“There’s something familiar to us all in this story,” says Coco director Lee Unkrich

Co-directed by Adrian Molina, “Coco” releases in theaters November 22nd

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With its universal theme of family which is bound to resonate with moviegoers, “Coco” follows an aspiring singer forced to choose between his passion for music and his love for his family.

Directed by Lee Unkrich, Pixar Animation Studios’ 19th feature film follows Miguel, an aspiring singer and self-taught guitarist who dreams of following in the footsteps of his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz, but is forced to find another way to fulfill his dreams when he discovers his family’s generations-old ban on music.

Miguel and his idol Ernesto

“‘It is a film about a 12-year-old boy with big dreams who secretly nurtures this love of music and struggles against his family’s  ban on music,” shares Unkrich. “It’s about a hardworking family with great traditions and a lot of love. But what’s so cool about ‘Coco’ is that the boy could be my son. That family could live next door. The sweet, bossy grandmother who insists on one more bite might be your grandma. There’s something familiar to us all in this story. That’s what makes it so special.”

Crowded, colorful, littered with culture and firmly rooted in traditional Mexican folklore, Miguel’s  dogged determination to perform in a music festival sparks of a magical event that sends him to the Land of the Dead and it’s there he discovers his family’s unmusical history.

“As soon as we decided that we wanted to tell a story that takes place in Mexico, we immediately booked our first research trip,” Unkrich adds. “Over the course of three years, we visited museums, markets, plazas, workshops, churches, haciendas and cemeteries throughout Mexico. Families welcomed us into their homes and taught us about the foods they enjoy, the music they listen to, their livelihoods and their traditions. Most importantly, we witnessed the importance they place on family.”

Miguel's show wielding grandma

With eclectic characters that includes Miguel’s sharp-tongued grandmother Abuelita (Renée Victor) who is the ultimate enforcer of the Rivera family (and wields a mean slipper) to Benjamin Bratt as the voice of Miguel’s idol Ernesto de la Cruz,  a Mexican Elvis type who dons a suede mariachi-like jacket with sequins and gold stitching, the film pulsates with energy and delightful visuals.

Bursting with vibrant colors and music, it’s an inventive, funny and genuinely touching tale about the importance of family and carving your place as an individual within it.

“The story of ‘Coco’ is inspired by Mexico’s people, cultures and traditions,” Unkrich continues. “The people of Mexico made us think about our own families, our own histories and how that makes us who we are today. We are grateful for the opportunities afforded to us, and we can honestly say we are different people as a result of our experiences.”

Co-directed by Adrian Molina “Coco” releases in theaters November 22nd.

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