Coco (2017) dir. Lee Unkrich

You know what I love about this scene?

Miguel is right. The first time I watched it, I expected a later scene where Miguel was proven wrong or shown the error of his ways—one where it’s firmly established that adults might make rules that don’t make sense, but they have their reasons and it’s best to abide by their wishes.

But no. That doesn’t happen. Instead, we see that Imelda’s insistence on the music ban, and her refusal to reconsider, indirectly (or perhaps directly) land Miguel in even greater danger, as he wouldn’t have gone after de la Cruz were it not for Imelda insisting he give up music forever. The happy ending comes not when Miguel agrees to give up music to please his family, but when he defies the ban to save Héctor and restore Mama Coco’s memories.

I can’t tell you how many kid’s movies I’ve seen that would have taken “Family comes first” to mean “The adults’ wishes are paramount even if they’re unreasonable.” It would have been so easy to have Miguel simply go along with what Imelda wanted, but Pixar instead gave us a story where a child’s decision to contest an unfair rule is what eventually restores a broken family.