The film is set in Mexico and centers around the Day of the Dead, when (in this movie’s universe) the ghosts of family members past return from the Land of the Dead to celebrate with their living loved ones. Through a series of hijinks I won’t get into, young Miguel winds up in the Land of the Dead and must orchestrate a reconciliation between a long-lost ancestor and his own family.
I’m assuming most people reading this have either seen Coco or don’t care very much, but just in case, spoilers follow…
For a ghost to exist in the Land of the Dead, he must be remembered by somebody in the Land of the Living. In the case of Miguel’s estranged great-great-grandfather Hector, that connection lies with the ailing Coco, his daughter, whose memory is fading in her final days.
In the scene featuring today’s SOTD, Miguel plays ‘Remember Me,’ a lullaby Hector wrote for a young Coco, and slowly the old woman awakens with a spark of recognition. It’s a beautiful moment about the importance of family, the power of music and the fragility of life.
Right up there with the beginning of Up and Jessie’s abandonment in Toy Story 2 on the Pixar tear-o-meter.
Though I have to say goodbye
Don’t let it make you cry
For even if I’m far away, I hold you in my heart
I sing a secret song to you each night we are apart
Though I have to travel far
[MIGUEL & MAMÀ COCO]
Each time you hear a sad guitar
Know that I’m with you the only way that I can be
Until you’re in my arms again