Pixar’s new film Coco is not only a visual, cultural and emotionally touching masterpiece; it’s arguably the animation studio’s best film to date. While many of Pixar’s previous films have successfully tugged at the heartstrings such as “Up” and the “Toy Story” trilogy for wide mainstream audiences; Coco is a rapturously heartwarming tribute to Mexico and its people, its rich customs and time honored traditions.
Never before has a Pixar film so magnificently displayed and celebrated the universal bond of unconditional love and family as Coco so superbly accomplishes. Beautifully centered around the celebration of Dia de Muertos, Coco focuses on young Miguel Rivera ( endearingly voiced by Anthony Gonzalez ) and his loving family and their shoemaking business.
However, Miguel has greater dreams of becoming a musician, much to the dismay and avid discouragement of his family due to a sad event in the family history. This tragedy caused music to be banned from the family home and consciousness for generations. It’s Miguel’s quest to follow his dream of creating music on the eve of Dia de Muertos that leads him on a spectacularly life changing journey.
The magic of this film is the loving attention to detail that brings Mexican culture and folklore in all its vibrant magnificence and equally warm subtlety to the screen. The audience is regaled with a myriad of images that brings Mexico to astounding life.
Whether it’s the beautiful textures of Abuelita’s tamales or her brandishing her chancla in reprimanding fashion, the exquisite mariachi music performed in the center of Miguel’s puebla, the hilarious yet respectful appearance of Frida Kahlo and the brilliantly colored Alebrijes which serve as spirit guides to guard the dead; all evoke an astounding respect for Mexican and Latino culture and it’s unique mix of indigenous, Spanish and African roots.
When Coco reached its emotional finale with a rendition of the film’s pivotal song “Remember Me” sung by Miguel’s bisabuela, I literally cried tears of joy, family love and cultural recognition.
Coco is an astounding achievement that Mexicans and Hispanics of all cultures and generations can feel immense pride in seeing on screen.
Coco is Mexico.
Reviewed by Tim Estiloz