MENU

Coco
Category

Coco’s Big Oscar Wins

Academy Awards, Adrian Molina, Coco, Darla K. Anderson, Lee Unkrich, Oscars

Posted by Simoa • March 5, 2018

 

Though it might have been expected, Coco‘s victory at last night’s Academy Awards wasn’t any less sweet! And the film scored not one, not two, but three wins!

Remember Me

First there was the sensational performance of “Remember Me,” beginning with Gael Garcia Bernal accompanied by a guitarist as he sang the gentle lullaby version of the song. It was impossible not to be moved, especially with Bernal’s spotlight on the darkened stage while thinking of that pivotal moment in the film when the lullaby is first heard. But a show stopping spectacle was waiting in the wings! Miguel and Natalia Lafourcade sized the stage with their rendition, complete with Ernesto de la Cruz’s legendary stage. It was reanimated just for Oscar night and mirrored the film closely!

photo via Ava Duvernay

Best Animated Feature

“Viva Latin America!” Oscar Isaac, one of the award presenters, cried out before announcing Coco the winner. It highlighted just how important this film is to so many and was the first indicator of Mexican filmmakers winning during the broadcast. Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina were joined onstage by Darla K. Anderson and three in the film’s cast: Anthony Gonzalez (Miguel); Gael Garcia Bernal (Hector); and Benjamin Bratt (Ernesto de la Cruz). It was a first for Pixar filmmakers to be flanked by their cast at an awards show, and it’s particularly noteworthy since they’re of Mexican and Latino descent.

Once more, it was impossible not to be moved as Lee, Adrian, and Darla gave their acceptance speeches. This was truly a momentous win for Coco. If you missed it last night or if you want to watch it again (and really, who wouldn’t?), the segment appears below.

“Coco is proof that art can change and connect the world, and this can only be done when we have a place where everyone and anyone who feels like an other to be heard.” -Darla K. Anderson

“Love and thanks to my family, my Latino community, to my husband Ryan, each for expanding my sense of what it means to be proud of who you are and where you’re from. We hope the same thing for everyone who connected with this film.” –Adrian Molina

“…the biggest thank you of all to the people of Mexico. Coco would not exist without your endlessly beautiful culture and traditions. With Coco, we tried to take a step forward toward a world where all children can grow up seeing characters in movies that look and talk and live like they do. Marginalized people deserve to feel like they belong. Representation matters!” –Lee Unkrich

Anthony Gonzalez also got a moment at the microphone, making Lee’s declaration that much more resounding.

Best Original Song

Coco‘s win in this category was unexpected, perhaps because it didn’t take home the Golden Globe back in January. “Remember Me” marks Pixar’s second ever win for Best Song (previously awarded to Randy Newman for Monsters, Inc.’s “If I Didn’t Have You”). Songwriters Bobby Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez also secured their second Oscar win. There was no end to the inspiring speeches as Anderson-Lopez acknowledged the diversity of the nominees, while Lopez dedicated the award to his late mother.

“I really want to take a minute to look at this category of incredible nominated songwriters tonight. Not only are we diverse, but we are close to 50/50 for gender representation. When you look at a category like ours, it helps us imagine a world where all the categories look like this one.” -Kristen Anderson-Lopez

Although Dave Mullins’ short film “Lou” walked away empty handed, it was a spectacular night for Pixar and Coco. This film’s message of familial love, as well as its celebration of an underrepresented population, has been embedded into the cultural zeitgeist. It signals even more diverse and inclusive stories at Pixar and beyond.

Representation matters enormously, and so does Coco.

Congratulations to Lee, Adrian, Darla, the Lopezes, and the entire cast and crew for their tremendous movie and wins!

Read article

Pixar and Oscar

Academy Awards, Coco, in depth, Opinion Piece, Oscars

Posted by Simoa • March 3, 2018

With the 90th Academy Awards airing this Sunday, March 4th, your trio of Upcoming Pixar writers are here with some musings on the awards show.

Academy Award for Best Animated Feature

Animated movies have been cemented in our culture for the best part of a century now, so it’s hard to believe that the Academy Awards, founded in 1929, only introduced the Best Animated Feature award in 2002. In the years since, so many beautiful animated features have become nominees in this category, and while it’s great that these movies are gaining recognition, it seems strange that this recognition doesn’t stretch over into other categories as often as it should.

