** (out of 4)
Almost every single Pixar movie features some version of what I like to call a “sentimental family scene” – namely, a scene in which the characters either fondly reminisce of good times gone by (Toy Story 2, Cars, Up, Inside Out) or engage in an extremely emotional reunion or parting (Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, WALL-E, Toy Story 3, Brave, The Good Dinosaur, Finding Dory). Once upon a time, these moments came on the heels of well-developed stories, and they consequently felt like genuine tributes to the importance of love and companionship. But as the quality of the Pixar brand has declined in recent years, these scenes have gradually grown more repetitive, heavy-handed, and forced. With Toy Story 3, Inside Out, The Good Dinosaur, and Finding Dory, it got to the point where these would-be heartfelt moments simply came off as formulaic, manipulative attempts to make audiences cry.
Without going into spoilers, one can safely say that Pixar’s latest movie, Coco, plays host to multiple sentimental family scenes.