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Film / Coda (2019)

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Helen: Just play for them. I'll be listening.
Henry: I'll be playing for you.

A 2019 drama directed by Claude Lalonde.

Henry Cole (Patrick Stewart) is an legendary, but aging, classical concert pianist whose recent performances have been marred by stage fright and anxiety attacks. Helen Morrison (Katie Holmes), a music journalist, wants to profile Henry, but he's reluctant, even as his manager Paul (Giancarlo Esposito) begins to arrange a comeback concert tour. Through Helen's profile, she and Henry develop an intimate rapport.


Tropes in this film:

  • Double-Meaning Title: A "coda" is the end of a musical piece, which fits the protagonist's pianist occupation. It's also meaningful since he's in the twilight of his career; this upcoming concert tour is his coda.
  • Forgotten First Meeting: Helen informs Henry that they had actually met fifteen years prior, and he gave her advice that turned her off from a music career.
  • The Lost Lenore: Henry's wife died a couple of years prior to the film. According to Paul, he barely spoke for two years, and the trauma of her death contributes to the Performance Anxiety he still has in the present.
  • Minimalist Cast: Henry, Helen, and Paul are the only characters of note.
  • Most Writers Are Writers: Female lead Helen is a music critic, and the film is framed around her attempting to profile Henry.
  • Advertisement:
  • The Muse: Helen slowly becomes an anchor and inspiration to the elderly and depressed pianist Henry. As he tells her late in the film, he'll be playing for her.
  • Performance Anxiety: Henry has been starting to have panic attacks while performing onstage.
  • Scenery Porn: The shots of the Swiss Alps at the end of the film are gorgeous; in-universe the scenery helps calm Henry down.
  • Time-Passage Beard: At the very end while Henry is in the Alps, he's grown a beard, implying that some time has passed.