Movie Review: Encanto

Sarah Pine

Disney’s Encanto, released in November of 2021, features the music of famous songwriter and playwright Lin Manuel Miranda to tell the story of the magical Madrigal family in the mountains of Colombia. The musical’s plot centers around Mirabel, voiced by Stephanie Beatriz, who is one of the granddaughters of the great Madrigal family, but does not possess the same magic that makes the Madrigal family so extraordinary. Every child born to the Madrigals has a special power– cleverly explained through the movie’s opening song “The Family Madrigal,” but Mirabel quickly learns that those powers are in danger after discovering the devastated prophecy of her Uncle Bruno, who is ostracized from the family due to his negative foresight of the future. After discovering his prophecy, Mirabel finds out that she is the key to restoring her family’s magic, taking her on an arduous journey. Encanto explores family relationships and expectations, as well as Colombian culture with bright animations, catchy music, and a beautiful story of struggle and eventual resolution. 

From the musical’s opening song, I was hooked. Originally, I was interested in watching the movie to hear Stephanie Beatriz in a bubbly, friendly role compared to her well-known role as Rosa Diaz in Brooklyn Nine-Nine. I stayed, however, for the enticing storyline and extremely catchy music. This musical made me laugh, smile, and (more embarrassingly) cry. Miranda’s soundtrack is very well done, and every song does a great job of not only being catchy, but also depicting latino culture through the role of family. Every character adds something different to the musical, and all depict different aspects of Colombian, and latino, culture. For instance, the story of Alma, the grandmother of the Madrigal family, and her husband escaping armed conflict in their village, leading to the death of her husband. This is what gives Alma the powers of the Madrigal family, also bringing forth the importance of familial expectations and maintaining the family’s image. The movie also highlights other aspects of Colombian culture, like the delicious queso arepas that Julieta makes. 

Encanto is a great musical, and does a great job of combining the typical magic of Disney films with a realistic depiction of latino culture. If you haven’t already seen it, I would highly recommend watching it, but I will warn you that you won’t be able to get “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” out of your head for a solid week afterwards.