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Credit: Disney

Movie Review: ‘Encanto’

As usual, the release of a new family-friendly animated movie from Walt Disney Animation Studios has sparked interest in Disney fans and Disney fanatics with kids–especially since the new movie Encanto has a lot in common with the popular Disney movies Moana (2016) and Coco (2017)! Encanto is a movie filled with magical realism, which is a common genre in Latin America; it follows an extraordinary family in Colombia that has been blessed by a magic candle and given magical power.

Each member of the Madrigal family has a magical and unique gift (aside from communicating with their casita, which is their sentient magical house called Casa Madrigal), except for Mirabel Madrigal. Mirabel is this movie’s Disney heroine, and she’s also the black sheep of the family because the magic candle didn’t give her a gift when she was little–but when the family’s magic is threatened, Mirabel’s unique position in the family could be what saves their magic and their home!

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Mirabel in ‘Encanto’, the Walt Disney Animation Studios movie directed by Byron Howard, Jared Bush, and Charise Castro Smith. Credit: Disney

As expected with a lively, funny, emotional animated movie from Disney, this movie has been met with favorable reviews. The Walt Disney Animation Studios movie has also been nominated for nine Annie Awards!

Spoiler alert: we predicted earlier this year that Encanto‘s finale and the movie title’s double meaning would be intertwined, and we were correct! Since “encanto” means “I love” as well as “enchantment”, it made sense to guess that Mirabel’s magical gift would actually be related to the love of her family. In the movie’s conclusion, Mirabel helps her family reconcile long-hidden disputes or misunderstandings, and helps all of the Madrigals embrace their gift while simultaneously allowing them to ease the pressure they’ve felt from having magical abilities.

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The Madrigal family: Luisa (voiced by Jessica Darrow), Isabela (voiced by Diane Guerrero), the matriarch Abuela Alma (voiced by María Cecilia Botero), Felix (voiceded by Mauro Castillo), Julieta (voiced by Angie Cepeda), Pepa (voiced by Carolina Gaitán), Agustín (voiced by Wilmer Valderrama), Camilo (voiced by Rhenzy Feliz), Antonio (voiced by Ravi Cabot-Conyers), and Dolores (voiced by Adassa) and Mirabel Madrigal (voiced by Stephanie Beatriz). John Leguizamo voices Bruno (not pictured). Credit: movies.disney.com

Ironically, one of the biggest highlights in this animated film is actually the characters’ dance moves. Usually, the stunning settings and power ballads are the stars of the show in Disney’s animated movies — but in Encanto, the Mirabel family actually pulls off impressive, music-video-style choreography. It’s also nice to see that the characters share this dancing ability throughout the family; even though she’s initially stereotyped as the brawn in the film (due to her super strength), Luisa Madrigal dances just as sensually as every other family member does, and so does the heroine Mirabel!

The songs “We Don’t Talk About Bruno”, “The Family Madrigal”, “Surface Pressure”, and “What Else Can I Do?” are particularly catchy original songs (unsurprising, since they were written by Moana composer Lin-Manuel Miranda) and they’re augmented by the characters’ dancing. The Madrigal family’s musical numbers also seem more fluid than musical numbers in previous Disney animated movies, making their dancing look more realistic.

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Mirabel in ‘Encanto’, the Walt Disney Animation Studios movie directed by Byron Howard, Jared Bush, and Charise Castro Smith. Credit: Disney

If you want a heartfelt, comedic, and exciting Disney musical that’s filled with surprisingly catchy music and vibrant colors, then Encanto might be the movie for you! Check it out on Disney+ now!

About Sharon

Sharon is from New England. She's a writer, animal lover, and, of course, a Disney Fanatic! Sharon's two main focuses in her work are Disney's correlations with pop culture and the significance of Disney princesses (which was the basis for her college thesis). When she's not writing about Disney, Sharon spends her time singing, dancing, and cavorting with woodland creatures.