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In Santa Cecilia, Mexico, Imelda Rivera was the wife of a musician who left her and their 3-year-old daughter Coco, to pursue a career in music. Ninety-six years later, her great-great-grandson, 12-year-old Miguel, now lives with Coco and their family. One day, Miguel inadvertently damages the photo of Coco with her parents at the center of the family ofrenda and removes it, discovering that her father (whose face is torn out) was holding Ernesto’s famous guitar. Taking him there, they realize that Imelda cannot visit as Miguel removed her photo from the ofrenda. Discovering that he is cursed for stealing from the dead, Miguel must return to the Land of the Living before sunrise or he will become one of the dead: to do so, he must receive a blessing from a member of his family using an Aztec marigold petal that can undo the curse placed upon him by stealing Ernesto’s guitar.Imelda offers Miguel a blessing but on the condition that he abandon his musical pursuits when he returns to the Land of the Living; Miguel refuses and attempts to seek Ernesto’s blessing. In return, Héctor asks Miguel to take his photo back to the Land of the Living so he can visit his daughter before she forgets him and he disappears completely. Héctor attempts to return Miguel to his relatives, but Miguel escapes and infiltrates Ernesto’s mansion, learning along the way that an old friendship between the two deteriorated before Héctor’s death. Miguel realizes that Héctor is his actual great-great-grandfather and that Coco is Héctor’s daughter, the only living person who still remembers him. Miguel reveals that Héctor’s decision to return home to her and Coco resulted in his death, and Imelda and Héctor reconcile.Imelda blesses Miguel with no conditions attached so he can return to the Land of the Living, where he plays a song for Coco that Héctor wrote for her during her childhood. The song sparks her memory of Héctor and revitalizes her, and she gives Miguel the torn-out piece of the photo from the ofrenda, which shows Héctor’s face. One year later, Miguel proudly presents the family ofrenda – featuring a photo of the now deceased Coco and the restored photo of Héctor and Imelda – to his new baby sister. Letters kept by Coco contain evidence that Ernesto stole Héctor’s songs. In the Land of the Dead, Héctor and Imelda join Coco for a visit to the living Riveras as Miguel sings and plays for his dead and living relatives.

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