There are only three animated movies that have ever been nominated for Best Picture: Beauty and the Beast, Up, and Toy Story 3. (None have ever won it though). And while I may be a little biased as an avid Pixar and animation fan, I feel like there are plenty of animated movies that easily rival the most critically-famed live-action movies out there. Or at least, more than three. It feels as if the creation of the animated feature category has caused the Academy Awards board to disregard these movies when considering them for any other merits besides being ‘a good animated movie’, or ‘pretty good…for an animated movie.’ Which is weird because, to quote Brad Bird, “animation is not a genre. It is a method of storytelling.”

So right off the bat, it’s like movies that happen to use animation as their art form are already unfairly regarded as ‘beneath’ live-action movies. And then there’s the issue that many animated movies seem to be completely overlooked. Pixar have won 50% of all the Oscars ever awarded for Best Animated Feature. Disney and Pixar combined have won ~70%. This is where I begin to feel conflicted – I love Pixar. I like to see them succeed. I am always happy and proud when a Pixar movie is awarded with an Academy Award. But, especially in more recent years, when a Disney or Pixar movie is nominated for Best Animated Feature, it almost feels like a guaranteed win. And it shouldn’t be! There are so many inspirational animation studios doing amazing work at the moment. Pixar is in good company.

The Academy Award members do a good job at nominating a diverse set of movies for Best Animated Feature (even after the rule change this year where all members, not just a specialist branch, were able to nominate contenders in this category). This year’s nominees include the Mexican-culture-celebrating Coco, the first fully painted animated film Loving Vincent, and the stunningly animated The Breadwinner by the very unique and distinctive studio Cartoon Saloon. It’s when it gets to the voting for which nominee should win where things seem to get a bit problematic. It’s been reported in the past that some members don’t take this category seriously, choosing to not even bother watching all the nominated animated movies. The fact that only Disney and Pixar – huge and very well-known studios – have won Best Animated Feature for the past five years seems like a pretty good indicator that members are just voting for whatever movie they vaguely recognize. Don’t get me wrong, Zootopia, Inside Out, and Big Hero 6 are all brilliant movies that are completely deserving of their awards, but the way the winners are chosen in this category is unfair to all the animation studios involved.

-Joanna

Pixar Always Wins

As we’ve seen on every Oscar night, Pixar does always win. (With a few exceptions where they either lost or didn’t even receive a nomination). Coco will most likely take home the grand prize. However! While Pixar movies are overwhelmingly the favorites, it’s unfair to the studio’s first film with an all Latino cast, one that celebrates a culture and country far too demonized by Hollywood and politicians, to be labeled as undeserving just because of the Pixar name. And if Pixar doesn’t win? The films are stellar whether or not “Academy Award winning” precedes the title.

Oscar voters are a disappointing bunch. Like the general population, they don’t consider animation a serious art form and usually choose Pixar because they don’t bother to watch the other worthy contenders. Whatever reasons they have for dismissing animation is their own business, but it is frustrating to think that Pixar’s wins weren’t always the results of a fair competition.

Coco deserves every honor it receives. I hope that if it’s the winner Sunday night, it was because voters honestly thought it stood up better against the other nominees. If the Academy and Hollywood at large are committed to inclusivity, then the film’s win for Best Animated Feature will not only be a win for positive Mexican representation, but a win for the entire industry.

-Simoa

Academy: What’s the Point?

I used to be a massive Oscar fan when I was younger. Between the star-studded ceremonies, the tear-jerking Oscar acceptance speeches, to the inspiring films that took home the gold, I was in awe and obsessed. I would beg my parents to let me stay up late on Oscar Holy Sunday so I could find out who would win Best Actress or what film would win Best Picture. Later I’d hold Oscar parties and watch everything that was nominated so I could make accurate predictions as to what would win and why.

It wasn’t until I got older and discovered the vast number of films that are released each year and how the Academy doesn’t even recognize most of them that I realized the Oscars themselves are not only a huge popularity contest, but also a con.

