Coco is another delightful movie from Pixar: It’s a magical tale of a Mexican boy who passionately wants to play music, even though his shoemaking family has rejected music ever since his great-great-grandfather pursued his own musical ambitions and abandoned his wife and child—the eponymous Coco, who is now ancient. Miguel discovers that his despised ancestor is none other than Ernesto de la Cruz, the most famous musician of his time. In order to enter a talent competition on Día de los Muertos, he steals Ernesto’s guitar from his mausoleum, whereupon he is transported to the Land of the Dead. Surrounded by lively skeletons, he must find his way home before the night is out.
Coco is visually beautiful, musically satisfying, entertaining, and uplifting. While amusing, it manages to avoid the pitfalls of inanity that afflict so many animated films targeted at children, and it also deals sensitively with topics such as death, bereavement, and abandonment, as well as the difficulties of being in a family and the costs of following one’s dreams.