Coco

2017, USA, 105 min.

Another animated gem from Pixar that will enchant anyone with a pulse. In rural Mexico, young Miguel (voiced by Anthony Gonzalez) dreams of playing the guitar, an act his family of shoemakers forbids. Through a series of accidents, Miguel lands up in the mythical Land of the Dead, where he meets his long-departed relatives and a slick-talking musician (Gael García Bernal), who helps him piece together the past. The pallet of colors employed here is sumptuous, and the overall visuals are dazzling. This feast is complemented by a heart-warming appreciation for elders, represented by Miguel’s great-grandmother, whose silence hides a past that Miguel’s investigative skills and love unlock. Yet what makes Coco a true family film is how both the older and younger generations learn and benefit from each other, whether it’s Miguel celebrating his country’s musical roots or his relatives learning to embrace their past through Miguel’s sheer determination to be heard. Coco proves, again, that Pixar’s filmmakers remain unparalleled at achieving an emotional resonance to go with artistic grandeur.

The Age of Adaline

2015, USA, 112 min.

Old age is frequently viewed as a flaw, as if those over 45 are incapable of enjoying life because they’re too slow, too jaded, too everything. The Age of Adaline scoffs at that notion. This charming, romantic fable doesn’t venerate youth, even though its title character has been a beautiful young woman for nearly 80 years. Read more…

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

2008, USA, 166 min.

From the day he was born in 1918, Benjamin Button (Brad Pitt) has grown younger, not older. As you would expect, Benjamin’s life is anything but typical, especially when it comes to matters of the heart. When his longtime crush, the regularly aging Daisy (Cate Blanchett), returns to his hometown of New Orleans, the normal definition of “happily ever after” doesn’t apply. This poignant turn is one of the great charms of David Fincher’s crowd pleaser (adapted from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short story), an epic, rousing fable that focuses on self-exploration and empowerment. As the title character says, “For what it’s worth, it’s never too late—or in my case, too early—to be whoever you want to be.”