Spoiler alert: Dialogue and plots from the movie revealed. If you are planning to watch the movie any time sooner or you don’t care about being informed about the plot, Continue.
Coco (2017) is a recent movie of Pixar. It is an animation movie mixed with fantasy and mystery. The story is of a Mexican boy, Miguel Rivera and his journey beyond ‘The land of Living’ to ‘The Land of Dead’. This movie emphasis on the importance of family, heritage, untold love, the power of music and passion.
Disney has broken stereotypes that animated movies are for kids, by producing movies like ‘Inside Out’ and ‘Coco’. This movie is not just for kids. It is a perfect and adorable family entertainer. This movie is nominated for 2 Golden Globe awards.
The story revolves around Miguel, a boy passionate about music. He yearns to create music and become like his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz – the famous late musician who enthralled people with his charming looks and amazing songs.
But the dream for his music is far to attain as his family heritage is against music and everyone in his family except him hates music. Miguel did not care about shoes or never wanted to become a shoemaker which he was forced to by the family. He wanted to become like De La Cruz, to play music for the world. His family did not understand his desire and he did not understand his family.
- Family is first
Miguel enters the land of the dead and a blessing from a family member is required to go back to the land of the living. His Mama Imelda blesses him with a condition that he no longer plays music. Miguel not willing to accept the blessing comes back to the land of the dead to meet his great great grandfather for a blessing. He believes that his family will not support him in his music.
But when he meets his grandfather he understands the importance of family.
Miguel- “We may have our differences but nothing is more important than family”
On the flip side, Mama Imelda and her family understands his passion towards music and blesses him never to forget how much your family cares for him.
Spend the time with the people who care for you. The family is blessing and nothing is great than having a supporting family.
- Seize the moment
Expressed more than once by the De la Cruz, ‘Seize the moment’ is a most important take away for anyone who watches the movie. Opportunity favours the bold and the character of Miguel (the protagonist) is portrayed as a bold and enthusiastic boy whose love for music knows no limits.
He desires to participate in the talent competition as he sees it as an opportunity to be seized to expose his talent to the world. Though he was not able to do it in ‘The land of the living’, his attitude remained the same even in ‘The land of the dead’. He was determined.
When he wants to meet Ernesto de la Cruz, his idol, he uses the opportunity and participates in the completion presenting his talent to the world for the first time. He did not cling on to the fear and remorse over the missed opportunity. He seized the moment and that’s the reason he is a protagonist.
He sang in front of many people (dead people) to gain De la Cruz’s attention in the party. He grabbed every opportunity on his way. He seized the moment without letting the opportunity pass by. He did not let fear trump him.
The movie highlights the reasons one has to seize the opportunity without letting it pass by. There is nothing worse than regretting a missed opportunity that could have changed our lives forever. Excuses will always be there but when the moment is gone, the opportunity is gone too.
Life is too short to wait for another opportunity. If you are not bold enough to grab the moment, you are not even entitled to regret/ yearn for victory.
If you are an F.R.I.E.N.D.S’s fan you certainly know what it takes to grab a spoon and seize the opportunity.
- You are not dead unless you are forgotten.
In the ‘The land of the dead’, Miguel’s new found friend, Hector explains why it is important to be remembered in ‘The Land of Living’. Miguel sees in his own eyes the disappearance of Chicharron, a person from whom he borrows the guitar for his performance in Ernesto’s plaza. Hector explains that when it is long enough and no person in ‘The Land of Living’ remembers the dead, the dead person vanishes and it is called the ‘Final Death’.
This signifies that what a person does during his lifetime impact his afterlife also. We still remember great leaders, humanitarians and family members who contributed a lot to the society, the people and their families, even after many years of their absence in this living world of ours.
We remember great personalities and they live in our memories. A place in someone’s heart is living even after being dead.
The main song of the movie, “remember me” sings, “Remember me. Though I have to say goodbye, remember me” is a reverberation of the last wish of goodbyes.
The movie teaches that ‘One day you will be just a memory. Do your best to be a good one’. Love, Laugh and Give during your lifetime and be remember for the good.
- It’s never too late to forgive a person
Miguel’s great great grandfather left his great-great-grandmother for playing music for the world and never returned. Even after their deaths, they never met in ‘The Land of the Dead’ because his grandmother was still angry that he abandoned her and their child. But when she came to know his love for his family and wanted to come back to them but was unable to, she forgives him. She refers to him as ‘the love of her life’ and pardons him wholly.
This story inculcates the idea of forgiveness and it is never late to forgive. Understanding the person from their perspective and gaining clarity helps us to forgive and accept in entirety.
Forgiveness is not always easy and effortless. It takes a strong heart and understanding to forgive. Learn to forgive and learn to live in peace.
An apology does not alter the past. But forgiveness does alter the future.
It is never too late to apologise. It is never too late to forgive.
If you hold a long unexpressed apology do it now.
If you waited long enough to forgive do it now.
It is never too late.
Robert Brenault – “Life becomes easier when you learn to accept the apology you got”.
- “You want it, you have to earn it” – Chicharron
When Miguel wants a guitar to perform at the Ernesto plaza, he and his friend Hector approaches, Chicharron, an old man soon to be forgotten in ‘The Land of the Living’. But he tells Hector that he has to earn the guitar to have it. He asks him to sing a song for him in return for the guitar.