Behind all the glitz and the glamour, what do the Oscars actually represent within our culture? When one of the nine films nominated for Best Picture wins the prestigious award, does it make that film any better or any more worthy than the other ones that were nominated? Do you even remember what won Best Picture last year? Or five years ago? What about the other films that were released during the year and were snubbed when the nominations came out? Are those considered bad films because they weren’t nominated? I’d like to think of the Oscars as a celebration of all the hard work that thousands of talented individuals poured into each film released, whether or not they made the Academy’s cut.

One of my favorite categories at the Oscars is Best Animated Feature and each year I constantly find myself disappointed at the Academy’s lack of knowledge of the animation industry.

I’ve been a massive Pixar fan since I first remember going to the cinemas when I was a wee lass, but the animation world goes far beyond Pixar’s pearly gates in Emeryville. Pixar definitely raises the bar when it comes to animation and sets a high standard for storytelling, but that doesn’t mean they’re the only studio making good films, or Oscar worthy films. There are so many other studios around the world making equally compelling and engaging content that often go unnoticed. Whereas the Best Picture category is often compelling as the winner can sometimes be a film completely unexpected, there is really no suspense in the Best Animated Feature category because if a Pixar film is nominated then 9 times out of 10 they’re going to win the Oscar; unless a Disney film is nominated, like Zootopia or Big Hero 6. I’m not saying those films didn’t deserve to win but it would have been more entertaining had there been a little more competition among the other animated films nominated.

It’s nice that the Academy honors animated films that were made outside of Pixar or Disney or even DreamWorks, such as The Breadwinner or Loving Vincent, but that still doesn’t make up for the other films they left out this year and in the past. If the Best Picture category can have up to 10 films nominated, then the Best Animated Feature could have the same, of course depending on what animated films are released throughout the year.

The Academy does have a high regard for Animation – they added the category to the program in 2002 and even nominated Up, Beauty and the Best, and Toy Story 3 for Best Picture, so they obviously take animation seriously and know that it’s worthy of everyone’s praise and attention… but there’s still a long way to go before animation is anywhere equal to live action.

-Nia

Read article

Coco Day in Los Angeles

Adrian Molina, Coco, Darla K. Anderson, Lee Unkrich

Posted by Nia • February 28, 2018

Well, it’s official: February 27th is Coco Day in Los Angeles. Yesterday the City of Angels honored Pixar’s 19th film at a ceremony in City Hall by L.A. City Council Member Gil Cedillo. The honor was not only inspired by the most recent DVD/Blu-Ray release of the film, but the fact that Coco is the first animated film to feature nearly an entire Latino cast. Most of the ensemble has roots in Los Angeles, which made the ceremony very special for some.

(Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)

(Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)

The honors were respectfully given to Lee Unkrich and Darla K. Anderson, the Director and Producer of Coco, and these members of the cast were also there to celebrate the success of the film and show their support to the local Latino community: Anthony Gonzalez (Miguel), Renee Victor (Abuelita), Gabriel Iglesias (Clerk), Alfonso Arau (Papa Julio), Selene Luna (Tia Rosita), Lombardo Boyar (Mariachi/Gustavo), Blanca Araceli (Emcee), Dyana Ortelli (Tia Victoria) and Carlos Moreno Jr.

Anthony Gonzalez and the The Mariachi Divas even treated those in attendance with some fan-favorite songs from Coco: “Un Poco Loco” and the Oscar-nominated “Remember Me.”

(Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)

(Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)

Coco is the first Pixar film to be given a day of celebration and it’s so obvious why – between the depiction of the Latino culture and Day of the Dead, on top of the heartfelt story tackling death and fulfilling your dreams, it’s no wonder that Coco soared it’s way into the hearts of millions. We don’t think anyone’s going to forget about this film anytime soon, and we can only hope it opens up more films that have Latino leads and other stories that focus on underrepresented characters in animation.

Stay-tuned for the Oscar’s this Sunday to see if Coco takes home the gold for Best Animated Feature Film and Best Original Song.

