Disney’s Newest Animated Movie Provides a Whimsical, yet Realistic Story About Family
By: Samantha Bravo
The movie is directed by Byron Howard and Jared Bush, who also directed Zootopia. The music is written by Lin Manuel Miranda who combines the songs of the film with salsa, bachata and hip-hop.
Although the movie is not yet available on Disney+, it will be streaming on December 24th.
The film tells the story of a family called the Madrigals who were granted magical powers from controlling the weather, to enhanced hearing, to communicating with animals. Each of their powers were granted to the family members by their sentient Casita, located in a secluded village in Colombia, when they came of age.
They all look up to their family matriarch Abuela Alma (María Cecilia Botero) who encourages the family to use their magical abilities to help their community. She is also the holder of a magical candle which she received when she lost her husband while fleeing from their previous village.
As the magical candle burned, the mountains rose, creating the Casita and a new village, where she raised her infant triplets ever since.
The only Madrigal who wasn’t blessed with a magical ability was the movie’s protagonist, Mirabel (Staphanie Beatriz) who has a strained relationship with her family, particularly her Abuela and “effortlessly perfect” older sister, Isabela (Diane Guerrero).
On the night of her younger cousin, Antonio’s (Ravi-Cabot Conyers) gift ceremony, Mirabel finds cracks within the walls of the Casita and each of the family members’ gifts slowly start to disappear. So, it’s up to Mirabel to find the source of the problem and see how it can be fixed.
One of the most interesting components to the story is that Mirabel doesn’t go into a long journey to an unknown land or fight a notorious villain. Instead, Mirabel spends much of the movie in the Casita fixing the conflicts within her family to keep the magic from dying.
The three notable examples come from Isabella and Mirabel’s second oldest sister, Luisa (Jessica Darrow) and their Tío Bruno (John Leguizamo).
Luisa, who was blessed with the power of superstrength overworks herself for the sake of feeling useful and becomes emotionally distraught when she begins to lose her power. She also carries all the burdens in the family and was never given the chance to express her vulnerabilities.
At first, Isabela who grows flowers wherever she walks may seem selfish, spoiled, and entitled due to her attitude towards Mirabel and due to her habit of boasting about her perfection. However, towards the end of the movie, it is revealed that she is pressured to be the perfect golden child and tries to meet her family’s high expectations, so much so that she agrees to marry someone she didn’t love.
Mirabel’s Tio Bruno was shunned by his hometown and most of the Madrigals because they believed that his ability to see the future made him the bad omen; this was believed because his prophecies resulted in negative outcomes. Everyone believed that he mysteriously disappeared, when actually he’s been living in the walls of the Casita to watch over his family.
Besides its stellar animation, catchy songs, and unique storytelling, the main highlight of the movie is it’s wonderful representation of Latino culture.
To start off, each member of the family has different skin tones and hair textures, ranging from lightly tanned skin with curly brown hair to dark skin and scraggly black hair. There are also several aspects like the village and the food Mirabel’s mother, Julieta (Angie Cepeda) makes to heal the sick and injured, that highlight Latino culture.
Overall, “Encanto” provides a realistic take on family paired with its fantastical elements and rich Latino culture.