New animation captures the hardship and loss immigrant families often face
By Peri Kahn
A new release on Disney Plus, "Encanto" is a high-quality family animated film that pulls on the heart strings. It centers around the Madrigal family, an enchanted group who was given a life saving gift after experiencing a life changing family tragedy.
Modeled after the times of the Thousand Days War, a Columbian civil conflict fought by two opposing political parties, Encanto begins with Alma, Abuela, and Pedro, Abuelo escaping their town that has been invaded by enemy soldiers. Trying to find their way to safety, they are caught, and Abula’s life changes forever--for the good and the bad. Although grateful for her blessings, Abuela doesn’t know what the future will hold for her and her three babies with this gift. The film later focuses on the life of Mirabel, one of six Madrigal grandchildren, and how her uniqueness is meant to help her family, not hurt it. She goes on a crazy adventure, which, in the end, culminated to an important realization.
The cast is excellent. Although they are not well known, they were well chosen. Some of the main cast members are Stephanie Beatriz as Mirabel and María Cecilia Botero as Abuela. Being an animated movie the voices are key. Each character’s voice complements their personality perfectly, creating a cohesive and well rounded film. All of the actors did a great job using their voices to match the emotions depicted throughout the movie. You almost feel like you are apart of the Madrigal family because you get to know the characters so well.
Overall the movie was great. Animated movies tend to be shorter films because their target audience is little kids, however "Encanto" was a decent length at one hour and 49 minutes. The film is filled with motifs, symbols, and inferences, allowing you to fill in gaps in the plot and use your imagination. It has one of those "OHHH" endings, where all the symbols and metaphors fit together like a puzzle, which really allows you to feel apart of the characters’ journeys.
Apart from being an entertaining piece of art, "Encanto" is a film filled with life lessons. It displays the value of uniqueness through the protagonist Mirabel. She was born different from the other members of her family, so she, and her family, have to learn why she was born that way and how her differences are beneficial not a burden. This teaches everyone to love who they are no matter how different they might be from “normal”. The movie also teaches how to deal with standards, especially those held by parents and grandparents. The film explains how it is okay to not be perfect and that it is good to make mistakes sometimes because without them, we wouldn’t learn.
Although it is an animated movie, this movie is not just for little kids. "Encanto" is a movie that can relate to lives of many adults in America. With America being a melting pot of cultures and backgrounds, many people who come from Hispanic families can relate to the themes in the movie, no matter the age.
Furthermore, this movie is relatable and relevant in current culture because large entertainment companies, like Disney, are striving to create movies that demonstrate inclusion based on ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and religion. This is not the first time Disney has displayed diversity in their character choices, however it is nice knowing they will continue to represent different cultures in their films.
An added bonus was the amazing soundtrack featured in the movie. Written by the brilliant Lin Manuel Miranda, the composer for Hamilton and In The Heights, put together an amazing score for Encanto. The film features many songs, some being rap others being traditional musical numbers, that seriously get your foot tapping.