Disney’s Encanto is a vibrant, joyous, music-filled celebration of family that hits most of the right notes.
The Madrigal’s are a Colombian family living under the same roof of a magical Casita (house), led by the family matriarch Abuela Alma (María Cecilia Botero). The home has also imbued each family member with a special gift, including super strength, healing powers, and controlling the weather. One of the granddaughters, the humble Mirabel (Stephanie Beatriz), is the only one without a magical power, as she embarks on a journey of self-discovery while trying to find her place in the family and uncovering its secrets in the process.
Encanto is full of heart and full of charm. The Madrigal family members are relatable, featuring personalities you can find in many actual families, making them easier to warm to. Mirabel is an especially typical teenager, going through the feelings and emotions that most teens go through at that point in their lives, trying to figure out where they belong. The combination of uniquely identifiable characters and the warm family dynamic makes this film perfect for family group viewings.
One of the top highlights of Encanto is its music, composed and written by movie-music maestro Lin-Manuel Miranda. The songs are a bit hit and miss in terms of catchiness, though they’re all expertly crafted with lyrics that push the narrative along without being overly tacky. Furthermore, there’s a good balance between music, humour and story, which should please those that aren’t too fond of musicals.
The film is gorgeous to look at, with Disney at its best in terms of production value for an animated movie. That’s to be expected these days, but the ultimate selling point is its heart. Many of Disney’s animated films have themes that revolve around family, but none have captured the essence of what it is to be part of a loving, extended family like this one has, covering the highs and lows that come with it. Whether you come from a big family or not, the themes are resonant, and the journey fun, making Encanto a film that’s impossible not to like with something in it for everyone.
The word encanto comes from Spanish and means charm, spell, or enchantment. It is both used as a way to tell a magic incantation and as an adjective for “sweetheart.”