It seems a strange idea, to take a four year old and his latest obsession with death to see a film about Diá de Muertos, dead relatives, and visiting cemeteries. But when I took my son to see Disney’s Coco I did just that. Sort of by accident.
Granted, I hadn’t actually read the blurb or seen a trailer and for some reason thought the film was about a little girl called Coco, so I sat there open mouthed for the first twenty minutes when it turned out to be about a little boy called Miguel and the Mexican spiritual festival of the Day of the Dead.
Aside from the fact that an hour of talking skeletons reignited the death obsession full force for another good two weeks, the film itself was wonderful. As you would expect from Disney the animation was beautiful, vibrant, and professional. The storyline was sensitive and touching, celebrating all things family and cultural, and the rich Mexican-inspired score was perfect.
I won’t spoil the entire story itself for you but it’s quite useful to know what to expect if you’re taking young children: although the film deals with the inevitability of everyone dying eventually, the story mostly centres around Miguel’s older relatives having passed on – great grandparents, great aunts and uncles etc. There is however a plot device where there’s the threat of Miguel not coming back from the Land of the Dead. It’s not scary or upsetting as such, but there is a race-against-time element.
Having spent the last few weeks answering questions about my Nana who passed away years ago and whose portrait was prominent over Christmas, Disney’s Coco had me thinking of my own family throughout the film and I think the same would be said for anyone who watched it. If you manage to stay dry-eyed throughout the main film, hang around for the end credits for the real feels.
It was obvious that the film did get my 4 year old thinking again. That night, after brushing his teeth, he asked if I’d like to bring my Nana back to life. I thought about it and answered him honestly: I’m sure she’d have loved the chance to meet my son, but no I didn’t want to bring her back from the dead – she’d had a long and busy life and deserved to rest in peace.