“Remember Me”. This is really the theme song and overall theme of the new Pixar movie “Coco”. Yesterday, I took my daughter Tess on a daddy-daughter date to see the movie after reading a positive review of it in World Magazine, a Christian publication whose movie reviews I often find myself agreeing with.
The movie is a visual feast, full of vibrant colors and exceptional animation. It is also a movie rich in music with some fantastic musical numbers. There is also a surprising and beautiful twist on the modern mantra of “following one’s heart” and “being true to yourself”. Other rich topics arise as well, such as the importance of family. But, what makes the movie so unique is the bold and intentional approach to wrestling with the topic in a children’s movie of what happens after you die.
Now, it must be declared that the afterlife of “Coco” is most certainly not one consistent with the biblical worldview. However, it is consistent with the worldview of other cultures, specifically in this movie, the culture of Mexico. Some may be turned away by this and it is understandable. The main character Miguel is transported to the land of the dead and hence most of the movie is played out in this land of the dead with the dead being depicted as artistic skeletons. Because of this, I would be hesitant to take very young children to it, though the skeletons by and large are not scary.
However, I do not think we as Christians need to be so much afraid of this as we are to be wise with this. Rarely have I seen a children’s movie that proves to be such a natural segue into the Gospel and the Kingdom of God. The movie begs the audience to contemplate life after death and provide a meaningful answer. The answer the movie gives is remembrance. What matters after death is being remembered. The final death then comes when one is no longer remembered. This is the great fear of all the dead who dwell in the land of the dead.
I walked out of this movie with a deep appreciation for the film and the questions it raised, as well as some points it made. But, it gave me an even deeper appreciation for the Gospel and the love of a personal God who intimately knows me. The great terror in “Coco” is not being remembered by those alive. In this, they are partially correct. The difference between this and the biblical worldview is who is doing the remembering…for who does the remembering makes all the difference! In Hebrews 13:5, we read “For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’”. Consequently, the hope we have as Christians is not based on being forgotten here on earth. The hope we have as Christians is that we will never be forgotten by the God who created all things and sent His Son to die for our sins! Jesus confirmed this when He stated in John 14:2, “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” Why? Because we will never, ever…not in a million bajillion years…ever be forgotten. We are His children and His name is upon us! (Revelation 22:4) What a blessed comfort and hope!
So, grab your children, go see “Coco”, then go get some ice cream or something. There is a rich conversation just waiting to happen. Oh…and bring some Kleenex. This pastor and football coach had tears running down his face.