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Loco for “Coco”!

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Recently, I saw Disney/Pixar’s latest blockbuster, Coco, and I am absolutely in love with it. The animation is simply stunning and bursting with vivid colors. The movie centers around an adorable little boy named Miguel who desperately wants to be a musician, but his relatives, all of whom are shoemakers, disapprove of Miguel’s dreams. So, Miguel, along with his canine sidekick, Dante, set out on an adventure to find out why Miguel can’t play music. If I go into more detail about the plot, I would spoil the movie for you, so just see it for yourselves!

I would be wary of taking young children to this movie because there are some elements of the movie that are rather disturbing. Common Sense Media, an organization that reviews the child-appropriateness of movies, says that Coco is appropriate for ages 7 and older. However, I would probably say that 9 and older is probably better because I’m not sure how well a 1st-grader or 2nd-grader would handle some of the themes in Coco.
If you are looking for something to do on a rainy or particularly cold afternoon, head to your local movie theatre and see Coco. It is a beautiful, deeply moving film that older children, teens, and adults alike will all fall in love with.

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Conflicting feelings on the movie “Wonder”

This past weekend, I saw the movie Wonder. I read the book a few years ago, and it is on my list of all-time favorites, so I was ecstatic when I found out they were making a movie out of it. Wonder is the story of a boy, August “Auggie” Pullman, who has Treacher Collins syndrome, which causes facial deformities. Auggie has been home-schooled for his whole life, but his mom decides to send him to school for the first time when he enters 5th grade. Inevitably, Auggie’s 5th-grade year turns out to be a wild adventure with many twists and turns for both him and the other members of his family. The movie was relatively true to the book, especially because the formats of both the book and the movie both involved perspective-switches. In the book, different chapters were told from different points of view, while the movie was split up into segments that each had a different narrator. Some of the characters in the book had a more minor role in the movie, and a few major characters in the movie were not nearly as integral to the plot of the book. Overall, the movie was a great adaptation of a fantastic novel.

My big beef with the movie was that the kid who played Auggie did not have Treacher Collins in real life. The people who made the movie decided to take a kid with a more conventional-looking face and put special-effects makeup on him to make him look like a kid with Treacher Collins. That infuriated me because it sends a message to people living with Treacher Collins loud and clear: Hollywood does not deem them worthy enough to tell their own stories. Another reason why I found the casting choice infuriating was because people didn’t seem all that upset about it. Even though there are still some dumbos that think that blackface and yellowface are okay, most people with brains in their heads know that blackface and yellowface are horribly offensive and racist. Why shouldn’t characters with disabilities be held to the same standard? Furthermore, even though the kid who played Auggie did a great job with what he was given, a kid who is actually living with Treacher Collins would have been able to bring a deeper level of emotion and authenticity to the role of Auggie than a kid with a typical-looking face. So, Hollywood, the next time you have an idea for a blockbuster film about someone with a disability, please cast someone who is actually living with that disability.

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Left: A still from Wonder. Right: A kid who is actually living with Treacher Collins syndrome.
All in all, despite my major problems with it, Wonder is certainly worth seeing. While I was disappointed with the ableist casting of the movie, I enjoyed the rest of it. If Wonder interests you, I would definitely recommend seeing it.