It’s the most wonderful time of the year, no not Christmas that just happened, Disney Pixar has released a new film and that new film is Coco. Starring young actor Anthony Gonzalez Coco follows Miguel Rivera, the latest generation in a long line of shoemakers in Santa Cecilia, Mexico. Miguel is different from the rest of his family though, he yearns for a more artistic outlet. He loves to play music and has a clear talent for it as well unfortunately he has to keep it a secret from his family because his great great grandmother was betrayed by her husband who left her and their child Coco to become a musician. This lead to music being banned and the whole family becoming shoemakers and byproduct of this is Miguel feeling somewhat of an outcast in his own family. This all culminates in him running away from home during the Day of the Dead and through mystical circumstances ending up on the other side in the Land of Dead, a world filled with over the top characters and mystical beasts.
The story of Coco is something quite interesting nothing particularly groundbreaking but it didn’t need to be with such quality acting behind it. Young Anthony Gonzalez is a wonderful lead – so memorable and so heartfelt in his portrayal of Miguel and his beliefs and as I said it’s because of the simplicity of the story. You have a protagonist who wishes to better himself and get out of the humdrum of his everyday life through his art many films have done this before and some films (The Book of Life and Corpses Bride) have done it similarly to Coco. What separates Coco from these films is the execution, the characters and the respect to the beliefs of the people represented. At the end of the day, the film is about family which is nothing new but it’s how these characters portray this theme and where Miguel’s journey takes him throughout the story that helps it become so impactful.
This is all thanks to director Lee Unkrich and writers Adrian Molina and Matthew Aldrich who have crafted a fully fleshed out world in Coco. The Land of the Dead feels like a moving painting, the inhabitants move in a way that only people from that realm could move because they are not bound by the laws of our world and you can tell a lot of care and consideration was put into making this feel authentic. What is also something quite remarkable is that this is technically not a musical there is music and singing but it all feels so necessary to the people and the situation that it never rips you out of the story which can happen even to the best of musicals at times.
If there were any issues and these are just minor ones it would be the final act and its need to rush to an action-packed finale which I didn’t feel was necessary the story of understanding your family and being understood in kind was powerful enough apart from that there is nothing that detracts from Coco.
Coco is easily one of the most beautiful and moving films in recent history director Lee Unkrich has built a stunning world with his team and it’s something deeply emotional and touching that will hit everyone where they live. I can’t recommend Coco enough without further repeating myself just make sure to take the whole family and enjoy yourselves.