Enlarge / Miguel and his “spirit guide” Dante cross the flower petal bridge into the Land of the Dead on Día de Muertos. (credit: Pixar/Disney)
Like Pixar’s greatest films, such as Toy Story, Up, and Inside Out, the Thanksgiving weekend treat Coco is a gorgeously rendered fantasy about the good and bad (but mostly good) of family life.
Set in small town Mexico on Día de Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, it’s both a color-saturated homage to this ancient Mexican tradition and a loving portrait of a family learning to accept the perspective of a new generation.
The story revolves around 12-year-old Miguel, who spends every day after school helping with the family shoe-making business.

There’s just one problem in Miguel’s life.

All he really wants to do is become a mariachi, singing and playing guitar like the 1940s musical star Ernesto de la Cruz.

But his family hates music, going all the way back to his great-great-grandmother, Imelda.
She founded the family shoe business to support her daughter after her husband abandoned them to become a musician. When Miguel’s abuelita—Emelda’s granddaughter—discovers Miguel’s guitar, she smashes it. Miguel can’t take it anymore, and he flees home in tears.
Racing through the streets just as Día de Muertos celebrations are just getting started, Miguel makes a few iffy choices and winds up transported to the Land of the Dead.

Followed by his adorable street dog friend Dante over a bridge made of orange flower petals, Miguel finds himself in a glowing, multi-layered city of gondolas and neon rainbow-furred flying animals.

Ghosts who look exactly like Día de Muertos skeletons are everywhere, their bony faces vivid and emotionally expressive.

There are a lot of satirical touches too, like when the dead line up at Disneyland-like gates to get in and out of the Land of the Dead.
It’s a sumptuous and funny visual sequence that will fill even a cynic’s heart with wonder.
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