Read article

Los Angeles to celebrate ‘Coco Day’ on February 27th

Coco, Pixar

Posted by Joanna • February 26, 2018

Tomorrow, February 27th, is a day that’s been marked down in Pixar fans’ diaries for a while now – it’s the day Coco will finally be released on Blu-ray and DVD. But now there’s even more reason to look forward to this date: Los Angeles is declaring Tuesday as ‘Coco Day in L.A.’, celebrating the film’s incredible worldwide success and its representation of the Latino community.

Los Angeles City Councilmember Gil Cedillo, First District, is to declare ‘Coco Day in L.A.’ at the Los Angeles City Hall tomorrow morning. The ceremony will start at 9am, and director Lee Unkrich, producer Darla K Anderson, and Anthony Gonzalez (who lent his voice to the Coco protagonist Miguel) will be in attendance. The Mariachi Divas will also be performing “Un Poco Loco” and the award-winning “Remember Me“.

It’s not often that a movie has such a positive effect on the world that within months of its release, it has its very own day of celebration. But Coco is an instant classic that is sure to be remembered for many years to come, not just because of its resonating story and characters, but because of its wonderful representation of Latino culture. It is a movie that is incredibly deserving of all the success that has come its way. So, Happy (almost) Coco Day! How will you be celebrating?

Read article

Coco deleted scene: Celebrity tour

Coco, DVD

Posted by Simoa • February 5, 2018

Mark your calendars: on February 13, Coco will be available on digital, with a BluRay release set for February 27th! As usual, there are plenty of goodies and extras to look forward to, and just today, we got a glimpse of a deleted scene. In the clip below, directors Adrian Molina and Lee Unkrich explain how Miguel’s buddy Hector was first a tour guide in the Land of the Dead. This clip also explained the concept of memories and why people need to be remembered if they want to continue living in the great city.

There were lots of celebrity cameos in Coco. It definitely would’ve been wonderful to get a close up look at stars like Pedro Infante, Jorge Negrete (both of whom inspired Ernesto de La Cruz), Maria Felix and Dolores del Rio (a personal favorite of mine!).

We can’t wait to see what more surprises didn’t make the final film.

Read article

Coco takes center stage at the 2018 Annie Awards

Annie Awards, Awards, Cars 3, Coco, Pixar

Posted by Joanna • February 4, 2018

A huge congratulations is in order for all the talented Pixar employees who helped make Coco a reality – it took center stage at the Annie Awards ceremony last night by picking up 11 trophies!

Coco has been wowing audiences around the world since its release in Mexico last October – it has since picked up the Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature, and has been nominated for an impressive number of awards. The whole Coco crew had already done themselves proud by receiving 13 nominations at the 2018 Annie Awards, but going away with 11 wins (including Best Animated Feature) at the ceremony last night was truly well deserved. Here are all of Coco‘s winning categories:

Best Animated Feature
Outstanding Achievement for Animated Effects in an Animated Production
Outstanding Achievement for Character Animation in an Animated Feature Production
Outstanding Achievement for Character Design in an Animated Feature Production
Outstanding Achievement for Directing in an Animated Feature Production
Outstanding Achievement for Music in an Animated Feature Production
Outstanding Achievement for Production Design in an Animated Feature Production
Outstanding Achievement for Storyboarding in an Animated Feature Production
Outstanding Achievement for Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production
Outstanding Achievement for Writing in an Animated Feature Production
Outstanding Achievement for Editorial in an Animated Feature Production

You can view the full breakdown on the Annie Awards site.

Amongst those accepting the trophy for Character Design was Daniela Strijleva (who created this incredible concept art for Héctor and his many disguises).

Anthony Gonzalez, at only 12 years old, won the Outstanding Achievement for Voice Acting award for voicing the charming, kind-hearted protagonist Miguel. Adrian Molina was amongst those credited for not only the writing award, but also the music and directing awards.

Cars 3 was also nominated for 2 awards (Best Animated Feature and Outstanding Achievement for Animated Effects in an Animated Production) but failed to pick up any trophies, with Coco really shaping up to be the stand-out Pixar movie of 2017 (or indeed the stand-out movie of 2017).

The next big awards ceremony will be The Academy Awards – exactly one month away (4th March 2018) – in which Coco has been nominated for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song. We have a lot to say on the subject of the Oscars so stay tuned! As always, we’d love to hear your predictions.

