By Cynthia Ayala
“Aspiring musician Miguel, confronted with his family’s ancestral ban on music, enters the Land of the Dead to find his great-great-grandfather, a legendary singer.” —IMDB
A fun family film, Coco is such a delightful film that is culturally appropriate and accurate. As a Mexican woman, I enjoy it when my culture is represented accurately, leaving all the stereotypes behind, and Coco does that beautifully while also making the film about a special holiday revolving around remembrance. Día de Los Muertos is an important holiday for many Hispanics because it is about remembering and celebrating the family members who have passed on. Moreover, the importance of family is stressed so powerfully in this movie. This film celebrated that by not turning it into some spooky film, contorting it as many do, it taps into everything that holiday is about and gives it life, much like the day does in real life for the dead. Remembering those who have passed on keeps them alive, and celebrating them does so as well.
However, more than that, the film and holiday are all about family. The family connection is important in the film because that is what the film is all about. It is about making sure those connections do not get lost, about making sure everyone listens to each other. Miguel is running from the only family he has ever known to find a stranger because his family does not like his passion for music, they ban it, thus creating this barrier between him and them. There was a lack of communication between Miguel and his family that needed to be resolved. This family needed to listen to one another; they needed to learn to accept each other’s passions for one another. they needed to remember to put love and acceptance above all else. Moreover, they did, and it was beautiful.
The point of this movie is that while there is a past to hold onto that does not mean the past needs to hold you down or back. The past remains to help people learn and connect with one other, and through this, help the family form a deeper connection with their forgotten roots. It is all about connection, this film, and that is what makes is so powerful and so fun and loving, the family is connecting, both the past and the present, they are learning to communicate better and listen to one another. No family is perfect, and the elders in the family always want to do what they think is best for their children/grandchildren so much that they often forget to listen. However, that does not mean Miguel was listening either; he wanted to prove something with his family without communicating his passion, his heart. Communication is a two-way street here, and his family learns that.
All I know is that I loved this film. I love the history, the mystery and intrigue, and the familial growth in the story as well. Coco is a film about remembering loved ones and finding ways to connect with the loved ones still around. It is a film about the importance of family. (★★★★ | A)
Directed by Lee Unkrich
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures