I had serious reservations about seeing Disney’s latest movie: Coco. It is about my least favorite subject – death. Why would I want to go see a movie about someone’s dead relatives? Plus it has skeletons. This is creepy! Although the movie looked colorful, it still deals with a topic that I would rather not watch.
MOVIE SYNOPSIS: DISNEY/PIXAR COCO
The movie centers around a 12 year old boy named Miguel who just wants to be a musician like the famous Ernesto de la Cruz, but his family makes shoes and have banned all music because his great-great-grandfather left the family to pursue a musical career. The family is getting ready to celebrate Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead). In Mexico, the holiday is celebrated to pray and remember their ancestors. Altars are built that include photos, favorite foods, marigolds, and special trinkets and more.
Miguel is prepared to do whatever it takes to play a guitar in the festival, and then he accidentally breaks his great-great-grandmothers photo and realizes that his great-great-grandfather is a famous musician. As he prepares to steal a guitar from a mausoleum, he enters the land of the dead. After meeting his relatives who have crossed before him, Miguel undertakes an adventure that teaches him what is really important in life.
AS A SIDE NOTE: I did have several moments throughout the film where I thought, “Really, Pixar, you need to stop with the stupid animals.” The dog in the film (stupid chicken in Moana, and stupid seal and bird in Finding Dory, and Dug in Up) is portrayed as odd. Enough with the stupid sidekicks. Bring the viewers some loveable sidekicks already!
My Recommendations for viewing: Ages 8 and up. This movie is colorful and should keep a child’s attention, but some children might be afraid of the skeletons. There are several instances where skulls come off of skeletons, an eyeball comes out, skeletons come apart, etc. These may be hard concepts for a young child to understand. Also Miguel is disrespectful to his parents and grandparents and runs away.
If you have objections to a portrayal of a faith system other than your own, you will object to this movie. As a Christian, I do not believe that we should invite the dead or talk to dead spirits. The movie’s concept of spirits in the next life ceasing to exist if no one in this life remembers them is also outside of what I accept. Also the afterlife depicted in the movie is much different than my beliefs. But learning about other cultures and their religious culture is of interest to me.
I am certain that remembering our ancestors carries great meaning throughout life. I believe that is is important to pass the stories down of those that have gone before us. I have old photos hanging of parents and grandparents, and I hope my children talk fondly of their grandparents and great-grandparents.
One critical lesson in this movie is that holding onto anger and bitterness for generations is harmful to the entire family. Stories passed down about your ancestors may not be correct. Letting go of the negativity of the past is paramount to those living in the present. One character in the movie says she will not forgive, but by the end of the movie she has a change of heart.
SHOULD CHRISTIANS VIEW THIS MOVIE?:
This movie had me crying and laughing. The music is great, and the ending is so incredibly touching. But as a Christian, how should we respond to movies like Coco? The views in the movie about the afterlife are very different from what Christianity teaches. This movie is excellent for teaching about other cultures, their traditions and views. But there are messages in this movie that need to be addressed with your children. Do not wait to talk about what you believe. After viewing the movie with your children talk about what the Bible teaches about what happens after you die. How does one get into heaven? What does the Bible say about talking to the dead? And talk to your children about how Jesus would show love to others who are different than you. After pointing out the differences in your beliefs, point out how you are similar – love for family, importance in celebrations and traditions, and needing to forgive and receive forgiveness.
If you have no problem viewing a movie with a different viewpoint than your own, I recommend Coco. If you think that it may be a problem for your or your children, I recommend viewing it before you take your children. I found it charming and heartwarming. Furthermore, I think the messages of Coco are vital to teach our children. The main message of family being significant is one that needs to be taught to all cultures. Pursuing the world’s view of success (money, fame, fans), may bring temporary fame and fortune, but in the end leads to destruction. At the end of my life, if I am surrounded by family that loves me, I will deem that a success.