Script Analysis: “Coco” — Part 4: Themes

Read the script for the hit Pixar movie and analyze it all this week.

Reading scripts. Absolutely critical to learn the craft of screenwriting. The focus of this bi-weekly series is a deep structural and thematic analysis of each script we read. Our daily schedule:

Monday: Scene-By-Scene Breakdown
Tuesday: Plot
Wednesday: Characters
Thursday: Themes
Friday: Dialogue
Saturday: Takeaways

Today: Themes.

I have this theory about theme. In two parts. First, a principle: Theme = Meaning. What does the story mean? Second, while there is almost always a Central Theme, there are multiple other Sub-Themes at play in a story. Therefore the question, What does a story mean takes on several layers of meaning?

Time to ponder themes in Coco. You may download a PDF of the script — free and legal — here.

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Screenplay by Adrian Molina & Matthew Aldrich, original story by Lee Unkrich & Jason Katz & Matthew Aldrich & Adrian Molina

IMDb plot summary: Aspiring musician Miguel, confronted with his family’s ancestral ban on music, enters the Land of the Dead to find his great-great-grandfather, a legendary singer.

Writing Exercise: Explore the themes in Coco. What is its Central Theme? What are some of the related Sub-Themes?

Major kudos to Caliann Lum for doing this week’s scene-by-scene breakdown.

To download a PDF of the breakdown for Coco, go here.

For Part 1, to read the Scene-By-Scene Breakdown discussion, go here.

For Part 2, to read the Major Plot Points discussion, go here.

For Part 3, to read Characters discussion, go here.

To access 60+ analyses of previous movie scripts we have read and discussed at Go Into The Story, go here.

I hope to see you in the RESPONSE section about this week’s script: Coco.

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