Disney’s 60th animated feature, Encanto, was released in late November after much anticipation.
Set in rural Colombia, the plot follows 15 year old Mirabel Madrigal (Stephanie Beatriz) and her family members who possess a variety of special powers. Feeling like an outsider in her own family, Mirabel struggles with being the only one who doesn’t have a magical talent. When the family’s enchanted candle begins to dim, Mirabel must find a way to bring her family together, protect their home and save her family’s powers from disappearing.
This film covers themes of generational trauma, conflict between siblings and the impact of heavy family expectations. The story carries surprising depth, considering its suitability for all age groups, and the characters are incredibly relatable.
The representation of a large family with many siblings is a welcome change to Disney’s typical family unit, and the inclusion of a bespectacled, curly-haired heroine provides another brilliant and inclusive role model for young Disney fans.
It wouldn’t be a Disney movie without a terrific soundtrack, and Encanto does not disappoint! The music, much of which was composed by Lin-Manuel Miranda, varies from heartwarming to exciting and is ideal for the Colombian setting of the film. The lyrics add to the plot effectively, helping to move the story along at a pace that doesn’t allow viewers to lose interest.
Namely, the song ‘We Don’t Talk About Bruno’ is one of the movie’s catchiest tunes. It features Lin-Manuel Miranda’s iconic layering technique and requires a few listens in order to truly appreciate all of the small details included. This song went viral on TikTok, as well as the song ‘Surface Pressure’ , performed by Jessica Darrow who plays Mirabel’s older sister. Among all of the great songs in the movie, these two particularly stand out.
The quality of the animation is outstanding, which is not surprising considering it’s a Disney production. The fluidity of the scenes is something to admire; particularly those involving Isabela (Diane Guerrero), Mirabel’s oldest sister whose power involves commanding the growth of flowers and other plants. The vibrant colours, busy scenes and symbolism throughout are sure to catch the attention and imagination of any viewer.
Personally, I enjoyed this film very much. My critiques are limited, although I found some of the voice acting to be awkward. I also felt that a few of the plot points were lazily written, and seemed as though they’d been put into the movie without much thought as to how they could be wrapped up in a way that’s satisfying for the audience. Despite these small flaws, I do believe that this movie is perfect for a younger audience.
The biggest take-away from this movie is that what you have and what you can do isn’t your most important quality, it’s who you are as a person.
Encanto is due to be released on Disney+ on the 24th of December. It’s the perfect family-friendly film for this holiday season.
Featured Image Credit: IMG Entertainment