How Pixar’s Coco Really Got It Right (and Why You Never Say No to Tamales)
There is no doubt that Pixar knows how to tug on our heartstrings. We’ll be the first to admit that Up left us openly weeping in the theater. And Pixar’s newest computer-animated story, Coco, did not disappoint or leave a dry eye in the theater either. The story follows Miguel’s journey to visit his family in the Land of the Dead and — if you saw this movie with anyone from your family — chances are you were all reliving childhood memories or at least ugly crying together by the end of the credits.
Still, it is more than just the stunning visual effects, the authentic depiction of Mexican culture, or even the music that make this film something special; it is the subtle moments that remind audiences of their own families that makes us watch this film (and reach for another box of tissues) over and over again.
1) We All Feel Different Sometimes
Miguel desperately wants to pursue his dream of becoming a musician. However — unfortunately — that is the one thing that his family cannot tolerate or even begin to understand. The statement, “no music” is the refrain of his childhood and he can’t help but feel like his family is against everything he loves.
At some point in our lives, we have all felt like the black sheep of the family. However, like Miguel, sometimes we just need to be reminded that — even though we may not always understand our family — in the end, their love is unconditional. Mama Imelda may not fully appreciate Miguel’s passion for music (why does he need music when he can make shoes?) but she gives her blessing because she wants him to be happy.
2) Family Comes First
We may not always understand each other, and we definitely don’t always agree, but Coco is the perfect reminder that “family comes first.”
The lovely depiction of families coming together for Dia de Los Muertos is a reminder that we must continue to share stories about our loved ones to keep their memories alive. Our families are our connection to a vibrant history and they are an important part of who we are.
3) More Tamales
You never say “no” to your grandmother...especially when it comes to food! Miguel’s abuelita embodies every grandmother when she refuses to accept that Miguel could possibly be full or that he — god forbid — just doesn’t want any more tamales.
There is nothing like a grandmother’s fierce devotion and insistence on feeding you... It doesn’t matter what culture, country, or language you are feeling “full” in, because it is universally understood that your grandmother will continue to feed you.
Food is a tangible way to show love. So, you definitely never say no to more tamales.
There are several other valuable lessons to learn in Coco as well. We learned that everyone needs a pet dog like Dante (or any spirit guide/alebrijes for that matter), vitamins are necessary, and Toy Story’s Pizza Planet delivers to Mexico (did anyone else catch that flash of the Pizza Planet delivery truck?).
However, the most important lesson of the film is that no matter how disconnected you might feel to the world around you, your family can be the bridge that brings you back. So — in celebration of the upcoming Dia de los Muertos — sit back, watch Coco, and ugly cry with your family for a night! Be sure to wear a new Fifth Sun Coco shirt too!