Read article

Guest post: Coco Across Borders

Coco, guest post, in depth

Posted by Simoa • January 30, 2018

Today we’re featuring a guest post by one of Upcoming Pixar’s faithful readers, Karla! She discusses her meaningful connection to Coco. 

When I was fifteen, in 2012, Pixar announced that they would be making a movie about Día de los Muertos, also known as Day of the Dead. Although I had virtually no information about the production at the time, it felt like my two worlds were colliding as a Mexican and as a long-time Pixar fan. At the 2015 D23 Expo, Coco was officially introduced to the public and as evidenced by my Twitter archive, I went absolutely nuts. After seeing the first public image of Miguel, a boy I felt like I had already met before, I knew it was going to be a very special movie. In that moment, my love for Coco grew exponentially. Although many of my peers were skeptical about the movie being riddled with stereotypes (and rightly so!), I had faith in Pixar.

When I saw Coco for the first time in November, it felt surreal. I had been counting down the days for years and the date had finally materialized itself in front of me. As soon as I heard the beginning notes of the classic “When You Wish Upon a Star” in mariachi-style, I was hooked. From the start, using papel picado (tissue paper with cut-out shapes) as a medium, the story of Miguel’s ancestry was revealed. In his narration, two things Miguel said jumped out at me: “And the mamá? She didn’t have time to cry over that walkaway musician!” and “She found a way to provide for her daughter.” These statements strongly reminded me of the sacrifices mothers make in order to secure a livelihood for their children. Mama Imelda’s resilience and courage are traits that I see in my own mother. Considering I grew up in a big family, much like Miguel, I consider Coco an ode to my parents who taught me that family always comes first.

‘Remember Me’ (Lullaby) is an important song that resonated with the hearts of many immigrants across the world including mine. When people leave their country for a new beginning, a better life, they do so without knowing when they will see their families again. The pain of not being able to be close to your loved ones while they are still alive is resounding. ‘Remember Me’, for that reason alone, brings me to tears every time. It is a testament to the concept that neither love nor resilience can be bound by borders, no matter how many walls are built.

As a DACA recipient, I do not have the privilege of leaving the country and traveling to Mexico to explore my heritage. However, while watching Coco, I was able to immerse myself in a place that I have only been able to experience through stories and pictures. My favorite scene in the movie is when Hector was finally able to cross the bridge made up of brightly-colored cempasuchil from the Land of the Dead to the Land of the Living and visit his family. Hector expressed joy, excitement and relief all at once and although this moment may seem insignificant to some people, it meant the world to me.   

It brings me joy knowing that so many people loved Coco, whether they were of Mexican descent or not. In a rare occurrence, my family felt accurately represented by mainstream media in the United States and I hope this marks a change within the entertainment sector. I also respect Pixar for making Coco available in Spanish in theatres throughout the country. It allowed many people in my community to enjoy this film without relying on the translations of those around them. After watching Coco in my native language, I was able to connect to it in an entirely different level.

I want to take a moment and thank the Coco team for creating a movie that has impacted my life greatly in a short amount of time. It was amazing to see the amount of people who contributed their stories as well as talents to the film. When I was younger, after watching a Pixar movie or flipping through an “The Art of…” book, I would get so excited when I saw a name that sounded like mine in the credits. It still excites me to this day. Thank you and I can’t wait to own Coco on DVD!


(Fun fact: Miguel’s village is named “Santa Cecilia” which refers to the patroness of musicians in Catholicism. Coco premiered on November 22nd, the day the Catholic church acknowledges as Saint Cecilia’s “feast day” or a day of celebration in her memory. Although the date of the movie was entirely coincidental, confirmed by Lee Unkrich, the connection was significant to me because I am a musician named Cecilia and I was confirmed in the Catholic religion under the same saint. Love it!)   

Read article

1/23/18: Pixar’s Oscar Nominations

Academy Awards, Coco, Lou, Oscars

Posted by Simoa • January 23, 2018

Oscar nominations were broadcast today, and Pixar secured three nominations in total.

“Lou,” the Dave Mullins directed short that played before Cars 3 (mysteriously overlooked) this summer, was nominated for best animated short film. The full list of nominees is below.

