Encanto Movie Review


Illustration courtesy of Disney press kit

Lulu Vitulo and Savannah Hayes

“Encanto”, Disney’s 60th animated feature, is a wonderfully diverse and enchanting film. Catchy songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda are already being used on platforms such as TikTok, while other people argue over their favorite characters (and there are many). The initial box office release, on Nov. 24, was somewhat low, at about $40 million on its opening weekend. Notable films like “Tangled” and “Moana” made around 70 million on their opening weekend. However, it continued to make more, reaching around $175 million. It was also released on Disney’s streaming platform, Disney+, a month later on Dec. 24.
Encanto follows Mirabel Madrigal, a young girl that does not exactly fit in with her family, and its magical gift. This magical gift grants every child in the family, once they reach a certain age, a power that they can use to help others in the town. A list of the gifts, also referenced as powers, are listed in the first song, starting with Mirabel’s Aunt Pepa who controls the weather, Uncle Bruno can see the future and Mom Julieta heals with her cooking. Mirabel’s cousin Dolores has extraordinary hearing, cousin Camilo shapeshifts and her cousin Antonio gets his gift of talking to animals in the beginning of the movie. Her sister Isabella has the power to grow plants, and sister Luisa has super strength. The movie presumably takes place in Colombia, where an unexplained ‘miracle’ has closed off an area with mountains, and created a home (called Casita) for the Madrigal family to reside. When the family’s miracle becomes in danger, she tasks herself with saving her family’s crumbling home. After finding her lost uncle, Mirabel discovers, through a vision of the future, that she is the key component to saving the Madrigal family home.
The use of a main character, who is Hispanic and notably doesn’t have any special gift or talent. Oftentimes main Disney female characters have special powers, so this is a bold move by Disney that fans seem to appreciate. Some examples of female main characters with powers include Elsa from “Frozen,” who has the power to control and create ice, Rapunzel from “Tangled” has hair that glows and heals others, and Moana has the power to control water or the ocean. So having Disney break their ongoing streak of magical female heroines is a big step in changing the normal storyline of a Disney movie. In an instagram poll conducted on the McIntosh Trail instagram account, amongst McIntosh High school students, 82% said they enjoyed watching “Encanto”, while 18% said they did not.
When asked what their feelings are about Disney’s main character having no powers silver.c._ said, “It made the character more relatable.” On a question about the diversity in Encanto, silver.c. also said “The entire movie was a gift to Colombia and should be praised for diversity,”
Jonesestrella said “I loved it! As a hispanic I thought it was great.”
In a brilliant decision, the characters in “Encanto” represent many other Hispanics, across the world. They are various shades of color, ranging from very pale to very dark, which is much more accurate than the typical Hispanic representation of only tan people with brown eyes and brown hair.
The music in the film is also true to the movie’s Colombian setting. Lin-Manuel Miranda, is an outstanding soundtrack with songs that combine salsa, bachata and even hip-hop all of which are being played on traditional folk instruments from Colombia.
Overall, “Encanto” is a beautifully animated film with a big win for representation for people of color.