Reviews

Movie Title: Encanto
Director: Jared Bush, Byron Howard, Charise Castro Smith
Cast: Stephanie Beatriz, María Cecilia Botero, John Leguizamo
Run Time: 102 mins
Year: 2021
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Disney's 'Encanto' is a fun, classic animated musical that focuses on the Madrigals, a family spanning three generations, with each member holding their own magical gift which they use to help and serve the community around them. Every single member of the family has a gift, except for the protagonist Mirabel. When the family's powers begin to be thrown into chaos, causing some of them to lose their powers, Mirabel takes it upon herself to fix the magic.

The movie, while certainly suitable for younger audiences, delves into a great deal of heavy themes and topics such as generational trauma, familial expectations and loss. These themes however help push forward the movie's main narrative of acceptance and empathy within families.

With that in mind, kids are sure to find plenty of great role models in the characters of the film, especially the protagonist Mirabel (played by Stephanie Beatriz) who is a brave and selfless character that wants to do everything she can to help her family despite her lack of powers. Even the family as a whole are a great demonstration of kind and helpful role models who care a great deal about their community.

The movie is set in mid-20th century Colombia in a fictional mountain town. The setting and cultural background of the film informs many of the musical flares and stylistic choices of the movie, proving to be a fantastic Colombian representation. This can be great for younger kids to broaden their perspectives on other cultures which may seem distant or unfamiliar to them.

As for the actual quality of the film; it was undeniable that 'Encanto' was always going to be a big box office and critical hit, with Disney having essentially perfected their formula of animated musicals over a history of almost 100 years. The Madrigal family are a well-written and nuanced and realistic take for a family in an animated film. It feels fresh to see a family that while they do love each other, are not without their issues and disagreements, something which is undeniably human. This is especially true for the relationship between Mirabel and her Abuela Alma, whose relationship is strained and put to the test over the course of the film. The well-written characters are no doubt assisted by Disney's beautiful and fluid animation that seemingly improves with every feature film they release as well as the fantastic Lin-Manuel Miranda penned soundtrack that is sure to catch some replays on the car ride home from the cinema. Notable tracks to look out for are "We Don't Talk About Bruno" or "The Family Madrigal". However, the movie is not without its flaws. For one being that while much of the main cast is well written, the size of it can make for a difficult time developing each of them significantly and genuinely getting audiences to care more about the entire main cast rather than just one or two select characters.

That being said, 'Encanto' is a fantastic tribute to Colombian culture and family. This shines through in its fantastic music, art direction and writing, making for a greatly enjoyable experience which surely any kid or even parent for that matter will find some fun in.

 

Nirek Panditha
Author: Nirek Panditha
Self professed film buff, aspiring writer and comic book geek.
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