Coco was a beautiful film in every sense. The animation was breathtakingly colorful and full of feeling, the music was heartbreaking and emotionally charged, and the wonderful celebration of family and Mexican heritage was done with so much respect and reverence that I was tearing up throughout the entire film.
Coco is one of the animated films nominated for an Oscar this Sunday, and I truly believe it should win. It is not just the token “Disney” film. The level of thought and care that went into crafting this emotional celebration of dia de los muertos deserves every single accolade.
From the very start this film was created with representation in mind –- in the forefront of everyone’s mind. The colors and traditions of dia de los muertos are front and center to the overall theme of the importance of love, respect and family. The cast (and several of the creatives in charge of songs and animation) are of latin descent. That representation is, in my opinion, completely essential to the heart and soul of Coco.
The story itself is ,of course a variation on any number of disney-esque motifs, but the importance of tradition and family single Coco out and really make it stand up to past disney films. Those cultural details really shine in the style of animation. This film is bright, colorful and full of life (especially in the land of the dead ironic right?). The story follows young Miguel in his quest to follow his passion, music despite his family’s disapproval. His journey takes him farther than he expects and he discovers the importance of family on his journey to acceptance in the land of the dead. In typical Disney fashion it honors the “never meet your heros” cliche, but it also honors the power of forgiveness and love. Coco presents these ideas in a film that captures the magic of dia de los muertos.
The songs that are performed during the film are likewise full of magic and heart. The original song “Remember Me”, nominated for an Oscar as well, is especially poignant. It is sprinkled throughout the film and used in various storytelling tactics. It is a celebrated anthem, tender goodbye, and a heart melting plea to the importance and lasting effect of family. I am a huge fan of Sufjan Steven’s “Mystery of Love” but young Miguel singing “Remember Me” to his elderly bisabuela Coco might have cinched the win for me.
Coco should be celebrated for its moving story telling, breathtaking and colorful animation, and tradition rich storyline. It should go down in Disney animation as one of its most moving films. I for one know I will tear up overtime I watch it, and celebrate its warmth and heart.