The Book of Life: Life After Death has never looked so Bright

Guillermo del Toro has always had a knack for beautifully framing the otherwise horrific. So it should come as no surprise that his first animation film, The Book of Life, is a lush and gaudy celebration of the Dead. If you love animation films, this beautiful tale of love, friendship and family is a must-see.

What’s it about? On the Day of the Dead, La Muerte, ruler of the Land of the Remembered, and Xibalba, ruler of the Land of the Forgotten, set a wager for their own worlds after seeing childhood friends Manolo and Joaquín competing over a beautiful young woman.

What’s it really about? Being empathetic and compassionate is a strength, not a weakness.

Pick if:

  • You’re looking for a film to watch with the entire family
  • You love bright borderline offensive, colours
  • You’re interested in other cultures and traditions: The Book of Life spotlights the Mexican holiday “Dia de los Muertos” (The Day of the Dead, which is November 1st), a joyful celebration of the dead. Find out more about the day and its festivities on
  • You’re a fan of animated movies
The Netherworld has never looked so fun
  • You appreciate films that have a unique visual style: drawing inspiration from the traditional costumes and face-paint of the Dia de los Muertos celebration, The Book of Life is beautifully designed and framed. It makes you wish you could step through your screen and into Manolo’s world
  • You liked the bickering ancestors in Mulan: while in the Underworld, Manolo is reunited with his dead relatives who start meddling in his affairs
  • You like feisty female characters: Saldana’s Maria is a cute ball of fierceness

Most memorable scene: After his mother has passed away, young Manolo sits by her grave on the Dia de los Muertos, hoping that she will appear. As his father explains to the child that just because he can’t see her ,doesn’t mean she’s not there with him in spirit, you see ghosts all over the cemetery sitting with their families.

Most memorable quote:

“Kids these days, with their long hair and not killing stuff…” – Grandma Sanchez

Magic Music Moment: Instead of fighting the bull and killing him, Manolo delivers an apology to the bull in song.


Where can I watch? The Book of Life is available for streaming on Amazon, Maxdome, iTunes as well as Sky Go.

The Book of Life (2014): Produced by Guillermo del Toro (Dir. Pan’s Labyrinth); running-time 1h 35mins.; with voices by Zoe Saldana, Diego Luna, Channing Tatum and Ice Cube.


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