Lemme just tell a little story to see if I can explain why movies like The Book of Life matter and how representation is not just for marking a check off a list. This is a photo I took of my dad after putting on The Book of Life to show for my two little cousins. For clarity my father has never once given more than a “meh” to animated films. He views them, but that’s about it. Then this film came out, and he decided to take my brother to go see it. He came back home ranting and raving about how great the film was, how it had the name Sanchez and how our family friends the Sanchez’s had to see it and how Carmen looked like another family friend Carmin and how she had to see the movie as well. How the abuelo in the film sang the same songs my abuelo does and how he had to see it.

He literally planned an entire night just to get my whole family to watch this film because it had him that excited. And while my Mom was talking with her friend throughout the movie she kept nudging me to look over at my father. Because even though he had seen the movie in theaters twice already he still couldn’t take his eyes away from the screen for one second and kept smiling like a giant kid. When Jorge Sanchez begins singing his opera song during the finale battle my Mom, Dad, and all my grandparents began to sing along because they knew that old song as it’s actually a famous one.”They are the Sanchez’s” was about the phrase of the night for my Dad. And when the end of the film came for La muerte’s big reveal he had to have everyone be quiet so the kids could freak out for it. 

This is why the film is important, this is why representation is important. Because my Dad hasn’t seen anyone that reminded him of our friend Carmin, or the Sanchez’s or even my own family in an Animated feature. And when he did see one he couldn’t stop smiling, and he wanted to make sure the rest of the family felt the same way, and we did. So thank you Jorge R. Gutierrez for having the courage to stand and make this film. Because it’s now sitting happily on our DVD shelf, and every once and a while my i’ll point to the dvd in front of my Dad and say “They are the Sanchez’s”.


Winners Circle | Australian Open 2015