We recently took our kids to see Disney’s latest masterpiece, Coco, and I could not have been happier with the film. For one, the graphics are stunningly beautiful and breathtaking. I loved watching my children awe-inspired by the world on screen. But while the graphics were great, it was the story that really made an impact on me and my family and I’d love to share a few ways in which it did so:
1. A Beautiful Introduction to the Mexican Culture
It’s no secret, that the U.S. Mexico relationship is not the best, due mostly in part to the election of Trump and his hateful words towards Mexico. Similarly, his negative and wrongful statements about Mexican descendants, immigrants, and Dreamers who were born or live in the U.S. have served to add to the negative image and stereotypes surrounding the Mexican people and its culture. So the release of Coco really could not have come at a better time. While, my family lives in California, a state with a large Mexican American and Mexican population, there are many places in the U.S. where such aspects of the Mexican culture are not so prominent. I am so glad that Coco provides a great and beautiful introduction to these people and their culture to children and families all across the globe, which will hopefully fight back against the racist and discriminatory ideas that some people and groups seek to spread to undermine it.
2. A Great Family Message
Secondly, and perhaps most of all, I loved the message that Coco sends: Family is the most important thing. While Miguel, the main character, goes on his adventures through the afterlife, he fights against the wishes of his family, pushing them away in his ignorance of understanding the family’s complicated past. But as the movie continues, and Miguel gets a better sense of his ancestors and his family, he learns that family is the most important thing in life and he fights to protect them, even if it means giving up his love for music.
My wife and I are blessed to have such great kids but as kids are wont to do, they can sometimes fight and get on each other’s nerves. While bickering might always happen, Coco sought to remind our children that family is sometimes all you got and you have to stick together, especially when times are rough. We’ve always taught our kids to be there for each other, and this year now that they are all in the same school, we are seeing those lessons come to fruition with our eldest daughter watching out for her younger brother and sister. Some parents may struggle teaching this lesson to their kids, and if that’s the case, buy movie tickets (or wait until it comes out on TV if money is tight) and see Coco. Trust me!
3. Inspired Our Kids to Look at Their Past
Last but not least, I love how Coco inspires families to remember their ancestors and look into their past. Coco is set during Dia de los Muertos, a Mexican holiday where families come together to celebrate those that have passed before them by setting up offrendas (elaborate offering displays) filled with their family members’ pictures and the things they loved in their life. During Dia de los Muertos, families come together to retell family stories, celebrate life and death as a natural order of life, and clean the graves of their loved ones.
While I was familiar with the holiday, Coco really taught me and my kids so much more about this beautiful tradition. As we left the movies, my kids were so inspired by learning about Dia de los Muertos that they peppered me and my wife about their family and their ancestors. Some questions we couldn’t answers, and others we could, but it has inspired a new interest in my entire family on learning about where we came from and the stories of those who came before us, stories that we shouldn’t let die. I see this as a new family project! And who knows — we might even be inspired to celebrate Dia de los Muertos ourselves next year with as much enthusiasm our children have for doing so!
While movies about princesses have made Disney a big name among children’s films, Coco really exemplifies the commitment to diversity that Disney is moving forward with. If you haven’t seen Coco — go do it now! Disney has really outdid themselves and me and my family couldn’t be more thankful.
See the official trailer below: