As a CODA (Child of Deaf Adults) Ruby is the only hearing person in her deaf family. When the family’s fishing business is threatened, Ruby finds herself torn between pursuing her passion at Berklee College of Music and her fear of abandoning her parents.
Gloucester, Massachusetts. As a Child of Deaf Adults and the only hearing person in her family, high school senior Ruby Rossi always has a lot on her plate. Indeed, trying to juggle back-breaking work on her father’s fishing boat, schoolwork, social life, and the family’s expectations can be too much for a teenager. But do her parents know Ruby loves to sing? When Ruby signs up for the school choir, singing becomes a passion, and suddenly, the talented young girl finds herself at a crossroads: should Ruby spread her wings and follow her dreams, or should she keep fighting everyday battles as a member of the proud Rossi clan?
IMDb RATING : 8.1/10
Ruby is the only hearing member of a deaf family from Gloucester, Massachusetts. At 17, she works mornings before school to help her parents and brother keep their fishing business afloat. But in joining her high school’s choir club, Ruby finds herself drawn to both her duet partner and her latent passion for singing.
Release date: 13 August 2021 (USA)
Adapted from: The Belier Family
Distributed by: Apple TV+
In Gloucester, Massachusetts, Ruby Rossi is the only hearing member of her family: her parents Frank and Jackie and older brother Leo are all culturally deaf. She assists with the family fishing business and plans to join it full-time after finishing high school. Ruby auditions for the school choir, run by Bernardo Villalobos (or Mr. V), but when she is called upon to sing, she panics and runs away. She later returns to Mr. V and explains that she was bullied for talking funny as a child. Mr. V accepts Ruby into the choir after hearing her beautiful voice and encourages her to be more confident.
Mr. V pairs Ruby with Miles, a fellow student, for a duet at the upcoming choir recital. Their first performance goes poorly as they each prepare separately; Mr. V insists that they get together on their own to practice. Ruby invites Miles to her house to practice, but they are interrupted by Frank and Jackie loudly having sex in the next room over. Ruby later hears classmates in the cafeteria mocking the incident behind her back; Miles apologizes for spreading the story, but she wants nothing to do with him. She eventually forgives him and they resume their practice while kindling a relationship.
Meanwhile, Frank and Leo struggle to make ends meet with the fishing business as new fees and sanctions are imposed by the local board. At a board meeting, Frank stands and announces that he is starting his own company to get around the new restrictions and sell his fish on his own, inviting other local fishermen to join in. The family struggles to get the company off the ground, relying on Ruby to talk to people and spread the word.
Mr. V encourages Ruby to audition for Berklee College of Music and offers her private lessons to prepare. Ruby joins him for the lessons, but becomes increasingly busy helping her family with the business. Mr. V grows irritated with her constantly being late and making excuses, canceling their lessons. He chastises her for wasting his time and accuses her of not caring enough about music.
While fishing one day, Frank and Leo are intercepted by the Coast Guard after failing to respond to ship horns and radio calls. They are fined and have their fishing licenses revoked for their negligence; they appeal and manage to get their license back on the condition that they have a hearing person on board with them at all times. Ruby announces to the family that she is foregoing college and will join the business full-time. Her parents are supportive, but Leo reacts angrily, insisting that they can manage their own problems without Ruby’s help.
Ruby’s family attends her choir recital, and while they cannot hear her sing, they notice the positive reception from the audience around them. That night, Frank asks Ruby to sing a song for him while he feels her vocal cords, growing emotional. The entire family then drives to Boston with Ruby for her Berklee audition; they are not supposed to enter the audition hall, but they sneak up to the balcony to watch anyway. Ruby is nervous at first but gains confidence when she sees her family; she signs along with the song so they can understand what she is saying.
Some time later, Ruby is accepted to Berklee; she shares the news with her family and Mr. V, who are all excited for her, before asking Miles to visit her in Boston sometime. Meanwhile, the hearing workers in the family’s fishing business have been learning sign language, allowing them to interpret for the family. Ruby’s friend Gertie drives her to Boston for college as her family sees them off; Ruby signs “I love you” to them as they drive away.