Miguel: [after watching Chicharrón disappear] Wait… what happened?
Héctor: [sadly] He’s been forgotten. When there’s no one left in the living world who remembers you, you disappear from this world. We call it the Final Death.
Miguel: Where did he go?
Héctor: No one knows.
Miguel: But I’ve met him! I could remember him when I go back.
Héctor: No. It doesn’t work like that, chamaco. Our memories, they have to be passed down by those who knew us in life – in the stories they tell about us. But there’s no one left alive to pass down Cheech’s stories.
Coco is a 2017 American 3D computer-animated fantasy film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. Based on an original idea by Lee Unkrich, it is directed by him and co-directed by Adrian Molina. The film’s voice cast stars Anthony Gonzalez, Gael García Bernal, Benjamin Bratt, Alanna Ubach, Renée Victor, Ana Ofelia Murguía, and Edward James Olmos. The story follows a 12-year-old boy named Miguel who is accidentally transported to the Land of the Dead, where he seeks the help of his deceased musician great-great-grandfather to return him to his family among the living.
The concept for Coco is inspired by the Mexican Day of the Dead holiday. The film was scripted by Molina and Matthew Aldrich from a story by Unkrich, Jason Katz, Aldrich and Molina. Pixar began developing the animation in 2016; Unkrich and some of the film’s crew visited Mexico for research. Composer Michael Giacchino, who had worked on prior Pixar animated features, composed the score. Coco is the first film with a nine-figure budget to feature an all-Latino principal cast, with a cost of $175 million.
Coco premiered on October 20, 2017 during the Morelia International Film Festival in Morelia, Mexico. It was theatrically released in Mexico the following week, the weekend before Día de los Muertos, and in the United States on November 22, 2017. The film was praised for its animation, voice acting, music, emotional story, and respect for Mexican culture. It grossed over $807 million worldwide, becoming the 15th highest-grossing animated film ever and was the 11th highest-grossing film of 2017. Recipient of several accolades, Coco was chosen by the National Board of Review as the Best Animated Film of 2017. The film won two Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song (“Remember Me”). Additionally, it also won the Best Animated Film at the BAFTA Awards, Golden Globe Awards, Critic’s Choice Movie Awards, and Annie Awards.
Rating 8.4 in IMDB
In Santa Cecilia, Mexico, 12-year-old Miguel dreams of being a musician, even though his family strictly forbids it. His great-great-grandmother Imelda was married to a man who left her and their 3-year-old daughter Coco to pursue a career in music, and when he never returned, Imelda banished music from her family’s life and started a shoemaking business.
Miguel now lives with the elderly Coco and their family, who are all shoemakers. He idolizes Ernesto de la Cruz, a famous musician, and secretly teaches himself to play guitar from Ernesto’s old movies. On the Day of the Dead, Miguel accidentally damages the picture frame holding a photo of Coco with her parents on the family ofrenda and discovers a hidden section of the photograph showing his great-great-grandfather (whose face had been torn out) holding Ernesto’s famous guitar.
Inspired by the evidence that de la Cruz is his great-great-grandfather, Miguel leaves to enter a talent show for the Día de Los Muertos despite his family’s objections. He breaks into Ernesto’s mausoleum and takes his guitar to use in the show, but once he strums it, he becomes invisible to everyone in the village plaza. However, he can interact with his skeletal dead relatives who are visiting from the Land of the Dead for the holiday. Taking him back with them, they learn that Imelda cannot visit because Miguel removed her photo from the ofrenda. Miguel discovers that he is cursed for stealing from the dead, and must return to the Land of the Living before sunrise or he will become one of the dead; to do so, he must receive a blessing from a member of his family. Imelda offers Miguel a blessing, but on the condition that he abandon his musical pursuits. Miguel refuses and attempts to seek Ernesto’s blessing instead.
Miguel meets Héctor, who claims to know Ernesto and offers to help Miguel reach him in return for Miguel taking his photo back with him, so that he might visit his daughter before she forgets him and he disappears completely. He helps Miguel enter a talent contest to win entry to Ernesto’s mansion, but Miguel’s family tracks him down, forcing him to flee. Miguel sneaks into the mansion, where Ernesto welcomes him as his descendant, but Héctor confronts them, again imploring Miguel to take his photo to the Land of the Living. Ernesto and Héctor renew an argument from their partnership in life, and Miguel realizes that when Héctor decided to leave the duo to return to his family, Ernesto killed him, then stole his guitar and songs, passing them off as his own to become famous.
To protect his legacy, Ernesto seizes the photo and has Miguel and Héctor thrown into a cenote pit, where Miguel realizes that Héctor is his real great-great-grandfather, and that Coco is Héctor’s daughter. Imelda and the family find and rescue the duo, and Miguel reveals the truth about Héctor’s death. Imelda and Héctor gradually reconcile, and the family infiltrates Ernesto’s sunrise concert to retrieve Héctor’s photo. Ernesto’s crimes are exposed to the audience, who jeer him as he is thrown out of the stadium and crushed by a giant bell, repeating the circumstances of his death, but the photo is lost.
As the sun rises, Coco has nearly forgotten Héctor. Imelda and Héctor bless Miguel unconditionally so he can return to the Land of the Living. Miguel plays “Remember Me”, revitalizing her memory. Coco lights up and sings along with Miguel, then gives Miguel the torn-off piece of the family photo, which shows Héctor’s face, and tells her family stories about her father, thus keeping his memory alive. Miguel’s family reconciles with him and accepts music again.
One year later, Miguel proudly presents the family ofrenda to his new baby sister, while Coco’s letters from Héctor prove that Ernesto stole his songs, destroying Ernesto’s legacy and causing Héctor to be rightfully honored in his place. In the Land of the Dead, Héctor and Imelda rekindle their romance and join Coco for a visit to the living, where Miguel sings and plays for his relatives, both living and dead.