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The Subtle Foreshadowing You Never Noticed In Disney-Pixar's Coco

In 2017, Disney came out with a new film from Pixar called Coco. This movie, one of their most diverse and unique yet, follows a 12-year-old boy named Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez) as he goes against his family's long-term ban on music in order to enter a talent show on Día de los Muertos. After finding a family portrait of his great-great-grandmother and her daughter, he accidentally reveals a long-hidden part of the photo, which shows a legendary guitar in the hands of his great-great-grandfather, who the family never talks about. The guitar belonged to the late Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt), a popular musician who happens to be Miguel's idol.

Miguel gets an unexpected chance to find de la Cruz, who he now believes is his great-great grandfather, when he accidentally ends up in the Land of the Dead and needs a familial blessing to return before sunrise. As with any Pixar film, Miguel's journey isn't without its obstacles, and everything is not as it seems. By the end of his adventure, Miguel discovers de la Cruz is not his great-great-grandfather. In fact, de la Cruz murdered his real relative, Hector (Gael García Bernal), and took credit for his music. Luckily, everything comes together for Miguel and his family, and he is able to finally pursue music with their support.

While Coco revolves around the mystery of Miguel's great-great-grandfather, one fan of the film brought up a subtle yet supremely important detail that foreshadows the real identity of de la Cruz.

Ernesto de la Cruz's mariachi outfit reveals his real identity

As pointed out by Reddit user Numerous-Lemon, the foreshadowing lies in one key detail: The belt buckle seen in the family portrait is not the one worn by Ernesto, thus indicating the truth. Another user, faceless_combatant, supported this detail by referencing their own parents, who are mariachis. According to them, "You know you're a 'legit' mariachi if you have your own custom belt buckle. So it definitely is significant that they're different, as they would naturally have had different custom buckles from each other." This little detail can be seen at the beginning of Coco, and essentially reveals the truth of the story, but only viewers who are familiar with this aspect of mariachi culture (and who also pay close attention) would spot this and understand its significance. 

The detail of Ernesto and Hector's different belt buckles showcases just how much research and effort went into making Coco accurate to Mexican culture, which is one of the many reasons the Academy Award-winning animated film is so critically-acclaimed and loved by fans. Coco earned rave reviews, becoming one of the highest-rated Pixar films, only behind a handful of classics like Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and Up. Many critics particularly appreciated Coco as an original and profound movie that goes deep into ideas of death and the afterlife, while still making it bright, enjoyable, and accessible to a young audience. Even now, three years after Coco's release, fans are still gathering to discuss the film and acknowledge the creators' effort and attention to detail.