My three-year-old daughter has a short attention span, and therefore, has had an easier time sitting through a television show than a film. It was only a year ago that she had the attention span to sit through a movie – that film was Moana. She was obsessed with the film, asking to watch it daily. Then, a few months later, the process repeated with Tangled. In the last year, no feature has captivated her quite like these two films (which both star Disney princesses), although I noticed that she has also been drawn to Beaty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King – all of them Disney Animation projects. I tried getting her to watch Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, and Inside Out, and although there was a brief moment of interest, she walked away from all of these. Then, there came Coco.
Soon after I watched Coco for the first time, in theaters, I loaded up the soundtrack on my phone. I could not get the songs from the film out of my head. One day, I played the song “Un Poco Loco” in the car while my daughter happened to be sitting in the back. Usually, when I play something that I want to listen to, she quickly requests another song, one that she likes. This time, she sat quietly and listened. I did not think much of it at the time.
A few days later, she asked to listen to the “Poco Loco” song. I was shocked that she remembered it days later. I pulled up the song on YouTube and played it for her. She asked to listen to it, frequently. Then, I started playing her songs from the rest of the film’s soundtrack – she listened to them all intently. I had a good feeling that Coco may succeed in a way that other Pixar films I have tried to show her did not. So, I waited anxiously for the film’s release on Blu-ray.
A few weeks ago, I bought the film – for my daughter, it was love at first sight. I told her we were going to watch Coco and she was visibly excited. On her first viewing, she was glued to the screen. When the film was over, I had a realization. She had just watched an entire Pixar film for the first time. Given that I created a site called The Pixar Times, if you guessed that this left me ecstatic, it would be an understatement. Throughout the next few weeks, she made request after request to watch the film. Now, she is at the stage where she sings and dances through each of the film’s musical numbers. She loves every single one of the film’s songs.
So why did my daughter connect with Coco in a way that she never did with the other Pixar films we tried to watch? Coco is a great movie with a polished story and memorable characters that left me in tears – that is why I like the film, though, and obviously does not represent how my daughter experiences it. She connected to the film through the film’s music. My daughter loves music. She enjoys watching others sing and dance, and eventually joins in. Coco allowed her to do this. She has attempted to memorize (and in many cases has succeeded) the lyrics to the songs. Impulsively, throughout the day, she will start belting out the lyrics to “Remember Me,” “Un Poco Loco,” or even “La Llorona.”
In my review of Coco (beware of spoilers in that article), I wrote about the emotional impact that the film had on me. The relationship that I have with my daughter is a significant part of why the film destroyed me. Now that she adores the film, I only become more emotional when I sit and watch it with her. I could not be happier that Coco is the first Pixar film that she loves.