The Book of Life (2014)


Animation | Romance


Jorge R. Gutierrez



Voice Cast

Diego Luna, Zoe Saldana, Channing Tatum, Christina Applegate, Ice Cube, Ron Perlman, Kate del Castillo, Hector Elizondo, Danny Trejo, Carlos Alazraqui, Ana de la Reguera, Plácido Domingo, Jorge R. Gutierrez, Eugenio Derbez, Gabriel Iglesias, Anjelah Johnson, Sandra Equihua, Dan Navarro, Michael Sandoval, Grey DeLisle, Guillermo del Toro


Manolo (Diego Luna), a young man who is torn between fulfilling the expectations of his family and following his heart, embarks on an adventure that spans three fantastic worlds where he must face his greatest fears.


I am not Mexican, but I learned about their culture during Spanish class, and I immediately had a thing for el día de muertos (Day of the Dead), a day where people gather to pray for and remember their loved ones who have died. We have something similiar in Italy too, but it's lifeless, less colorful and a way more depressing kind of day. Calm down, I'm getting there, this was just to let you know how much I love this Mexican holiday.

Having said that, I can happily say that "The Book of Life" is a refreshing, visually stunning, and captivating animated tale that manages to capture the beauty of the Mexican folklore.

Under the wing of Guillermo del Toro, Jorge R. Gutierrez tells us a fantastic tale that centers on the typical complications of a love triangle, but unlike many other times, the film provides a backstory on each character and the individual struggles they each have to face. Then it adds a wager between two spirits; La Muerte, the ruler of the Land of the Remembered, and Xibalba, the ruler of the Land of the Forgotten. The result is a romance that is emotional, and more realistic than the majority of the dramas or rom-coms we get these days.

To join the interesting story, there is the aesthetic of the film. Like I kinda mentioned before, el día de muertos is a feast for the eyes. Remembering the dead doesn't indeed mean grieving, but celebrating them with dances, banquets, carnival-like costumes and a lot of candles lighting the way. And del Toro gives us exactly what one would have expected from him. Not only the characters are wonderful, and the colours vibrant, but the backgrounds are extraordinarily captivating as well.

Another wonderful feature of the film is the musical score and soundtrack. The first has been written by Argentine composer Gustavo Santaolalla, a two times Academy Award winner, and the second features famous pop songs, sung in a Mexican style that are a delight for the ears.

As for the voice cast, Diego Luna's singing is so beautiful he would make a Justin Bieber song sounds great. Zoe Saldana was the perfect cast for Maria; her voice is suave and full of passion, and who better than her could have voiced a woman that shows everyone girls don't need men to save them. Among the others, Ron Perlman as Xibalba, and Ice Cube as the Candle Maker give great performances.


  1. I've heard about this movie but the character design seemed a little strange to me so I decided not to watch it. Now I guess I should :D

    1. I've been avoiding it for the past months for the same reason.

  2. E' stata una piacevole sorpresa.
    Peccato che in Italia è durato un paio di giorni di pubblicazione...

    1. In Italia gli unici film che si riescono a vedere di sicuro sono i blockbusters hollywoodiani perché purtroppo sono questi i film che piacciono alla maggior parte degli italiani.

  3. I haven't heard of this film and it really sounds interesting. Another one marked down

  4. This is a really good, and sadly overlooked film. Glad you enjoyed it.

    1. I think it's because of the way it looks.