I admit to being one of those parents who really hopes my child will enjoy my favorite childhood past times. I didn’t have that many: reading, watching TV, listening to music, playing board games, and most of all: going to the movies. My kid likes most of it, so far, but it’s not as easy to convince him to accompany me to the cinema as I sometimes expect.
For the long holiday weekend, we had a few choices: Justice League (he was meh about it, and I only wanted to see Jason Momoa), Wonder (interesting, and he really liked the boy being nice to people- cute), and then there was Coco. Even as a mother of a young child, I don’t watch many animated movies, so I was almost reluctant to agree to it. It looked like a decent story, with gorgeous visual effects, but I didn’t look much more into it myself.
After sitting through the way too long short (and kinda boring) Olaf’s Frozen Adventure, we finally got what we really wanted. Only a few minutes into Coco, I knew it would be an instant fave. I never saw Finding Nemo or Wall-E, but I love Inside Out, Up, and the Toy Story trilogy. Coco has a certain magic about it. Having gone to diverse public schools growing up, I have always loved learning about other cultures; so much in fact, that I didn’t know it seemed odd to most. With all the movies I had seen growing up, I don’t recall many mainstream animated films voiced by mostly Latinx actors (and Cliff Clavin?).
Coco features Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez), a young boy who can only dream of one day becoming a musician because his family had banned music from their lives for generations. Having to sneak and teach himself to play music, he cannot bring himself to give’ up on the dream. One day, while everyone is preparing for Día de Muertos, Miguel makes it his mission to continue on his quest for music. Unfortunately, he makes a poor decision that places him in the Land of the Dead. Now, he has to find his way back home before it’s too late. I didn’t see The Book of Life, so it didn’t cross my mind to make comparisons until I started seeing tweets and articles by folks pleading for other folks to stop comparing them. I’m going to jump on that train: stop comparing them! More than one story can revolve around Día de Muertos, stop playing!
Of course it’s a cliché, but I really did laugh, cry and ride the full emotional rollercoaster while watching Coco. All of these wonderful actors I’ve loved since I was kid (Benjamin Bratt, along with Edward James Olmos and Alfonso Arau in small parts), and actors I only recently discovered (Jaime Camil of Jane the Virgin, and the lead, Anthony Gonzalez). Everyone was absolutely spectacular, but I feel the need to single out Gael Garcia Bernal, and the underrated Alanna Ubach! Words cannot describe how blown away I was in my seat listening to their flawless performances. I’m not the biggest fan of traditional Mexican music, but I think I am now; this music was fantastic!
Coco wasn’t good, or great, it was excellent! I left the theater with a wonderful feeling of appreciation for life and embracing your loved ones and their dreams. The best feeling was, knowing my movie companion felt the same way. Of course, he says I was the only one crying. I’ll take that.