Coco (2017) Parent Guide
Despite some ghoulish imagery, this movie offers a heartwarming tale that explores the importance of family relationships.
Parent Movie Review
Miguel (voice of Anthony Gonzalez) comes from a cursed family. It all began when his great-great-grandfather decided to pursue a career as a songwriter and abandoned his wife Imelda and their young daughter Coco. To support herself and child, the deserted woman began making shoes – and that has been the Rivera clan’s occupation ever since. She also banned her descendants from having anything to do with music. Even though that was four generations ago, Miguel is still suffering the effects of her edict – because all he wants to do is become a musician.
It doesn’t help that his small village is also the birth and resting place of one of Mexico’s most famous entertainers, Ernesto De La Cruz (voice of Benjamin Bratt). Miguel has watched all his old movies and even learned to play his songs on a dilapidated guitar he has stashed away in a hiding place at home.
Then comes Dia de los Muertos - the Day of the Dead. While his parents, Abuelita (grandmother) and great grandmother Coco (voices of Jaime Camil, Sofía Espinosa, Renee Victor and Ana Ofelia Murguía) are preparing for the celebration that honors deceased ancestors, the twelve-year-old attempts to sneak out with the hope of entering a talent contest being held in the town square. But thanks to a meddling stray dog, everyone’s plans are disrupted. An angry confrontation ensues and the stringed instrument is destroyed.
The unfortunate incident does have one fortunate result – it provides a clue to Miguel’s heritage. Armed with this information, the boy breaks into the mausoleum of Ernesto De La Cruz to steal his famous guitar that is on display there. Although his intentions are just to show his closed-minded relatives that they should let him play music, the theft has unexpected and supernatural results.
Suddenly Miguel becomes ghost-like, and he can see the deceased who have come to attend their big party on the only day of the year they are permitted to crossover from the afterlife. He is quickly spotted by his own family members, who take him to the Land of the Dead to figure out how to send him back to the living before the change in his status becomes permanent. The strange circumstances also allow Miguel to confront his great, great grandmother Imelda (voice of Alanna Ubach) and he takes the opportunity to protest her moratorium on musical pursuits. Yet she unrelenting. When he realizes that he needs a blessing to return home, Miguel decides to seek it from a kindred soul that will be more sympathetic to his personal passions. So he turns his back on his relatives and sets off to find his idol Ernesto De La Cruz.
Much of the story takes place in Land of the Dead. While it is depicted as colorful and lively, all the inhabitants are skeletons. This may be frightening for young viewers, especially when much of the comedy comes from literal portrayals of characters losing their heads, dropping their jaws, or having their eyes pop out. They also “arm” themselves during conflicts by pulling off limbs, and their bones scatter and are reassembled after falls.
Along with these somewhat ghoulish images, the plot features a dark villain with murderous intentions. The brief appearance of this bad guy increases the peril faced by the protagonist. Other scary moments include characters fading from memory and becoming dead forever, and large spirit animals that hunt down the runaway child.
Despite this, Coco offers a heartwarming tale that explores relationships in both the roots and branches of a family tree. It shows how the past and present shape a person’s future. Best shared with older children rather than the little tikes, this amazing animation emphasizes the joy that can come from generational ties and reminds viewers of the importance of remembering their ancestors.Directed by Lee Unkrich. Starring Anthony Gonzalez, Gael García Bernal, Edward James Olmos, Alanna Ubach, Benjamin Bratt . Running time: 110 minutes. Theatrical release November 22, 2017. Updated April 13, 2020
Watch the trailer for Coco (2017)
Rating & Content Info
Why is Coco (2017) rated PG? Coco (2017) is rated PG by the MPAA for thematic elements
This animation contains some ghoulish and frightening images, along with frequent depictions of silly slapstick antics. Much of the story takes place in the Land of the Dead, so many of the characters are living skeletons. These characters fall apart and then pick up their bones and reassemble themselves: heads are knocked off, arms are pulled off and eyes drop out. These portrayals may frighten young viewers. Characters are verbally and physically threatened, tossed from heights and hunted by mythical creatures. A character has murderous intentions. Deaths by poisoning and being crushed by a large object are depicted. Characters lie, keep secrets, and one breaks into a mausoleum to steals a cherished artifact. Characters are afraid of dying and becoming nothing.
Mild sexual innuendo is heard. Female characters wear some revealing costumes. Characters hug and kiss.
Alcohol / Drug Use:
Characters drink at parties and celebrations. Toasts are made. Alcohol is given as an offering to deceased family members.
This movie depicts a religious holiday honoring deceased family members. An afterlife, spirit animals and mythological themes are portrayed.
Page last updated April 13, 2020
Coco (2017) Parents' Guide
The character Ernesto De La Cruz is an entertainer whose music and movies have caught the attention of all of Mexico. Can fans and admirers be a substitute for family? One of the musician’s famous quotes is: “Seize the moment.” How did this advice apply to his career? What inspiration does Miguel get from that phrase? What kinds of moments are worth seizing? Are there opportunities that might be better let go? How can you tell the difference?
How does Miguel’s family from the past affect his present life? What secrets do the older generations hang on to? What fears do they continue to pass down? What positive things come from their memories and accomplishments? What things, for both good and ill, do you inherit from your family? How can you make conscious choices about the legacy you leave your children?
While Miguel is on his quest, he meets a comical man named Hector (voice of Gael García Bernal) who has a sad backstory. Hector is trying desperately to be remembered on Earth because once a person is forgotten by the living, he/she will disappear forever from the afterlife. How is that similar to what happens to forbearers if they fade from the memory of their descendants? How many of your ancestors are forgotten by you? A desire to find one’s family tree has made genealogical research a very popular pastime. You can start finding your family on a website like Ancestry.com.
Learn more about the Mexican traditional celebration, The Day of the Dead, where family members light their ancestors’ graves with candles, and leave flowers and food offerings.
Loved this movie? Try these books…
If your kids enjoy watching Coco, you can encourage them to read the story. They can start with Coco Little Golden Book and work their way up to Coco: The Junior Novelization by Angela Cervantes and RH Disney.
If you’re inspired by the stellar visual design in this movie, you can learn how to draw it yourself with Learn to Draw Disney/Pixar Coco. If you’d rather learn more than actually draw, you can find a copy of The Art of Coco: Pixar Fan Animation Book by John Lasseter and lee Unkrich.
News About "Coco (2017)"
Coco has a distinctive visual design and a vibrant Mexican cultural setting. If your kids are inspired by it and want to start crafting, here are some websites with suggested recipes and activities:
Disney Family: Have a DisneyWeekend All About “Coco”
Puravidamoms: 10 Pixar Coco Inspired Crafts and Fun Food Ideas
The most recent home video release of Coco (2017) movie is February 27, 2018. Here are some details…
Related home video titles:
For a similarly themed film, you can watch The Book of Life. In this story, a contest for the hand of the lovely Maria goes awry when souls from the land of the dead interfere with her two suitors.
If you enjoy the mildly creepy animated dead people, you can watch some of Tim Burton’s classic movies. In The Nightmare Before Christmas, the King of Halloween Town tries to imitate Christmas, with ghoulish results. The Corpse Bride sees a young man unwittingly wed to a dead woman even though he’s already betrothed to one who’s very much alive.
There’s lots to choose from if you’re looking for movies that celebrate families. In Onward, two brothers race to complete a spell that will allow them to spend one day with their father, who died 16 years ago. In The Incredibles and The Incredible 2 a family of superheroes work together, despite occasional friction between them. Mary Poppins reminds us that the most important relationships are with our own family members.