The day after a full Thanksgiving feast, I went to go see “Coco” with my family. I came in with some trepidation, not knowing what to expect.
The pan dulce. El papel picado. The marigold flowers. The plaza. “No manches” and “que padre.” The esquites. Frida Kahlo and El Santo. The movie was remarkably authentic.
“Coco” was a beautiful portrait of all that I love and miss of my culture. Watching it, home suddenly didn’t feel so far away.
The movie follows Miguel Rivera (Anthony Gonzalez), a 12-year-old boy whose greatest desire is to be a musician, despite his family’s generations-old ban on music. Desperate to prove his talent to his family, he becomes trapped in the Land of the Dead and must face his family’s history and their conflict with his dream in order to get back home.
Though the storyline was truly innovative in mixing traditions with modern twists, the most breathtaking part of the movie was its visuals. Mama Coco’s face was beautifully detailed and the towering Land of the Dead was simply spectacular. The design of the Land of the Dead was actually inspired by the city of Guanajuato, a city less than an hour away from my hometown.
“Coco” topped the Thanksgiving box office, beating out “Justice League.” It also becamethe highest-grossing movie of all time in Mexico.
“Coco” is the film that Latinos have all been waiting for. As Adriana Garcia Maximiliano said in a New York Times article, “As a ‘dreamer,’ I’ve been trying to reconnect with my Mexican roots without the ability to visit my family for the past 17 years… Many of us have missed funerals of our abuelitas and abuelitos, but Día de los Muertos has kept us connected. The main song, ‘Remember Me,’ is an echo of our last wishes for our families as we depart to a new land—of this world or not.”