Apple Original Films’ ‘CODA’ breaks new ground for deaf movie theater-goers

For deaf people, movies played in theaters usually offer limited or no captions and the special glasses and equipment needed to read them are often broken or unavailable. Apple Original Films’ “CODA,” a coming-of-age story about the only hearing member of a deaf family, will change that when it is screened with open captions that need no special equipment in all U.S. and U.K. movie theaters and showtimes, starting Friday.

Emilia Jones plays Ruby, the sole hearing member of a deaf family in “CODA,” premiering in theaters and on Apple TV+.
Emilia Jones plays Ruby, the sole hearing member of a deaf family in “CODA,” premiering in theaters and on Apple TV+.

In the film, seventeen-year-old Ruby (Emilia Jones) is the sole hearing member of a deaf family – a CODA, child of deaf adults. Her life revolves around acting as interpreter for her parents (Marlee Matlin, Troy Kotsur) and working on the family’s struggling fishing boat every day before school with her father and older brother (Daniel Durant). But when Ruby joins her high school’s choir club, she discovers a gift for singing and soon finds herself drawn to her duet partner Miles (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo). Encouraged by her enthusiastic, tough-love choirmaster (Eugenio Derbez) to apply to a prestigious music school, Ruby finds herself torn between the obligations she feels to her family and the pursuit of her own dreams.


“It couldn’t be more groundbreaking, (just) as the film is groundbreaking in support of the deaf community and the hard-of-hearing community,” said Marlee Matlin, who plays a deaf mother in the film. Matlin is the only deaf performer to ever win an Oscar, for best actress in “Children of a Lesser God” in 1987.

“CODA” won four awards at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. It also will be streamed with full subtitles in more than 36 languages on Apple TV+, starting Friday.

Apple worked with movie theater operators to ensure the film would be played everywhere, for deaf and hearing audiences alike, with the captions burned into the print in what is thought to be a first for a feature film release in theaters.

“It is historic. It is huge for all us,” said Daniel Durant, a deaf actor who plays son Leo. “This is a day we have waited to see for so many years.”

Durant said while some scenes give the specific viewpoint of deaf people, the appeal of “CODA” is universal. “Anyone who watches this can feel connected with it because everyone comes from a family, and every family goes through similar struggles – kids growing up, what are they going to do in their future, becoming independent, maybe they’re moving away from their family,” he said.

MacDailyNews Note: Apple Original Films’ award-winning “CODA” will debut in theaters and on Apple TV+ on Friday, August. 13th.

Apple TV+ is available on the Apple TV app in over 100 countries and regions, on over 1 billion screens, including iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, iPod touch, Mac, select Samsung, LG, Sony and VIZIO smart TVs, Amazon Fire TV and Roku devices, Chromecast with Google TV, PlayStation and Xbox consoles, and at, for $4.99 per month with a seven-day free trial. For a limited time, customers who purchase a new iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Mac or iPod touch can enjoy one year of Apple TV+ for free. This special offer is good for three months after the first activation of the eligible device.


  1. It’s called subtitles. Nothing remarkable and a movie I wouldn’t see as why pay for a distraction on the screen.

    Timmy just keeps finding new ways to go woke.

    1. Then perhaps Apple should stop providing a soundtrack for its films. It is only an unnecessary expense and probably distracts the hearing-impaired viewers who would prefer to read the subtitles undisturbed.

      1. It is 2021 – almost 2022 (almost 2030, if you have a child who is going back to school). If you want a sound track, turn it on or off. Turn the volume up or down. You want subtitles? Turn them on/ off, choose the language, choose the size. You can even hit pause or scrub forwards and backwards. It is great!

        What percentage of a masked, socially distanced movie theater-going audience is deaf AND remembers to bring their proof of mandatory full vaccination passport? What percentage of the masked and socially distanced deaf audience has access to “special glasses which display subtitles” and remembers to bring their proof of mandatory full vaccination passport? Of masked, socially distanced deaf audience members with access to “special glasses which display subtitles,” what percentage encounter broken or damaged/ unusable units, but also remember to bring their proof of mandatory full vaccination passports? I’m sure you’ll find the CDCs stats online somewhere.

        What percentage of the 599 (paired down from the originally irresponsible 600) workers and guests at Obama’s 60 bash were masked, socially distanced, positive with deltaPLUSpornLambda variant, and remembered to bring their mandatory full vaccination passports?

  2. It’s kind of a special case due to the subject matter, so I don’t think it will change overall standards. Also, if it is a deaf family, then the hearing audience will need the subtitles to understand the sign language.

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