My personal review of Pixar's newest movie: 'Coco'.
This Thanksgiving I was so excited to take the family to see Pixar's newest film 'Coco'. I first heard about it in October, when I saw an ad on a billboard while driving Elena back from ballet class. I immediately looked up the trailer (well once I got home...not while I was driving) and started reading up as much as I could about this new movie coming out. It was then that I decided this would be our holiday movie. It had the promise of being amazing. I was super proud that this was actually a thing, but skeptical, due to the possibility of them "messing it up" by making it super Americanized.
Regardless, we went to the theater on Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. Now I can confidently say, I LOVE this movie so much, but here are the TWO main reasons why:
1. The main character is a great role model for my son.
I go out of my way to make sure I empower my daughter. I'm always looking for books, movies, youtube videos, shows, anything that will inspire her in her talents and character.
Sometimes I forget to do the same for my son.
When 'Elena of Avalor' came out last year I went a little crazy in my excitement that Elena not only had a Mexican Disney character that looked like her, but had the SAME name.
My son doesn't usually mind, and even encourages Elena in everything she does, but I do go out of my way to tell Elena how proud I am of her, and it breaks my heart when he asks, "are you proud of me too mom?"
So when I saw that Miguel, the main character resembled my son, I built up the hype for him. And this character did not disappoint. There have been many times Disney's representation of male roles is to be macho and more of a muscly tough guy. However, Miguel is a little boy who is passionate about following his dreams, shows compassion for his family and his stray pet. And, while he's strong, you can see the process he goes to understand the difference between right and wrong. The love he has for his family is true to Mexican family values, and that is who I want Elias to aspire to be. Compassionate, humble, passionate, and loving.
2. The depiction of the Mexican culture around the holiday Dia de los Muertos is authentically amazing.
I was blown away by the color, and representation of the little Mexican town. Even in the Land of the Dead we see references to iconic Mexican artists. It was the little details that helps this movie reach several generations of the people who watch it.
Especially in this political climate, the timing of this movie couldn't have been better. It's very encouraging and gives Mexican's pride of the culture that is being attacked in the media. I launched this new business to share more about my culture through art and stories. Since watching this movie, I've been even more encouraged and proud to have made this shift.
I've found some great articles since Coco came out. People are realizing how representation matters, and how inclusion in hollywood has been huge. It's even inspiring to see how the movie 'Coco' came to be.
This is my current favorite animated movie, which is saying a lot because being born in the late 80's I've seen them all starting with 'The Little Mermaid'.
Things to think about before seeing 'Coco'
It is a very emotional movie. I wanted to cry in the first 10 seconds of seeing Mexico represented so beautifully on the big screen. The whole story is about a family's bond even after someone dies. The concept of death, specifically family member's deaths is the whole premise of the movie.
The plot twist involves deception and murder. These thematic elements could be a bit strong depending on how your child processes things. My daughter Elena is extremely sensitive and empathetic. She cried through the last 20 minutes of the movie. Once the villain was revealed she could barely contain her empathy for Miguel, the main character. She sat in my lap and cried. I insisted she finished the whole movie so that she could have the piece of mind that it ended on a positive note. She also has a hard time thinking about death especially when it comes to family members (really, who doesn't) but still, week's after she's seen the movie, it's still hard for her to process it all. My son on the other hand, who is two years younger was perfectly fine the whole time and really enjoyed the movie.
Let's take it back 20 years and talk about how I'm still traumatized from the scene where Simba watches his father Mufasa fall to his death. And come on, Scar blaming the murder on Simba, that's just cold. The Lion King is a movie I probably won't let Elena watch because she's so empathetic, but I also think the difference between people being vengeful and murderous is a little harder to take in than animals doing the same thing. So be prepared to possibly have some hard conversations with your kids about death.
All in all, this movie is AMAZING. I can't wait to watch it again, and again, and again.
If you see one animated movie over the holidays, make it this one. And then leave a comment below to tell me what you think.
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