People are loving Pixar’s latest film, “Coco.”
The animated movie follows Miguel Rivera, a guitar-playing 12-year-old who accidentally winds up in the land of the dead — an otherworldly dimension based on the Mexican holiday, Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead).
But it’s arguably the personal connection many fans have had to the characters and their story that’s truly made this film special.
On Nov. 29, “Coco” director Lee Unkrich tweeted an email that was sent to Pixar from a woman who’d seen the film.
“I will admit, I feel a little silly emailing such a large company and am pretty sure you won’t even read this,” her note began. “But I figured I’d give it a try.”
The woman, the daughter of Mexican immigrants, explained why the movie meant so much to her:
Growing up, my parents and sisters used to watch Pixar movies all the time. The only problem was that we would have to pause the movie every 5 minutes to explain to my parents what the characters were saying because both of my parents are not very fluent in English. Of course nowadays it is much easier because we are able to select Spanish versions and subtitles. But you can imagine the difficulty in the 90s!
“But now there’s ‘Coco,'” the woman continued in her letter. “Not only did you make a movie for mi gente, you’ve also made it viewable in THEATERS in SPANISH!”
“Coco,” as she noted, was released in Spanish in many theaters across the country, including in over two dozen cinemas in Southern California alone.
“Let me explain why this means so much,” she continued. “To me, last night, for the first time in my life, I took my mom to the movies. We went to the movies like real Americans do!”
“My mother had tears in her eyes. She hadn’t been to a movie theater in over 30 years. She has always felt a bit out of place in the States. But last night, she forgot she was not from here. She felt at home. And of course the movie made us cry too!”
Fans of the film, many of whom could relate to the woman’s story, filled the tweet replies with heartwarming messages.
“My 6 year old son said to me ‘he (Miguel) looks like me!'” tweeted one person.
Within minutes of the start of the movie, my 6 yr old son said to me “he (Miguel) looks like me!” 😢&😊 thank you 🙏🏽 🇲🇽 gracias 🇺🇸
— Mexi-CanCan Dad (@FatToSkinnyMexT) December 2, 2017
“It was my mom’s first time in a movie theater in over 15 years as well,” tweeted another.
It was my mom’s first time in a movie theatre in over 15 years as well. Usually subtitles would not be as helpful due to her poor eyesight but because Coco was in Spanish we were able to once again enjoy a family night out at the movies. She cried, we all did. Thank you Pixar.
— Wolfgang (@rey_rey94) December 2, 2017
“I felt like a film finally represented me and my culture,” another tweet read.
I can’t even talk about Coco without crying. Today at lunch with my friends from the office were talking about the movie, and began talking about our ancestors all the way back. Thanks a lot and greetings from Tabasco😊
— BB8tor (@jhecthor) December 1, 2017
“I felt this movie in my soul,” shared another fan.
❤️😭 I think it’s safe to say that from all Mexican Americans we are greatful for this movie because it reminds of of home, of our people, our abuelos, our mamás and our cultura. I felt this movie in my soul ❤️
— Cruz Trujillo (@cruztujillo) December 4, 2017
Diversity in film matters in real-world ways. From the actors and directors bringing the movies to life, to the languages and cultural narratives they tell on screen, “Coco” shows how feeling as though the story reflects you and your story can make a world of difference.
“I apologize for getting so emotional,” the woman concluded her letter. “But I want to say, from the bottom of my heart, and from all Mexican-Americans, thank you. Thank you for including us. Thank you for making my mommy feel like she belongs. Thank you.”
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