COCO: Our Family Review

The new Disney Pixar movie, COCO, was so good, we are considering seeing it again in theatres. Have you seen it? Here are some of reasons we loved COCO (without spoilers) just for you. But first, let me tell you something about myself, maybe it’s happened to you as well. When I lost my father, I couldn’t listen to music. I just couldn’t. I didn’t want to hear songs that reminded me of anything happy, even if it was with him. The same thing happened when my mother passed away. It broke my heart to hear songs she loved. I was silent. I was quiet. I didn’t want music in my life. This of course, passed, although I never thought it would. Now I listen to music they both loved with fond memories. It’s bittersweet, but I have the chance to listen to them with my children and let them know about my parents and what they loved.

So, imagine my surprise when I saw a similar thing play out on screen during COCO. I thought it was a wonderful way to explain a feeling to children that is hard to understand. In the case of this movie, the experience comes from a different place than mine, but I was able to explain it better to my children with the help of this movie.

So much about Disney Pixar films comes from the emotions brought into our lives from our experiences. In COCO, Miguel is a young boy wanting to fulfill his passion of becoming a musician but sadly, his family does not listen to or create music of any kind; it is strictly forbidden. Without giving anything away, it’s clear that this is coming from a place of anger and sadness. So as expected, Miguel tries to include music in his life in secret, and that is where the story unfolds into a brilliant whirlwind search to understand Miguel’s family and have their blessing.

There are scenes that are so detailed in their imaginative world, you would swear it was a real place you were watching, and not something drawn and created by animators. The colours are phenomenal and the music is contagious – we sang them on the way out!

For those worried about the theme of the afterlife and the Day of the Dead, I can honestly tell you, this is the sweetest explanation of the concept I have ever heard. My boys loved it, even my sensitive one who can sometimes get scared of things easier than the others. If you have lost a loved one recently, I must preface that this movie carried a lot of emotions on this subject, obviously. You will cry! Personally,  I find it hard not to cry at a Disney movie, but for sure this subject matter can pull at your heartstrings if you have lost someone.

On the flip side, the movie can help you and your children understand how important it is to honour those loved ones that have passed, and to remember them. One of the beautiful songs from the movie is called Remember Me and it is a lovely refrain about loving someone once they are gone.

What I appreciated about this movie is that although the movie is colourful and set in the tone of a chase against time, it was not too fast. What I mean by this is that some movies created for children and parents seem to move too fast and the animations are so quick it’s almost too much stimuli to handle. This was not the case with COCO, even with all the incredible details and colours. It made the movie that much more enjoyable.

Is It Scary for Little Ones?

I can’t think of anything scary in the movie for young children. There are some chase scenes with fictional animals and one growls loudly but other than that, everything is ok. As a parent, you will be able to tell when these parts are coming, so if you have very little ones that are more sensitive to being scared, you can prepare them ahead of time. But I think it’s a family-friendly movie for all ages.

Similar to breakout star singer, Auli’i Cravalho of Moana, in COCO the voice of Miguel is of newcomer Anthony Gonzalez who is just 12 years old. This is something you can mention to your children when you see the movie. If they are like my boys, it will greatly impress them to know a young boy was the amazing voice of the main character.

The whole family enjoyed COCO so much and I hope you will too. Leave your thoughts in a comment below if you saw it. I’d love to know how you liked it.


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