Once again, Coco has been nominated for both Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song, “Remember Me,” written by Disney’s latest and greatest songwriting duo, Bobby Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez! For some reason, Adrian Molina was not listed as a nominee.

[Update]: This Remezcla article explains why Adrian Molina was excluded as a nominee. The Oscar rules for who receives a nomination are below:

“The designated recipient(s) must be the key creative individual(s) most clearly responsible for the overall achievement. A maximum of two persons may be designated as nominees, one of whom must be the credited director and the other of whom must have a producer credit.”

It’s really unfortunate that Adrian Molina is not being acknowledged as a key creative individual for the film. Nevertheless, his contributions to the film simply can’t be overstated, and he deserves just as much recognition and praise as Lee Unkrich.

Congratulations to Dave Mullins, Lee Unkrich, Adrian Molina, Darla K. Anderson, Bobby Lopez, and Kristen Anderson-Lopez!

See you on Oscar night! The 90th awards will be presented on March 4th, 2018.

Read article

Coco and the Importance of Death

Adrian Molina, Coco, in depth, Lee Unkrich, Opinion Piece

Posted by Nia • January 22, 2018

Pixar isn’t afraid to tackle death and loss in their films; it’s a prevalent theme in almost every story and even an obstacle that so many of their beloved characters need to tackle to move on and grow. Death is featured at the start of Finding Nemo, when Marlin discovers his wife and children have been brutally eaten by a barracuda. And it’s obviously there in Up, as we follow Carl and Ellie through their beautiful relationship when they meet as children, get married, and until the very end with Ellie dying due to old age. There’s even the loss of growing up and leaving your childhood behind in Toy Story 3 when Andy packs up his stuff for college and ends up leaving his beloved toys with Bonnie. Although Finding Nemo and Up have those themes featured at the beginning of the films, the entire story does not spend it’s time focusing on how that loss has affected the characters, what happens when those characters die, or how they’re supposed to deal with that empty gap in their lives. It’s simply a tool to move the characters from one spot to the other to fulfill the other story the studio wanted to tell at that time.

But with Coco, Pixar’s latest film, death takes the helm and leaves room to open up conversation about that often-taboo topic. The film would simply not exist if it weren’t for death and the Mexican holiday Day of the Dead.

Coco is an important film for not only acknowledging the Mexican culture faithfully by embracing their traditions to a tee, but by also being a place where families can come together to discuss something that is a part of everyone’s lives, no matter their age, race, or religion; and most importantly, a place where they can fondly look back and remember all the cherished memories of loved ones no longer with them.

When I was 9-years-old my grandmother passed away from Leukemia – that was the first time I had heard the word death, the first time I had seen the mourning and the blackness. I saw the tears before but I never put two and two together. Now there was a face to death, a person that I once knew who was no longer on this earth.

I understood that my grandmother was gone but not the severity of it all. One day after she passed, I had caught my mother sitting alone, watching old VHS tapes of my grandmother. She was sitting quietly in front of the TV crying. The VHS tapes were showcasing happier times of my grandmother laughing and dancing, full of health and beauty. At that age I thought nothing of it but continued to my room, where I most likely started playing with my toys or finished my homework.

There was never really a time for my parents to talk about death with me because my grandmother’s passing happened so suddenly. I was thrown into the topic and because of that, I feared the death of my friends and my family. I didn’t want anyone to die and I didn’t really understand where they went – even though in church, especially with my Greek Orthodox upbringing, I was told everlasting life existed in places like heaven.

I was lucky to have another set of grandparents who I spent my childhood with. My other grandmother didn’t pass away until 2016, and I’m still left with one surviving grandfather who is in his early nineties. Though because of my initial brush with death at 9, I feared for the day when my other grandparents would pass away. I would leave them silly letters around the house when I visited in the summer telling them that I would never forget them and I would always remember them. I didn’t want them to go anywhere, and I wanted to stay in that moment surrounded by them, forever.

