Coco is a rich and visually pleasant movie that boasts of a thoughtful narrative that takes a family-friendly and deep-seated approach to questions of culture, family, life and death.

The plot follows the life of 12-year-old, Miguel who lives in Saint Cecilia, Mexico. Miguel dreams of becoming a musician even though music is a strictly prohibited art in his family. The family legend goes as follows: his great-grandfather left his great-grandmother and their three-year-old daughter, Coco, to pursue a career in music and never returned. Consequently, his great-grandmother forbade music from the family life and started a venture in the art of shoemaking.

At present, Miguel lives with a much older Coco and their family who are all shoemakers. Alongside, he idolises Ernesto de la Cruz, a very famous musician, and secretly learns to play the guitar using Ernesto’s old movies as his guide. One day, on the Day of the Dead, Miguel accidentally damages a family ofrenda of Coco and her parents. He discovers a part of the photo which is hitherto hidden. In that part of the photo, he sees his great-grandfather holding Ernesto’s famous guitar. But the face has been torn off.

This leads Miguel to conclude that it is in fact Ernesto who is his great-grandfather. He then ignores his family’s objections to music and leaves his home to take part in a talent show. He also breaks into Ernesto’s mausoleum and takes his guitar to use for the show. But to the utter surprise of the viewers, the moment he starts strumming the guitar, he becomes invisible to everyone in the village plaza. However, he can interact with the dead people – his dead relatives – who are around because of the Day of the Dead. He further learns that his great-grandmother cannot visit, because he had accidentally removed her photo from the ofrenda. Also, he discovers that he is cursed for stealing the dead and he must return to the Land of the Living before sunrise or he shall be made a part of the dead. And to do so, he must obtain a blessing from a member of his family. His great grand-mother offers him the blessing but on the condition that would not continue his musical interests. However, Miguel does not agree to abide by this condition and he seeks to gather blessings from Ernesto instead.

Miguel then meets Hector who says he knows Ernesto and offers to help Miguel. In return, Hector requests Miguel to take his photo back with him to his daughter so that she may have some tangible memory of her father. Hector helps Miguel sneak into Ernesto’s mansion, where Ernesto welcomes him as his descendant. But Hector confronts them again and they talk about a pact they’d made when they were alive. Miguel discovers that when Hector decided to return to his family, Ernesto poisoned him and stole his guitar and his songs. Moreover, he passed them off as his own so that he could become famous.

To protect himself, Ernesto grabs his photo and also has Hector and Miguel thrown off into a pit. There, Miguel realises that actually Hector is his great-grandfather, and that Coco is hector’s daughter. Then the family rescues Miguel where he reveals the real cause of Hector’s death. Then the family trespasses into Ernesto’s concert to get the photo. There, Ernesto’s crimes are exposed to the audience who throws him out, and he is crushed to death by a giant bell. But in the process, the photo is lost.

Now the sun is rising and Coco’s life and memory are both fading. Miguel goes back to the Land of the Dead and gets Hector’s torn photo back for her. He then tells her the stories of her father. The family now resolves their differences and the ban on music is lifted. One year later, Miguel gives the ofrenda to his new baby sister while Coco is dead. Hector is rightfully honoured in Ernesto’s place and both the dead and the living groove to Miguel’s music.

With a thematically rich plot and a charming representation of Mexican culture, this movie should be on every movie buff’s list of must watch movies.

Buy movie: Coco
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