Pixar's Coco: Storyform Analysis

A post was split to a new topic: A look at Pixar films and Dramatica

I’d say the first one. Miguel seems to always focus on what has happened in the past, and not just the justifications created by the family history (which he narrates at the beginning). He looks up for an historical figure - Ernesto De La Cruz - to fuel his passion / drive to play music, which is at odds with the traditions in his family and sets him apart from the rest : he aims to follow in his footsteps by following his dream, just like De La Cruz (and Hector) did decades ago. A mean to repeat the past that puts him in constant struggles with his surroundings, making him eventually push his family away (“I hate being part of this family”, “I don’t want to be remembered”, etc.) That, and his whole quest is built around the false premise that De La Cruz really is related to him because his true great-great-grandfather has been erased from the family’s history. And later in the movie, him realizing that Hector really is his ancestor and that De La Cruz poisoned him for glory (we and the characters understand what has truly happened) leads Miguel into even more troubles as he is thrown into a cavity. But in the end, he’s the only one who is able to shed the lights on De La Cruz and set history right.

Again, I believe this ending to be more a matter of a Changed MC (Memory) than a Steadfast MC (Past), considering that the ending isn’t just re-evaluating what has happened, but remembering someone for who he truly is (having Coco remember her dad, Hector being remembered as the true composer of the songs, etc.) In any case, Memory plays an important part in the movie so I believe it to fit somewhere in the Concerns.

Not sure I could argue this all around, but doesn’t he have problems like not being able to play music at home so he can only talk about while shining shoes or he has to hide his music stuff, and he wants to join the talent show but he doesn’t have a guitar, and then he gets cursed and has the blessing of his family to return but it’s a problem because it’s not the right blessing, and he’s cursed, like, right now?

This would be my guess:

Miguel MC of Universe/Present - he can’t play his guitar because it will upset Grandma
Hector IC of Mind/Conscious - no one thinks of me, I don’t think much of myself
familial RS of Psychology/Conceiving - importance of music/familial connection
land of the dead OS of Physics/Learning - finding out how much grandma Coco loved her father’s music

I feel like these propel the narrative forward through inequity moreso than the Past/Memory combination. Those seem more like Benchmarks to me, which is an interesting thing to me–especially since we often confuse the two. I wonder if the Benchmark is a good way of measuring the subjective concerns of the characters in that Throughline.

I like Learning because if you look at the dead, they’re all in conflict when it comes time to find out whether or not your family has forgotten you - the crossing over/border patrol scenes.


I wasn’t sure how to explain RS, but the rest is pretty much what I was thinking. I was a little iffy on saying Héctor had problems from Conscious until I put on Edge of Tomorrow again last night. I looked at the storyform and saw that Tom Cruise’s character was Mind/Conscious and one of the first scenes was of him basically being like “you want me to consider going into battle? No way, won’t do it,” and then getting arrested. That looked very similar (if a bit reversed) to Hectors first scene where he’s like “Please consider letting me cross the bridge? No? I’ll just go anyway.” Then he runs through the gate and gets arrested.


Interesting. I’m glad you weren’t going for the Future block because that didn’t seem right to me!

Thinking about what is beneath those terms… the thing about Hector wanting to be remembered is that he doesn’t want to be a memory, he wants to be thought of right now.

Also, Work/Attempt really sums up what we’ve been saying about Miguel.


I started there, but then I made a choice somewhere else that forced Attract/Repel. I was thinking of Work/Attempt as something like working to play music and attempting to be a musician. But Attract/Repel is about his attraction to all things music (Ernesto De La Cruz, the marketplace or whatever with the Mariachi, the talent show, his grandfathers guitar, a family member that will bless him without forbidding he play music) and Repel would be his grandmother pushing him away from music and saying “you don’t want to end up like him”.

Yeah, I wasn’t really advocating for it. As I was typing it up, the gnome on my shoulder was saying, “Hey – it’s not a subject chart.”

Gotcha. Didn’t mean to imply that you were. Just using it as a springboard to the next level. I like Attract/Repel over Work/Attempt for Miguel and I’ll have to get back in front of my laptop at lunch, but I think I had Precinditions/Requirements for OS.
(Edit: it may not be time to go to the next level if others have questions about the Concerns. I’m not usually too confident in my analyzing abilities, and got excited that I feel like I know what’s going on in this one…at least for the Domains and Concerns)

I’m afraid as Monday has kicked in, I may be scarce for the week.

Shoot. Guess that means All of us are dealing with Issues of Preconditions then, huh?

I really love the MC quad of issues. That attract/repel feels really strong. It reminds me a little of Remy in Ratatouille, being drawn to a life that’s determined to be ‘off-limits’ to him.

May I ask what the goal would be for a concern of Learning? The lower-right was pretty much the one set of concerns that I didn’t consider (go figure!), so my brain isn’t quite caught up yet.


Learning that Grandma Coco Actually Loves Her Dad’s Music. Learning Goals always tend to be something that is “learned” by the end of the story - the learning process is what is in conflict here, so it’s really not something they outright say, like “I want to learn such and such”

But you can definitely see how Secret Bad Guy™️ didn’t want anyone to LEARN what he had done (Prevent/Reconsider)


Ah, okay. So it’s more of an unstated goal as opposed to, say, Spotlight’s “learning the truth about the Catholic Church”. Got it.

I was thinking of the Goal as something like “learning how to get everyone across the bridge”. That’s not stated either, but Mama Imelda and Hector both get to cross the bridge once everyone learns that Coco likes papa’s music, and Miguel gets to play music after that, too. The Goal as Jim states it works much better because it ties the OS to the MC.

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Not a lot going on in this thread anymore, so I’m just going to throw this out there. I had Miguel as Proaction. When he talks to the mariachi and takes the guitar to play, he gets in trouble. When he takes his grandfathers guitar he gets cursed. When he plays for Coco, he solves the problem. I had Acceptance and Non-Acceptance as symptom and response, though I’m not at my laptop and don’t remember which was which. Finding it hard to remember specific events to back it up with as well. I think that put the OS Problem on Evaluation. Miguel’s evaluation of Mama Imelda’s blessing leads to his refusal of the blessing. The families evaluation of why Héctor didn’t return led to him being removed from the ofrenda.
@jhull, what did you have?


:blush: :thumbsup:


There is no emoji that can fully express how excited I am right now!


Wow. Very cool! :tada:
Can you explain the strategy as his critical flaw? Does that play in anywhere? Possibly when he’s trying to get into the party his strategy is to do the contest but he gets discovered by hector about who he truly is. Only thing that comes to mind. If you can go further into detail how it plays with a steadfast MC that would be great.

I’m excited for you! It’s like that moment in My Fair Lady where Eliza just absolutely nails it. Great job, Greg!

This storyform is not one I’d have gone for at all, but it’s also worth noting that it’s been a while since I’ve seen it (because Disney released it late in the UK for some reason), so when I revisit it, hopefully it’ll make more sense.