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‘Coco’ is a heart-warming, tissue-grabbing crowd pleaser

By Sonia Ciszewski

Miguel and his great grandmother in 'Coco.' Photo courtesy of
Miguel and his great-grandmother in ‘Coco.’
Photo courtesy of

“Coco,” produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures, is about a young boy named Miguel, who wishes to be a musician like his inspiration, Ernesto de la Cruz.

The problem, however, is that Miguel’s family has a ban on all types of music. It is easy to sympathize with Miguel, who just wants to play music and express himself but his family won’t let him.

He finds a picture of his great-great-grandmother and her daughter standing next to a man with his head ripped out of the picture. When he unfolds the picture he realizes that the man is holding Ernesto de la Cruz’s guitar. Because of this picture, he concludes that his great-great-grandfather was the famous Ernesto de la Cruz and uses this to motivate him to attend a music festival. This scene sets up the main conflict of the film: How can Miguel get to the festival, and is he betraying his family if he goes?

The plot takes place on The Day of the Dead, which is very important to Miguel’s family. When his grandmother finds his guitar, she smashes it in front of his whole family. Her grandfather and Miguel’s  great-great-grandfather left his family to pursue his musical dreams, and ever since then, music has been banned in the family.

Desperate to find a guitar to use, he breaks into Ernesto de la Cruz’s grave and takes his guitar. As soon as he picks it up though, he enters the world of the dead. Although many people find this unbelievable, the graphics are so life-like that they make the scenes in the world of the dead look very realistic.

Miguel finds his ancestors, which are worried because Miguel’s great grandmother can’t enter the living world. He realizes that the reason behind this is because he is carrying her picture around that used to be on the display back at home, which is necessary for the ancestors to come visit the living on the Day of the Dead. In order to get back home, Miguel must receive a blessing from one of his ancestors.

The problem is the only person who is willing to give him this is his great-grandmother, who has banned music from her family for generations. She tells Miguel the only way she’ll give him her blessing is if he stops playing music. This scene is disappointing because the audience just wants Miguel to live his life.

Miguel tries to find his great-grandfather, Ernesto de la Cruz, to get his blessing instead. He seeks the help of a man who seems to be an unlucky loser who can’t get into the living world, in exchange for Miguel to put him on the display when he gets back home. Because Ernesto de la Cruz is as famous in the land of the dead as he was in the land of the living, Miguel has trouble tracking him down. When he finally gets a hold of him, Miguel realizes that Ernesto de la Cruz is not the person he thought he was.

A plot twist in the last third of the movie makes Miguel realize that his idol De la Cruz is not who he thought he was, and it sets Miguel on his more important journey of learning how important his own family is.

Overall, the characters in this movie are very likable and funny. Viewers should be warned to bring tissues, as they should be with most Pixar movies. The story plays out in a heartwarming way while dealing with difficult topics such as death and the pros and cons of family. It is well worth the price of admission.

Though this film is animated,  it is also a Pixar movie, which means it is made for everyone. The storyline is interesting and realistic, and the animated characters are cool looking.

There is nothing bad to say about “Coco”, but before the movie, there is a 20- minute “short” of “Frozen” that has irritated audiences so much that several theaters have stopped playing it.

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