“The Book of Life” – A cultural experience for the whole family


T he Book of Life
95 minutes
Animation/Adventure/ Comedy

Here’s the 20th Century Fox definition of the new animated film “The Book of Life.”

Manolo, a young man who is torn between fulfilling the expectations of his family and following his heart, embarks on an adventure that spans three fantastic worlds where he must face his greatest fears.

And here’s mine.


Producer Guillermo del Toro brings together three Latino friends, Manolo (Diego Luna,) Maria (Zoe Saldana,) and Joaquin (Channing Tatum,) who discover why their heritage and family tradition is revered in their community. Through three worlds – the land of the living, the land of the remembered and the land of the forgotten Manolo finds a way to face his fear. The film gives the rest of us a clearer understanding of a cultural tradition called ‘the day of the dead,’ and it provides a message and conversation about family connections, following your heart (or your gut,) facing your fears, and being true to yourself.

Maria is a terrific role model for girls. She isn’t impressed by chivalry, she doesn’t believe she needs a man to complete her, and she isn’t afraid of stand up for what she wants. Her two boy buddies since youth take a little longer to get there. While Manolo comes from a long line of bullfighters he isn’t interested and believes his way out of just about everything is to sing and play music. In Joaquin’s family every man has been a soldier so he believes it’s all about being stud and is obsessed with his medals. All three have a lot to learn.

The spirits from the afterlife – La Muerte from the land of the remembered and Xibalba from the land of the forgotten make a bet over which of the two boys will win Maria’s heart.

The very unique – almost puppetry like animation, along with occasional pop tunes, and humorous characters keeps the audience entertained. There seemed to be some cultural And the cast is impressive: besides those already mentioned, Ron Perlman, Christina Applegate, Ice Cube and Kate del Castillo are noticed.

This is a great family film, not only for the Latino community but for any parent who wants their child to learn about other cultures, develop character, examine their own family traditions and connections all while teaching their kids to follow their heart, face their fears, and be true to yourself.

Arruga! – 0
Fidget Factor – 1
Age Range – 7 and up
Overall Grade – C+

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