Coda is a mostly likable concoction, but one that’s just too formulaic and ultimately rather calculated to secure the emotional response it so desperately wants by the big finale.
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It becomes pretty obvious early on that CODA is one of those movies where you know where the story is going pretty much the entire time, but the elements harmonize so beautifully it still sucks you in.
It’s a crowd-pleaser, to be sure, and a little on the corny side, but it’s so unwavering in its sincerity that it manages to hit all the right notes.
If you're going to make a film that sticks to the playbook, or playbooks, this is how to do it: CODA is a radiant, deeply satisfying heartwarmer that more than embraces formula; it locates the pleasure and pureness in it, reminding us of the comforting, even cathartic, gratifications of a feel-good story well told.
It’s a crowd-pleaser that works its formula well, even as it breaks new ground.
Writer/director Sian Heder, with her exceptional cast, remains in full control of the tone even as the story follows every predictable beat. You’ve seen versions of this story before, sure—but this one’s worthy of another spin.
Heder infuses the characters and plot with such deep emotion it makes up for its lack of narrative originality.
Coda, even with all of its imperfections, drives home a truckload of emotions in its final act, filled with more silence than noise.
Siân Heder, who came up as a writer and story editor on “Orange Is the New Black,” has directed just one previous feature (“Tallulah”), but she’s got the gift — the holy essence of how to shape and craft a drama that spins and burbles and flows.
Often quite touching and funny, writer-director Sian Heder’s second feature sometimes succumbs to contrivances and crowd-pleasing theatrics, but one can hardly fault her obvious affection for these messy, engaging characters.