An original idea by Director Lee Unkrich, coco was released in theaters on November 22nd, 2017 with an Olaf’s Frozen Adventure short. The Animators were inspired by the Mexican holiday Day of the Dead. To make it authentic, part of the crew flew down to Mexico to do research and capture the culture. The National Board of Review named Coco the Best Animated film of 2017. It also won awards for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song (Remember Me) at the Academy Awards. It was also nominated and won Best Animated Film at the BAFTA Awards, Golden Globe Awards, Critic’s Choice Movie Awards, and the Annie Awards.
Set in Santa Cecilia, Mexico, the movie begins with the story of Imelda Rivera (Alanna Ubach) and her daughter Coco (Ana Ofelia Murguia), starting a shoemaking business after her husband left to pursue his music career. Imelda, heartbroken, bans music from ever being played in their home.
Fast forward, Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez ), a 12-year-old boy and the great-great-grandson of Imelda has a passion for music and wants to be as. Famous as his hero, Ernesto de la Cruz ( Benjamin Bratt). One day, while prepping the offering for the Day of the dead, Miguel accidentally knocks Imelda’s picture down damaging the frame. Trying to fix it, Miguel discovers that the picture was folded in half. Imelda was standing with her husband, his face torn out, but he was holding Ernesto de la Cruz’s guitar.
Assuming that Ernesto de la Cruz was his great-great-grandfather, Miguel rushes to enter the Day of the Dead talent show. Miguel realizes that he needs a guitar, so he breaks into Ernesto de la Cruz’s mausoleum and takes the guitar, suddenly becoming invisible to the living world.
Miguel is seeing all the dead returning to visit their living families. His skeletal relatives find him and explain that Imelda can not cross over because her picture was no longer on the offrenda. They bring Miguel to the land of the dead where Imelda gives him an earful about the picture and his passion for music. Miguel tricks his family to slip away, getting the idea that if Imelda won’t give him the blessing to play music then Ernesto de la Cruz will.
While trying to get away he runs into Hector (Gael Garcia Bernal), a lonely skeleton begging to visit his daughter before she forgets him. Hector and Miguel make a deal, if Hector can get him to Ernesto de la Cruz then Miguel will put his picture on the offrenda. The two rush around before Ernesto learns that Miguel has another family. Hector manages to get Miguel to meet Ernesto de la Cruz, learning of their history. Hector confronts Ernesto about the past when Miguel realizes that Ernesto had poisoned Hector to steal his songs and become famous.
To keep his secret and continue his legacy, Ernesto throws Hector and Miguel in a denote pit, leaving them to die in their curses. Miguel realizes that the torn photo was Hector, not Ernesto. Learning of his great-great-grandfather, the two are unexpectedly rescued by the rest of the dead Rivera family. Miguel tells Imelda the true story of why Hector never returned, accepting the truth, Imelda and Hector are reunited.
As a team, the family works together to expose Ernesto’s lies and retrieve Hector’s stolen photo before sunrise. They were partly successful. The photo was lost but everyone now knew the real story of Ernesto. With one last plan, Miguel returns to the land of the living. Rushing to his great grandmother’s side, Miguel sings ‘Remember me’ so Coco won’t forget her father. Reviving her memory, Coco gives Miguel the torn piece and begins telling stories of her papa.
A year later, Miguel places the fixed photo of Imelda and Hector on the offrenda along with Coco’s. They are reunited in the land of the dead having blessed Miguel to allow his passion for music to continue.
I am going to put a trigger warning here. Coco deals with Death in a very different way than other Pixar and Disney films do. If you have sensitive children, I would be careful about showing this film until they are ready. That being said, Coco is magical in so many ways. From the vibrant colors, to the music, to the importance of family, Coco is an awe inspiring and must watch film.
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