“Our memories, they have to be passed down by those who knew us in life — in the stories they tell about us.”


It is no secret that I have been unimpressed by Pixar’s commodified output over the past decade, with only 2015’s Inside Out providing a welcome glimmer of the studio’s former heights. Coco proves that this was not a fluke. Although the trailers pushed the musical angle, Coco is really a film about family, the importance of keeping the story of our past alive and not burying uncomfortable history. The plot is a fairly standard Disney adventure — despite some flourishes about storytelling, this was handled more deftly by Kubo and the Two Strings and Coco suffers a little by comparison. The creativity emerges through the unusual setting of the Mexican land of the dead. Although much of this imagery is adopted and interpreted, Pixar is fully embracing Mexican culture rather than merely appropriating the aesthetic — the traditions and values of Día de Muertos permeate the film and the story. Ultimately Coco resonated in particular because it shares my view of death: that those we love are not truly gone so long as we remember them and carry them with us.