‘Coco’ is a Heartfelt Love Letter to a Beautiful Tradition – Review
Have you ever seen a film that stayed with you, even after it’s over, and you just wished you could see it one more time like it was the first time?
Coco is the story of Miguel, a Mexican boy who wishes with all his heart to be a musician like his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz, but is not supported by his family, due to an old-generation ban on music. Desperate to prove he has what’s needed to make his dream come true, he finds himself in the Land of the Dead, where he will embark on an adventure to unlock the truth about his family and learn the meaning of the tradition known as Día de Los Muertos.
Directed by Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina, with a screenplay from Adrian Molina and Matthew Aldrich, Coco feels like a love letter to one of the most beautiful traditions Mexico has to offer, as it’s our way to remember those we loved but who left us along the way.
Before I start my review I want to make something clear: It’s been criticised that Coco shares the same story as The Book of Life, as they both portray this Mexican tradition and appear to have similarities with one another; but as a person who has seen both I can tell you with absolute certainty that Coco is not a copy of The Book of Life and you can enjoy both without diminishing the other. They may portray the same tradition, but the way they do it and the message they deliver is as different as they can be.
Having said that, let’s begin:
If one were to describe Coco in one word, it’d be beautiful, as not only the scenarios and colours presented in this film are beautiful and astonishing, but the story as well, as it remarks in one of the most important things there are, family.
It’s clear that, although the movie suffers from some stereotypes and clichés -that are unavoidablee due to being made through the eyes of a different culture-, the creative team behind Coco did it’s research, as everything that is part of Dia de Los Muertos is explained, like la flor de cempasúchil, el papel picado and every “floor” the altar has as well as why we put those things in the ofrenda.
I wish I could talk to you about this movie with spoilers and everything, but I want you to enjoy the complete experience that Coco is, an experience where you’ll laugh, you’ll sing, you’ll smile and cry with the characters on screen.
There’s kind of a downside, if you want to call it that, and is that if you’ve seen way too many movies and tv shows, then it’s really predictable from the beginning where the story is going, but that doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy the journey ’till the end and learn a few lessons about family, love, and dreams in the process.
I’m both happy and touched to see a part of my culture being represented without being exaggerated or dismissed, but instead honoured and respected. Día de Los Muertos is an important tradition to many in my country and seeing such a beautiful film like Coco portraying it and explaining it is something I never thought possible, but I’m grateful for.
Coco is a movie you should not miss, no matter where you’re from, as we’ve all had people we loved who are no longer with us, and we’ve had dreams we wish to accomplish no matter what.
Just a heads up, if you’re one to cry easily, bring tissues, lots of tissues. Believe me, you’re gonna need them.
Coco premieres in the US and most parts of the world on November 20, 2017, but if you’re in Mexico reading this review, Coco is already in every cinema near you.