I saw Coco with my family and like so many others, it brought me back to all the wonderful memories I had with all of my grandparents. Just like when Miguel’s family came together in the end to celebrate the life of their ancestors, even the ones they didn’t know in their lifetime, I came together with my own family to discuss friends and family from days gone by. After the film we talked about all the good times we had together and laughed away our tears. We most certainly remembered them and most importantly, we remembered all the great things about their lives and how they helped us become the people we are today.

It’s important for animated films like Coco to feature death so prominently in the story. Animated films are mostly targeted towards younger audiences, which makes it even more special for children to experience themes like death with their families earlier on and to figure out what it means to them in their own time. It opens up opportunities for children to ask questions about what happens when loved ones die and for parents not to shield their children from something that happens to all things in time. It’s also vital to speak to children about death and to embrace all the ugly emotions that come with it. With the fear and sadness comes the happiness and love when one is faced with the warm memories of those who have passed. It’s OK to cry, to get emotional, and to discuss this sensitive topic; luckily we have films like Coco to help open up that opportunity for all.

Read article

Coco came into my life at just the right time

Coco, in depth, Opinion Piece, Pixar

Posted by Joanna • January 17, 2018

(Coco spoilers ahead).

Has a Pixar movie ever been released at just the right time for you?

I finally saw Coco last Saturday – I saw it on my own in a quiet cinema, quiet enough for me to be the last person in the theatre by the time the credits were coming to an end. The final scenes of Coco resonated with me so much that I didn’t stop crying until the Pixar logo appeared again to signal the end of the movie. Usually I wouldn’t class ‘crying alone in public’ as a positive experience, but this was. It was cathartic; I could feel Joy and Sadness holding hands in my head. I think I found Coco so particularly poignant and affecting because I can relate to its themes so strongly – it feels like the movie came out at just the right time for me and has helped me confront my emotions.

This isn’t the first time I’ve felt that a Pixar movie has come into my life at just the right moment. I remember seeing Toy Story 3 with my close group of school friends when we were just entering our final year of school and starting to apply for universities. Monsters University reminded me amidst all my exams and assignments that succeeding academically isn’t all that life is. After graduating, I felt small and scared and powerless, but The Good Dinosaur encouraged me to accept my fears and face them with my head held high. I saw Cars 3 on its release date just a few hours after passing my driving test.

In Coco’s finale, Miguel sang to his great-grandmother Coco and managed to reach her. Fittingly, by hearing ‘Remember Me’, Coco’s memories of her father came flooding back, and her and Miguel were blessed with a moment of real connection and understanding. As someone who is currently losing her own grandmother to Alzheimer’s and dementia, this hit me hard. My granny can be sat in a room overflowing with her family, but look dreadfully alone and unsure. Most conversations with her are her retellings of old family stories which are slowly becoming jumbled and confused. If you ask her how her week was, you can see the frustration on her face as she fails to grasp onto slippery memories that never seem to be in the right place.

Miguel singing Mama Coco ‘Remember Me

But if you give my granny a book of poems, she reads them beautifully – she speaks with the confidence and character that I remember her having when I was younger. She doesn’t stumble over her words; she doesn’t have to struggle to remember anything. She just reads them, because they’re familiar to her. And suddenly I’m reminded of days I spent with her learning how to bake, spending summers, birthdays and Christmases with her, and listening to her (always expertly told) stories about our family going back generations. Miguel singing his great-grandmother Coco ‘Remember Me’ had the same effect as me handing my granny a book of poems. When Miguel succeeded in connecting with Coco, I felt that same wave of joy and relief as if I had just connected with my own grandmother and helped her break free temporarily from the haze and confusion of dementia. Coco came into my life at just the right time because it has encouraged me to try to have more of these meaningful moments with my granny while I still have the chance. And it’s reminded me that while my granny is slowly becoming lost, she’ll live on through our own memories and stories.

Sketch of Miguel and Mama Coco by co-director Adrian Molina

So is it just luck? Was I just lucky to have these movies to encourage me at the times I most needed them? I don’t think so. I think Pixar have a talent for creating movies that are naturally relatable and naturally strike a chord with people from all stages of life. It’s incredible that Pixar movies can feel so personal even though they’re made by thousands of people, for thousands of people. But by keeping the heartfelt messages at the very cores of their movies, they manage it.

Read article