Eppler: Two movies about family among the year's best

Eppler: Two movies about family among the year's best

Two of the best movies in Lubbock theaters right now are also among the best of the year. And it turns out they have a lot in common: they are both movies about family and identity. 

"Lady Bird" could not have come along at a better time - a story about women told from the female perspective at a time when most stories involving women coming out of Hollywood are about their victimization and things being taken from them (think Louie CK and Harvey Weinstein allegations). 

So here comes a little movie about a teenage girl, played by an impeccable Saoirse Ronan, on the brink of adulthood and trying to claim what's hers - a sense of who she is.The movie follows Lady Bird through her senior year as she works to decide the next step.

The heartbeat of the story is her tender and tumultuous relationship with her mother, played by Laurie Metcalf, who should win an Oscar. Despite their differences, the two women are more alike than either would care to admit.

The movie is written and directed by actress Greta Gerwig, and it feels like it comes from a personal place with even minor characters given depth. It's an often charming, heartbreaking look at growing up. 

"Coco" is an instant classic for the Disney and Pixar partnership - as beautiful and moving as anything they've made since "WALL-E" ten years ago. 

This is a movie about Mexican culture, heritage and family traditions as a boy named Miguel wants to learn why his family wont allow him to pursue his music. On El Dia De Los Muertos, he magically travels to the Land of the Dead where he learns there is music in his ancestry.

This magical world is breathtakingly realized with some of the most gorgeous animation I've ever seen. Even though this is a movie dealing with death, it does so with gentleness and warmth. The story is captivating with some genuine surprises, and the Mexican culture and folklore honored rather than exploited.

"Coco" is a wonderful picture and a testament to the power of animated storytelling.

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