Coco brings a cultural spark to the film industry

Grace Nichols

Critic Helena O’Hara from Empire describes the movie Coco saying, “Pixar has raised the animation bar again, with its most musical — and arguably most magical — film yet. If this is the afterlife we’re all headed to, don’t fear the reaper.” She is correct; Coco is a terrific movie. 

The animated movie stars the voice of Anthony Gonzalez as twelve-year-old boy Miguel, who aspires to become a musician in a family that prohibits it. The story takes place in the modern times of the made-up town of Santa Cecilia, Mexico. 

Coco is an animated adventure family movie that brings color and life to the screen. The main character, Miguel, wishes to stray away from the family tradition of making shoes for a living. Miguel has an interest in music, but he has to hide it since his family prohibits it after his grandmother’s father left the family to pursue music. But on Día de Los Muertos, he finds himself in the Land of the Dead trying to prove his talent. 

Miguel’s idol is Ernesto de la Cruz, a celebrated figure of the town, praised for his songs. He wants to be just like him when he grows up. In a picture of his great-great-grandfather with his face torn, Miguel sees the famous guitar of Ernesto de la Cruz. He immediately thinks he is related to his idol. 

 Unfortunately, Miguel’s family finds out about his passion for music and that he had been practicing the guitar in secret.  In anger, Miguel storms off, later stealing the guitar of Ernesto de la Cruz from his mausoleum. Afterward, he finds himself being able to see spirits, and eventually enters the Land of the Dead to try to prove his musical skill. 

In the Land of the Dead, he is running out of time to return to the real world. He needs a spirit’s blessing to return, but his family’s spirits bring conditions that he must abandon music to receive a blessing. Miguel sneaks away, attempting to find his great-great-grandfather and idol, Ernesto de la Cruz, to get his blessing instead. 

Miguel runs into a spirit named Héctor, voiced by Gael García Bernal, that tells him he can bring him to Cruz. They begin hunting down the celebrity, becoming close friends on the way, and even entering a singing competition, all while being chased by Miguel’s family trying to get him back to the real world. 

The film itself is a work of art. The animation of the scenery and characters adds personality and beauty. The warm color scheme throughout the movie reminds the audience of family and magic. Examples of the vibrancy in Coco is in the animation of the flower petals that bridge the Land of the Dead to the real world. 

On IMDb, Coco scored 8.4/10 stars. I highly recommend Coco to everyone. Tears were shed in this rich and colorful gem of a movie. Not only is the plot filled with twists and turns, but the story and message of the importance of family shine through at the end.