Coco is the story to Miguel Rivera, a boy who absolutely loves playing the guitar, but must keep his love for music secret from his family. You see, his family has shunned all music since his great-great grandfather seemingly abandoned his family for his musical career many, many years ago.
On Día de los Muertos, Miguel inadvertently goes on a journey to the Land of the Dead and meets his ancestors. In order to get back home, he must receive the blessing of his ancestors. But what blessing will he receive? Will he be able to continue to play his beloved guitar, or will he have to accept his family's wishes and give up music forever?
Visually, this movie is a beautiful tribute to Mexican music, culture, and the traditions behind the Day of the Dead. There is a heavy emphasis on the purpose and importance of the ofrenda (ancestor altar), and since we had just recently created one in our family, my kids were excited to see that in the film.
This film is FULL of conversation-starters you can use with the children in your family to talk about different aspects of family history, and I've listed some of them below. (I have attempted to keep these listed themes spoiler-free, but if you really want to know nothing about the film, perhaps stop reading here.)
1.) Sometimes we feel a special connection to an ancestor who we've never met.
2.) Our eldest living family members are important bridges between our living family members and our deceased ones.
3.) We exist only as as long as we are remembered. It the responsibility of living family members to share the memories and stories of the deceased ones, so they can continue to live on through the generations.
4,) Our ancestors may have done something that seemed to be dishonorable, but perhaps we should not judge their actions until we know (if ever) the entire story behind those actions.
5.) Our family may try to prevent us from doing certain things out of love, in an attempt to protect us from hurt, or to try to prevent us to go down a path that has caused hurt in the past.
6.) Sometimes who we THINK we are related to ends up being an incorrect assumption. (Am I right, researchers??)
So, please take your children and grandchildren to see Coco, or grab a copy right away once it is released onto Blu-ray/DVD. Use the film to get children interested in the stories of their OWN ancestors.
©2017 Emily Kowalski Schroeder