Based on the Mexican Day of the Dead celebration, Coco explores the connection we have with our ancestors. In true Pixar style, it carefully wraps its torturously emotional messages in the brightest of facades meaning it can be enjoyed on multiple levels by children and adults alike.
Coco’s plot, (which has some bold twists that stop it becoming too predictable) delivers some particularly important messages. Living Miguel can’t see a life for himself without music which has been banished from the family due to some heartbreak further up his family tree. As he discovers his ancestors in the Land of the Dead we learn that he’ll never truly live again without permission to express himself musically. He must live a life that’s true to himself.
What I love most about Coco is its exploration of the relationship between the living and dead. Miguel grows to love his ancestors while learning their stories, while his great-grandmother is practically dead alive as her memories of them fade. At its core, the film suggests we can keep out ancestors alive by sharing their stories and reliving our memories of them. We can love them even if we’ve never met them in their living form.
I lost my mother when I was particularly young and I think parts of Coco would have deeply resonated with me had I seen the film as a child (heck, they really did when viewing it as an adult). Parts of it are gruelling on the emotions but it’s ultimately a snuggly comfort blanket for those weeping inner wounds. Major kudos must be given to Disney for not shying away from the subject of death and dealing with it in a sincere and sensitive way.
On the flip side, Coco is a lot of fun. It has some great comedic moments (that stem largely from Miguel’s sidekick dog Dante) and features the catchy song ‘Remember Me’ which appears in multiple forms throughout. Visually it’s absolutely stunning. The Land of the Dead is a ginormous fantastical world that’s been created with a wealth of intricate detail meaning there’s always something exciting to look at and the film’s colour palette is gorgeous enough to die for.
Coco is Pixar doing what it does best. Its lasting sentiments are gift wrapped in a vibrant, effervescent package that makes it essential viewing for all the family.
Overall, I give Coco a rating of 4/5.