Song of the Day #4,991: ‘Both Sides Now’ – Emilia Jones

My final selection for best musical moments in a 2021 film comes from another movie I’ll be writing about in more detail later this month — CODA, the second feature from writer/director Sian Heder.

CODA is the story of Ruby, a hearing daughter of deaf parents who develops a passion for singing that doesn’t fit her parents’ expectations. It’s an oft-told tale of a young person fighting to forge an identity outside of a constrictive environment, but given a fresh and emotionally resonant twist.

Given that this is a movie about an aspiring singer, CODA has plenty of memorable musical moments. One I considered for this list depicts a school recital through the eyes (and ears) of Ruby’s family, putting us in their position of alienation and confusion.

Another finds Ruby and her father (the amazing Troy Kotsur) sitting together after that concert, when he asks her to sing for him as he places his hands gently around her neck to feel her vocal cords.

But the one that squeezed tears out of my stubbornly dry eyes comes at the film’s climax, when Ruby auditions for a college music program. Her family sneaks into the balcony to watch, and halfway through the performance Ruby starts singing to them.

I’ve watched this moment more than a half dozen times now, either as part of the film or as a standalone clip, and it never fails to choke me up. It’s a testament to Emilia Jones’ masterful performance as Ruby, but also the authenticity of the familial relationship developed over the course of the film.

More to come on CODA, but I encourage you to check it out if you haven’t yet, for this moment and so many others.

[Verse 1]
Rows and floes of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere
I’ve looked at clouds that way

[Verse 2]
But now they only block the sun
They rain and snow on everyone
So many things I would have done
But clouds got in my way

I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow
It’s cloud illusions I recall
I really don’t know clouds at all

[Verse 3]
Moons and Junes and Ferris wheels
The dizzy dancing way that you feel
As every fairy tale comes real
I’ve looked at love that way

[Verse 4]
But now it’s just another show
You leave ’em laughing when you go
And if you care, don’t let them know
Don’t give yourself away

I’ve looked at love from both sides now
From give and take, and still somehow
It’s love’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know love at all

[Verse 5]
Tears and fears and feeling proud
To say “I love you” right out loud
Dreams and schemes and circus crowds
I’ve looked at life that way

[Verse 6]
But now old friends are acting strange
They shake their heads, they say I’ve changed
Well something’s lost, but something’s gained
In living every day

I’ve looked at life from both sides now
From win and lose and still somehow
It’s life’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know life
At all

I’ve looked at life from both sides now
From up and down and still somehow
It’s life’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know life
At all

5 thoughts on “Song of the Day #4,991: ‘Both Sides Now’ – Emilia Jones

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    This song, and the others you mentioned, along with many other scenes, bring tears to my stubborn dry eyes as well.

    This is such a special movie and I would love to see it take home the big prize at the Academy Awards.

  2. Thank you for turning me on to yet another musical gem. I have heard nothing about this film — which I now must find and watch.

  3. Maddie says:

    Oof love this song selection so much! And rooting for this movie as well 🙂

  4. Peg says:

    I love this film and I have tears in my eyes just reading and remembering that scene 😢

  5. Amy says:

    Love, love, love CODA and this special scene. My top 5 list of musical movie moments would definitely include “Wherever I Fall” from Cyrano.

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