First things first, if have not seen Coco you need to do yourself a favor and go watch it. Also, bring some tissues. Trust me, you’re going to need them.
Already Mexico’s highest grossing film of all time, Coco is one of Pixar’s best. I for one will say that this is my favorite Pixar film of all time. Although I may be a bit biased because I am Mexican and I loved seeing my culture represented in this film.
There are multiple reasons for the importance of Coco that need to be noted.
It was heartwarming to see the movie theatre filled with Hispanic families, including my own. I started getting emotional when I saw the number of young Hispanic children in the audience who were going to see a film based on their culture, traditions and values. Something that I rarely experienced as a child with movies I saw. Seeing parents cry who maybe had not celebrated a traditional Día De Los Muertos in years and see it accurately portrayed in the film was beautiful. Crying because certain characters in the film reminded them of loved ones who have passed was bittersweet.
The representation is honest and authentic. And that is what made it so good. The film itself took years to make, filmmakers traveled to various locations in Mexico, Guanajuato and Oaxaca included, and took several aspects of Mexico to create the world for the living and the world for the dead. There are also various subtle things that other people might overlook but those subtleties were everything. Examples of them include, Miguel calling his great Grandma ‘Mama Coco’ instead of abuela which is something that my family and various Hispanic ones do. The reference to the infamous ‘chancla’. The way the altar was set up with ofrendas like pan dulce and pictures. The tamales scene. It was these little details that made me see my family in the film. Also,the adding of famous Mexican actors, artists, singers in the land of the dead like Cantinflas, Maria Felix and Frida Khalo filled me with pride.
The detail to the traditions of Dia de los Muertos was exceptional so much so that my mom said it genuinely looked like the altar she used to have back home in Mexico. One of the moments that had me tearing up was seeing the passage way from the land of the living to the land of the dead. It truly was beautiful to think of it in that way and see it come to life.
To add to this accurate representation was the almost all-Latino cast which included Gael Garcia Bernal, Jaime Camil, Edward James Olmos and Benjamin Bratt. Their voices were my voice.
I hope this is just the beginning of a beautiful journey of accurate representation and respect of cultures in the film industry. I also hope that people who watch this will film feel the same amount of love I have for it. Not long ago were we denoted with horrible stereotypes and to now have this beautiful movie as a homage to a beloved tradition is remarkable.
Go watch Coco. La vas amar.