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My Abuelita? She's Mamá Coco's daughter.
―Miguel, introducing his grandmother in the opening narration[src]

Elena Rivera, though addressed by almost eveyone as Abuelita, is a supporting character from the 2017 Disney/Pixar film, Coco. She is Miguel's grandmother, and acts as a protective, if sometimes vitriolic, parental figure to him.

Background

Abuelita runs our house just like Mamá Imelda did.
―Miguel, opening narration[src]

Official Description

Abuelita is Miguel's grandmother and the ultimate enforcer of the Rivera family's ban on music. She loves her family very much and will do anything to protect them. But when she gets angry, she wields a mean slipper.[2]

Role in the film

Abuelita first appears during the opening narration, remarking on how thin her grandson is and insistently plying him with more tamales. Miguel remarks that she runs the household exactly like her late grandmother Imelda, particularly the music ban to extreme degrees as she snatches a bottle he was playfully making music with and slams a window shut as a Pizza Planet truck goes past playing music. This isn't even limited to her family, as shown when she suddenly bursts out of the courtyard and screams "No music!" at three passing musicians, scaring the life out of them.

While getting supplies with her son Berto and her granddaughter Rosa at the plaza, Abuelita catches Miguel being offered to play a mariachi's guitar. Abuelita threatens the mariachi with her slipper and scares him away. Abuelita drags Miguel back home (while shooing away Dante by lobbing her slipper at him, which she then has Miguel go fetch), where she informs Miguel's parents of his transgression. Abuelita takes him to the family's ofrenda where her mother Mamá Coco is. Hoping to dissuade Miguel from the talent show, Abuelita enlightens Miguel the importance of their family on Día de los Muertos. When Miguel brings up Coco's father, Coco suddenly gets upset, so Abuelita comforts her mother; however, Coco is unable to recognize Abuelita to her visible sorrow. Miguel runs off while this happens which frustrates Abuelita. Looking at the picture of her grandmother Imelda for inspiration, Abuelita decides it is finally time to bring Miguel into the family business.

At sunset, Abuelita declares the official beginning of Día de los Muertos and the family prepares for the celebration. She, among the rest of the family, witness Miguel announcing that he has discovered his great-great-grandfather (believed to be Ernesto de la Cruz) and aspires to become a musician like him. Uncovering Miguel's secret stash of music memorabilia causes Abuelita to fear Miguel will abandon his family if he chooses this path. Abuelita pressures her grandson to pick a side; their lack of support causes Miguel to angrily deride his family's traditions, shocking Abuelita. Believing the guitar to be responsible for this attitude, Abuelita destroys it by smashing it against the ground despite the protests of Miguel and even the rest of the family. Abuelita then tries to comfort Miguel, but Miguel, completely broken, shouts that he doesn't want to be part of the family and runs off, where the family spend the entire night looking frantically for him.

The next morning, Miguel returns to the Rivera residence. Abuelita catches him with a guitar in hand, but Miguel darts into Coco's room before she can confiscate it. Abuelita and the rest of the family unlock the door to find Miguel with a catatonic Coco. Pushing Miguel aside, Abuelita comforts her mother trying to get her to respond to no avail. She tells Miguel to apologize to Coco, not even understanding that he was trying to help her. Utterly despondent at having failed to help her, Miguel moves up to Coco and plays her a song her father wanted her to hear one more time. Abuelita attempts to stop him but is held back by Enrique, who urges her to let Miguel play as a way to cope. As the family watches Miguel perform "Remember Me" with Coco, Abuelita is surprised and moved to tears when the song restores Coco's lucidity and her mother recognises her. When Coco asks what is wrong, Abuelita tearfully responds that nothing is. Miguel's song inspires Mamá Coco to reveal her father's identity as Héctor, with Abuelita listening with joy as her mother begins to tell her stories and the family decides to lift the ban on music.

One year later, on Día de los Muertos, Abuelita stops by the ofrenda to put up a picture of Mamá Coco (who passed away some time before) and embraces Miguel with his newborn sister Socorro. While setting up the festivities, she greets Dante with a treat for him, having apparently warmed up to him. Abuelita then cheers as her three oldest granchildren perform a song for their living and dead family as the spirit of her mother watches next to her.

Trivia

  • Abuelita's habit of using her footwear as a weapon is a trait she inherited from her late grandmother. In real life, this is a common practice among Mexican matriarchs.
  • In the novelization, Abuelita states she and Franco fell in love after she made him shoes he never got blisters. Her former hatred of music was not only because of Imelda's legacy, but likely because of when her mother had a dancing accident which hurt her badly, terrifying her and her older sister Victoria (whom she outlived).

Gallery

References


v - e - d
Coco logo
Media
CocoSoundtrackLittle Golden BookThe Art of Coco
Disney Parks
Entertainment: A Musical Celebration of Coco

Restaurants: Fuente del Oro RestauranteMiguel's El Dorado Cantina
Fireworks: Together Forever: A Pixar Nighttime Spectacular
Halloween: Goofy's Skeletoons Street Party

Characters
Miguel RiveraHéctorDanteErnesto de la CruzAbuelitaMamá CocoImeldaEnrique RiveraLuisa RiveraChicharrónPepitaFrida Kahlo
Locations
Santa Cecilia, MexicoLand of the Dead
Objects
Héctor's Guitar
Songs
Remember MeMuch Needed AdviceEveryone Knows JuanitaUn Poco LocoThe World Es Mi FamiliaLa LloronaProud Corazón
See Also
The Riveras

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