I know I’m late to the party on Coco, but since I stopped teaching, I don’t see children’s movies as soon as they come out. It remains to be seen if I’ll ever see Frozen 2. I know some of you are shouting at the screen, they’re not just for kids! (And some of you are shouting that you’ve seen each movie 700 times with your kids.) Well, you’re right, Coco is a great movie for people of all ages, and not just because of the plot twist! It’s heartfelt and endearing. Here’s me complimenting this movie more, via the Scale:

Not offensive to women = 1/1 pt

Features a woman as the main protagonist and/or supporting character = 2/2 pts

Passes the Bechdel-Wallace test = 0/3 pts

Coco does not pass for gender representation, but it is very respectful of women, and passes for POC rep, as every character is Mexican. The main character is young boy Miguel, and the story involves his relationship with his family. There are many supporting women characters.

Miguel and Coco

Artistic and/or Entertaining = 4/4 pts

Let me describe to you how much I liked this movie: I was watching it for free on the airplane, but was cut off before the last 20 minutes, so I paid to rent it on YouTube, AND watched it from the beginning, even though I had just watched most of the movie the day before.

Recommended: The Amazing Women of Avatar: The Last Airbender

I feel like the images in this post should give you one explanation: the movie is beautiful. The CGI is gorgeous and used to great effect on Day of the Dead symbols such as the marigolds that festoon the ofrendas (and lead the way into the land of the dead), and the alebrijes/spirit guides. 

The Rivera family ofrenda
The marigold bridge to the land of the dead.

Then there’s the plot. I thought the story was about a woman named Coco who passes away, and how her grandson deals with her death. Boy was I off the mark. I did not realize I was about to watch an action-packed drama wherein Miguel, after stealing from an ofrenda, ditches his deceased family in the land of the dead, and goes to find his hero, Ernesto de la Cruz, because he wants to be a musician like de la Cruz. The plot twist left me reeling! 

Big Hero 6 shows us how to write scientist characters for girls. Read our review here.

Above and Beyond General Media = 5/5 pts

Any time a major American studio makes a motion picture about POC lives, it’s going to get full points from us. The movie is set in Mexico with Mexican characters, so of course they don’t fall under the umbrella term “people of color” as it’s usually used in social justice circles. But a movie that centers Mexican characters, culture, imagery…and makes it cool and beautiful… is so relevant to so many Americans’ lives, and very radical in a time when so many try to villainize Latinx people for racist reasons to advance their own agendas.

Additionally, all the women characters were unique and powerful in their own ways, and Miguel’s relationship with them was moving. Surely he’s going to grow up into a feminist with so many women role models :p

Mama Imelda is a badass in life and in death.

Score: 12/15

Her story arc feminist review scale

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