With Halloween just around the corner, 20th Century Fox and Reel FX Creative Studios have a new animated comedy the whole family can enjoy.

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“The Book of Life” ,  directed by Jorge Gutierrez, is a children’s’ film that takes place in Mexico and revolves around the love triangle between Manolo Sanchez (Diego Luna),  Maria (Zoe Saldana), and Joaquin (Channing Tatum).Other featured voices include Ice Cube, Christina Applegate, Kate del Castillo and many more.


Thee three protagonists are best friends and all follow different paths in life, while trying to live up to their family legacies. Manolo comes from a long line of bull-fighters and struggles to appease his father when his true passion lies in music. Joaquin is essentially orphaned and does his best to uphold his father’s legacy as a fearless soldier, and the bravest man to have lived. Although the love triangle is central to the film, the plot follows Manolo’s journey the closest as he overcomes numerous obstacles for Maria.

“The Book of Life” begins and ends on La Dia de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, a mexican holiday in which families remember their loved ones who have died. Unlike other children’s films, “The Book of Life” almost seamlessly addresses the issue of death and even revolves around it. As the characters are able to transcend from the living world to the “world of the remembered”, the film transforms death into something that shouldn’t be feared, but instead accepted and discussed.

The film also addresses the role of women and female independence when Maria questions Joaquin as to whether he truly believes women are only useful to serve men. Maria is a character who can protect herself through self-defense and makes it obvious that she does not need to depend on either Joaquin or Manolo. However the film does not depict Maria’s adolescence and only focuses on Manolo and Joaquin’s which somewhat hinders the progression the film is overtly making as portraying female and male characters as equals. Nevertheless, it’s refreshing to see a female character not fall into the common damsel in distress trope and fight alongside her love interests. Overall, the film was light-hearted with a lot of laughs and is sure to bring your family closer together.

-Nishat Baig