Disney/Pixar’s Coco is a Masterpiece

Carolyn Bedell, Author

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Look, I am not Mexican. I am your typical white, teenage girl, who drinks Starbucks and has an Instagram page. But Disney/Pixar’s Coco really strung a chord with me. (Pun intended)

Disney/Pixar’s Coco came out in 2017. It was released the weekend before Dia de los Muertos in Mexico, and about a month later in the United Sates. It is the first Pixar film with an all Latinx cast, which is very refreshing seeing that the entire movie is set in Mexico, about Mexican culture and beliefs. There is a total of 38 songs in the soundtrack- but it isn’t a musical. In fact, most of the music recorded is by authentic bands from Mexico. It is a cultural celebration of Mexico and educating others about Dia de los Muertos. Animators and story writers at Pixar wanted Coco to be as accurate as possible to Mexican life and even spent time researching in Mexico City

Coco is relatable, unique, breath-taking, a masterpiece about Mexican culture and absolutely beautiful to watch.



Major spoilers ahead.

The film starts with Miquel, a twelve year old boy, narrating the story of his family. His great-great grandfather leaves his wife for a career in music, leaving her a single mother with Coco as a young child and she bans music from her family. This hatred of music is passed down the generations, until we get to Miquel who wants to play music. He tries to find out who his great-great-grandfather is and comes to the conclusion that he must be Ernesto de la Cruz, the most famous musician from the 1940s in Mexico. And if de la Cruz could make music, so can Miquel! He tells his family the news but they destroy the guitar he has painstakingly made himself, and he runs to the town center for the Dia de los Muertos celebration and music competition. If he can win, it would prove to his family that he can pursue music, but he needs a guitar to play.

He then steals de la Cruz’s guitar from his tomb, but is thrust into the Land of the Dead. He then needs a blessing from one of his dead ancestors to return to the Land of the Living, but they will only let him go back if he abandons his dream of being a musician. Miquel rejects this deal, and runs away, and meets Hector who claims he can get him to Ernesto de la Cruz so he can be blessed by a musician. As Miquel and Hector borrow a guitar from one of Hector’s friends, Miquel’s ancestors start to search for Miquel. Miquel and Hector enter into a music contest so that Miquel can get into de la Cruz’s penthouse party, but Miguel runs away before receiving the award. However, he is able to sneak into the penthouse party and is united with de la Cruz, explaining his issue and they quickly bond. However, it is revealed that Hector was travelling with de la Cruz when Hector was going to return home and in a desperate moment de la Cruz poisons him, stealing his music and claiming them as his own. Miquel knows far too much, and de la Cruz throws him and Hector into a pit. It is then revealed that Hector is actually Miquel’s great-great-grandfather, but that Coco is the only one alive who remembers him, and when she forgets him Hector will disappear.

The two are rescued by the rest of Miquel’s ancestors, they fight de la Cruz and Miquel finally gets his blessing to the Land of the Living, rushing to get back to Coco so that she won’t forget about her father (she is developing Alzheimer’s in old age). Miquel sings a song, “Remember Me” to Coco, which allows her to remember Hector and she begins to tell the rest of the family of her father. Fast forward about a year, and the word has spread around Mexico that de la Cruz is a murder and traitor. Hector has been saved and we have a happy ending.