects her duties, this has a huge impact on the family business. Her music teacher notices her talent for singing and convinces her to pursue her dream of going to a music college. Following her dreams makes her feel guilty as leaving the family might make it more difficult for them to get through their everyday lives. On the other hand, if she does not go off to follow her dreams then she might end up staying with her family and continuing life as she knows it for the rest of her life. She experiences pressure on both fronts and, in the end, she makes the decision to put herself first. Her family eventually come around and support her choice when they see how much she wants it. Making that choice also inspires the family to have faith that they can manage without her helping them. 

This material can be combined with the lesson plans for Danish.



Subjective sound is used in the film to emphasise how the world is perceived by the family. In the final scene in which Ruby and Miles sing together, the sound drops out. By using this effect, the pupils get a feel for how the family experiences the concert and what is going on around them. In other situations in the film, camera angles are used to make what is going on in the film more evocative and to emphasise a certain feeling or mood. Ruby's brother heads out to a bar with the other fishermen after work and he has a hard time keeping up with their conversations. The camera lets us know and see what the brother is focusing on during the conversations in the bar. 


Conflicts are what drive a film forward. The way conflicts are presented, escalated and resolved is what makes a film interesting and they enable the viewer to identify with the characters. Ruby has several conflicts – both internal and external. They escalate when the family business is in danger. At this point in the film, Ruby neglects her internal conflicts and decides to forget her dreams of becoming a singer. Instead, she chooses to help her family. In the end, Ruby has to make a decision that has consequences for both herself and her family. 


The genre is a coming-of-age drama. Ruby grows throughout the film and this forces her family to change their ways. We get an insight into her life both through what is being said and what is not. The conflicts form and change the characters in the film and Ruby’s encounters with Miles and the flamboyant music teacher ultimately have decisive consequences for what decisions Ruby chooses to make. 

Foto: Nordisk Filmdistribution A/S