image for Coco

Short takes

Not recommended under 7; parental guidance to 10 (scary scenes and themes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Coco
  • a review of Coco completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 1 January 2018.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 7 Not recommended due to scary scenes and themes
Children aged 7 to 10 Parental guidance recommended due to scary scenes and themes
Children aged 10 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.

Name of movie: Coco
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild themes
Length: 105 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Coco celebrates the Mexican tradition of the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) during which all ancestors are remembered. Miguel (voice of Anthony Gonzalez) is a young Mexican boy who dreams of becoming a musician. His hero is Ernesto De La Cruz (Benjamin Bratt) who died in an accident while on stage. Mama Coco (Ana Ofelia Murguía) is Miguel’s great grandmother who lives with him, his parents and his grandmother, Abuelita (Renee Victor). Coco’s father Hector (Gael García Bernal) was a musician who left Coco and her mother Imelda (Alanna Ulbech) when she was quite young to pursue his career and never came home. Imelda thus began a shoe making business which has been in the family ever since. Music has been banned from the household and Abuelita enforces this law absolutely.

Abuelita is very angry when she discovers that Miguel has made his own guitar and intends to enter a talent contest. She smashes the guitar and Miguel runs away to the tomb of De La Cruz. Inside the tomb Miguel somehow passes into the Land of the Dead where he is neither quite alive nor quite dead. There he meets his ancestors and learns the true story of what happened to his great great grandfather Hector. He discovers that the Land of the Dead isn’t too different from the Land of the Living with the rich and the famous living (or dead) amongst the poor and forgotten. Miguel also meets his hero and finds out that not everything is as he thought it was.


Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

The supernatural; life after death; family relationships

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie including:

  • Abuelita yells at a band of musicians and they all fall down.
  • De La Cruz is shown being crushed by a bell on the stage.
  • Abuelita hits a musician with her shoe for letting Miguel play his guitar.
  • Abuelita smashes Miguel’s guitar in anger.
  • Mama Imelda gets angry with a woman who won’t let her ‘cross over’. She hits her with her shoe.
  • De La Cruz punches a man.
  • In a movie De La Cruz poisons another man by giving him a drink. He did this in real life too.
  • Hector attacks De La Cruz
  • Guards seize Miguel and throw him into a pool at the bottom of a hole.
  • Mama Imelda hits De La Cruz with her shoe. A fight breaks out between Miguel’s family and security guards.
  • Imelda and De La Cruz wrestle over Miguel. De La Cruz throws Miguel over a balcony into a huge crowd.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • The Land of the Dead is a very colourful, but possibly scary place with flying creatures, dragons and spirit animals. Mama Imelda’s spirit guide is a colourful jaguar. It is very large and intimidating, with a loud roar. Miguel’s dog Dante, who follows him into the Land of the Dead, turns into a spirit guide.
  • The skeletons could frighten children in this age group. Miguel’s ancestors all appear to him as skeletons. Miguel is glowing in an orange outline and is obviously frightened.
  • Miguel gets his face painted to look like a skeleton so he blends in better.
  • The skeletons can take their limbs off and remove their heads. On a few occasions they completely fall apart and remake themselves. One skeleton’s eyes pop out of its head and into its mouth.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • When leaving De La Cruz’s tomb Miguel is invisible to people who walk straight through him.
  • Miguel’s fingers start to skeletonise. He has to get back to the Land of the Living before sunrise but he needs his family’s blessing to do that.
  • Miguel’s spine is also starting to skeletonise.
  • Hector is seen in the Land of the Living, dying in pain, clutching at his stomach.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

In addition to the above mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged eight to thirteen, including the following:

  • Mama Imelda is unable to ‘cross over’ as she needs to forgive someone.
  • An old forgotten skeleton is fading. He starts to glow in orange and then turns into gold dust. He has been forgotten and passed into the final death.
  • Hector is fading as he has been forgotten.

Thirteen and overinfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Nothing of concern

Product placement

Nothing of concern in the film but there is likely to be associated merchandise

Sexual references

None of concern

Nudity and sexual activity

  • De La Cruz is shown kissing a woman in a movie.
  • A husband and wife skeleton kiss.
  • A skeleton is seen posing for an artist – supposedly in the nude.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • There is drinking on several occasions. In the Land of the Dead the skeletons all drink at parties and the forgotten skeletons drink out of flasks.

Coarse language

None of concern

In a nutshell

Coco is a colourful Disney/Pixar animation, which deals with some serious subjects in a funny way. It does uphold the value of family and its emotional story will pull at the heartstrings. Due to the subject matter and scary scenes, it is more suited to older children, and 7 to 10 year olds are likely to need parental guidance.

The main messages from this movie are the importance of family, the need for forgiveness, and the need to compromise and to make use of your talents. There is also the important lesson that things are not always as they seem.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • love and care for your family
  • gratitude

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children their beliefs about what happens to you when you die.