Earlier this month we had the opportunity to watch Disney-Pixar’s COCO along with a few very lucky Super Mamas! The film premiered in Mexico on the Day of the Dead to much acclaim and celebration. The film opens today in the United States and we give it enthusiastic Super Mama thumbs up!
The movie has an amazing Latino cast that includes Gael-Garcia Bernal, Edward James Olmos, and Anthony Gonzalez. It is full of Mexican folklore and depicts the Day of the Dead a tradition that is very special to many of us in a beautiful way. Director Lee Unrich delivered a visual masterpiece of color and beauty that evokes memories of our childhood celebrating the day of the dead. The story written by Adrian Molina who was also a co-director tells a story that honors the history and importance of the holiday for families like ours.
The film tells the story of Miguel Rivera, a boy growing up in the town of Santa Cecilia, Mexico who wants to play the guitar and sing but is part of a family who has banned music. His ancestor Mama Imelda instituted a ban on music because of a great-great-grandfather who abandoned the family to be a musician. The name of the film “COCO” comes from Miguel’s great grandmother Coco who is elderly and increasingly losing her memory, except for when she speaks of her father.
But Miguel is keeping a secret from his family. Despite the family ban on music, he longs to sing and perform, he teaches himself with the music of deceased singer Ernesto de La Cruz and learns some of his greatest hits, including the song that frames the movie, “Remember Me.” He longs to be a musician like his idol despite his family's objections.
He develops a plan to sing at the plaza on the day of the dead but when his family finds out they destroy his guitar. It is then he sneaks into the mausoleum of his idol Ernesto and steals his guitar. On the day of the dead you are supposed to give to the dead not take away from them and so his actions set off a curse that sends him to the land of the dead.
This is when the movie gets even better.
He takes us to the land of the dead where we are treated to a visual treat filled with color, animation and vivid imagery. Miguel is soon reunited with his deceased ancestors including the family matriarch Mama Imelda, it is here he learns more about the history of his family and the ban on music.
Eventually, Miguel teams up with Hector a man who cannot cross over into the land of the living on the day of the dead because no one is displaying his photo. Hector pledges to help Miguel lift the curse so he can return to the land of the living and in exchange Miguel promises to bring his picture with him and display it in his altar. They set off on a musical adventure that will mesmerize kids and adults alike! The featured song, “Remember Me” ties together the central theme of the movie, that those who have left us live on in our memories. They even run into characters you might recognize like Frida Kahlo, Pedro Infante, and even Miguel’s idol Ernesto De La Cruz!
The original music and renditions of classics like La Llorona transported us back to our childhood’s in Oaxaca and we could not be more proud of this movie. Seeing our culture highlighted in this way was a moving experience for us and for the Super Mamas who joined us at our screening in Los Angeles.
Anyone will relate to the tale of piecing together their family history while trying to find their own way in the world. Bring tissues, bring abuelita and bring your kids. This has already sparked some beautiful conversations with our own family about love and honoring our ancestors.
Thank You Disney-Pixar for this film. We can’t think of a better way to spend Thanksgiving.
Thank you to all the Super Mamas who attended our special screening!
Tells us your favorite part of the movie in the comment section below!