There is always something we need to give in order to get something. There is nothing in this world free of cost (not just monetary cost). We need to put down efforts, spend time and work hard to achieve success.
Dreams don’t work unless you do. Do not expect to receive unless you are willing to give. Your act of giving acts like a boomerang. You get what you give out.
There cannot be a return without investment. You get what you deserve and not what you desire.
Serve to deserve and earn to acquire.
Learn to never yearn before you offer your contribution.
“Success doesn’t come for free. You have to do whatever it takes to seize your moment” –Ernesto De La Cruz
- Unconditional Love of family
Miguel ran out of the family to participate in the talent competition in the plaza against their will. But he did not because he could not. Instead, he discovered ‘The land of the dead”. All night the family kept searching for Miguel and finally when they found Miguel they next morning, they were worried and cared what happened though were angry for his behaviour.
In ‘The Land of the Dead’ when Miguel ignored his great-great grandmother’s blessing to get his great-great grandfather’s blessing, his family, though dead wanted him to go back to ‘The Land of Living’. They wandered and searched for him all over in spite of his act to give blessings so that he can return to ‘the Land of the Living’.
There can be small fights and misunderstanding between Family members, but they always care for each other. The love of family is life’s greatest blessing one can ever get.
Value your family and know their unconditional love. Whatever you do, or whatever you don’t do, the family’s love remains unconditional. We argue; we fight; we even don’t talk to each other often. But a family is always a family, a fountain of unqualified love and affection.
“That is what families are supposed to do, support you” – Miguel
- Be careful of what you chase
Miguel’s grandfather, a great musician left his family to play for the world and become famous. This one decision chase the allure of fame has changed his life forever. He gets separated from his family in ‘The Land of the Living’ and also in the ‘The Land of the Dead’.
Sometimes we chase the fruits and lose the roots. It is always important that we go after what is important and not what looks important. Losing a family for gaining fame and money is not what satisfies the soul.
One might have to learn to ignore the dreams that cost one’s sleep.
- Winners help others
Miguel wanted to meet Ernesto de la Cruz, his idol before sunrise in his palace. But neither Miguel won the competition to enter the place by himself without the invite nor had the invite.
When Miguel could not enter the Ernesto’s Party without an invitation, the winning team from the competition held in Ernesto’s plaza helps him get inside the palace. The team also complemented Miguel’s performance at the plaza.
Winners help each other and never are afraid of their peer’s ability to surpass them. They uplift each other without judgments and they are happy that they could help.
Be kind to one another. It costs nothing but a good heart.
“I’m not like the rest of my family. There’s something that makes me different.” – Miguel
Miguel accepted that he is not like his family members. He acknowledged his love for music and tried to explain it to his family members. He knew he was different but that never led his to love his family any lesser.
Miguel did not accept the life of shoemaker. He could have easily accepted what was forced upon him. But he simply refused to agree and embraced his individuality and uniqueness.
There is nothing wrong with being different. Embrace what makes you, you. Embrace your uniqueness and individuality. Your uniqueness makes you stand out as a leader. It is your identity. Never trade it for being average or regular or normal.
Never even try to be anybody else. Be an average you trying to be better every day, than a better somebody else.
Don’t trade your authenticity for approval; don’t trade your values for validation.
- Find your own tribe
When Hector is away from his family in ‘The Land of the Dead’, he finds similar people there who have no family or people who are soon to be forgotten by their family. They live as a family together. They help and support each other. They remembered and cared for each other.
Sometimes everyone feels lonely or without a tribe. Find your own tribe and be a family together. Not everyone is born in a family. Build your tribe with kindred spirits and serve each other as family.
- Truth alone triumph – Satyameva Jayathe
“Dharma (truth) may seem to be losing to Adharma, but at the end, only Dharma will triumph”. –Krishna, Bhagavat Geeta
It might seem De la Cruz has become successful by stealing all the lights of fame and allure from Hector but in the end, the world is aware of the truth, the truth that Ernesto De la Cruz is a murderer and a plagiarist. He tried his best to conceal the truth from the world, both living world and dead world but the power of truth cannot be concealed. The truth shall always prevail.
- Get inspired
Miguel, a passionate music lover, is not supported by his family in his path of music. Everyone in his family hates music and because of that, he did not get any formal lessons on music. But this doesn’t stop him from learning to play the guitar. He makes himself a guitar from the scarp and learns to play it by watching videos of his idol, Ernesto De la Cruz. He is inspired by the spirit of his passion and self-learns.
Personally, I always believe in being a student for life. In life, every single person crosses your path either to inspire you or to get inspired by you. There are no exceptions. Inspiration can come from anyone; not necessarily famous personalities.
Get inspired and inspire others
- Talk yourself out of misunderstanding
In relationships, misunderstandings are not avoidable but there is a sure way to resolves issues; Communication. Yes, communication helps a great deal when it comes to relationship misunderstandings.
A small talk could solve a lot of conflicts. When the family gave time to Miguel to talk to Mama Coco when he returns from ‘The Land of the Dead’, he was able to revive the memories of his fading grandfather in the minds of his Mama Coco and he was also successful in explaining his great-great grandfather’s side of the story. The movie had a good ending because they were able to talk things out. Two minutes could give better clarity and save relationships from breaking out due to conflicts and misunderstandings.
Coco is a great family entertainer packing cultural values and beliefs with great life lessons as take away. It is successful in redefining values for the new age of family, passion, culture and traditions.