Latino Themed Movie ‘Coco’ gets Mexican Culture Right
It’s pretty rare for a movie about a certain culture to represent the culture well, but Pixar’s movie “Coco” has definitely displayed an accurate representation of Latino culture, specifically the Mexican culture. The film used an all Latino cast, the consultants that over saw the movie from start to finish are Latino, and popular Mexican sayings were used throughout the movie. “Coco” is themed around the annual Mexican holiday, Día de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead). The movie’s story is about a 12-year-old Mexican boy named Miguel who wants to follow his dreams of pursuing music, despite his family not allowing it, and he ends up encountering the souls of his ancestors in the land of the dead, which help him reveal his family’s real history. Adrián Molina, “Coco” co-director and a screenwriter, states,
It’s not very often that we as Latinos or Mexicans are represented on screen in a way that celebrates the things that make us beautiful, confident and powerful. So with this film, I wanted this journey of Miguel and his family, to showcase all of the things that we see in ourselves but don’t necessarily see on TV.
Molina, who is Mexican-American, claims that the intent of the Latino team was to make sure the movie celebrated Mexican families and Mexican culture and traditions. The movie was written and directed by Lee Unkrich, who is not Latino, which is why he relied heavily on his Latino team members so that he wouldn’t be accused of cultural appropriation. One of the consultants hired to help consult in the making of “Coco” was acclaimed Los Angeles-based syndicated cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz, who was once a big critic of Disney. Alcaraz stated,
Hollywood closes itself off by trying to cater products for people, instead of making something that’s unique and honest. Hollywood is lazy when it comes to trying to be authentic, especially when it comes to Latinos. So this is still 180 degrees from that, and I still can’t believe it’s happening.
It certainly is great to see a movie that celebrates some of the things that makes the Mexican culture beautiful. Hopefully the movie’s success will encourage Hollywood to make more Latino themed movies in the near future.