Pixar has made a career out of answering the question “what if?” with a variety of successful movies, from Toy Story to Monsters Inc. to Cars and beyond. But perhaps their most important film yet is Coco, which tackles a difficult topic in an honest and beautiful way. This movie shows the complexity of Mexican culture, with characters that are fun and flawed in all the right ways. It is a moving and heartfelt tale of family, music, and love.
The film is set around the Day of the Dead, with a main character who must find his deceased great-grandfather in order to get a blessing for his family to see him on the other side. It is a race against time, with a sense of urgency that keeps the film moving without being rushed or draggy. It features a wide array of characters, from traditional mariachis to a smothering grandmother and an out-of-control little girl who loves music. There is even a good mix of comedy and drama, to keep the audience engaged.
Some participants reported having conversations with their families after watching the film, and they discussed whether or not they felt that Coco conformed to their own family values and/or cultural traditions. Others expressed concern that the film could lead out-group audiences to believe that all of Mexican culture is centered on the Day of the Dead celebration, and they shared concerns about preserving their own familial and cultural knowledge and practices.