“Encanto,” an original Walt Disney Animation Studios film directed by Byron Howard and Jared Bush, tells the story of the Madrigals, a Colombian family in which all members possess a magical gift. The only exception is Mirabel, who upon discovering the magic that surrounds their house is in danger, will have to risk everything to save the house and her family.
The story as such isn’t new; a person who experiences emotional conflict as a result of feeling different, like the “black sheep” of the family, is nothing we haven’t seen before in other movies, series and even musicals.
However, there are many factors that save this movie from becoming a cliché.
What attracted the most attention, even since the trailer was released in September of this year, is the location of where the story takes place: Colombia.
“Encanto” depicts many Colombian elements, such as the flora and fauna, traditional clothing worn by the characters, typical foods such as “Arepa con Queso/Ajiaco” and even a few colloquial phrases used not only in Colombia but in most Latin American countries.
Beauty and feminine strength are two topics the film embraces strongly through female characters like Isabela and Luisa, both sisters of Mirabel, who embody Latin American women. Isabela, who has the gift of growing and controlling flowers, is a beautiful girl with dark skin, brown eyes and long black hair, who represents physical beauty through her attractiveness. On the other hand, Luisa, who has the gift of strength, represents the power and independence of women.
There are a variety of main characters you can easily identify with through their lives and the growth they experience over the course of the storyline. Most members of the Madrigal family are very well developed in their respective stories, revealing their personalities as well as their strengths and weaknesses. These factors make them unique.
Disney also did a great job of managing the color palette and tones in the film.
“Encanto” is full of bright colors, with yellows and greens shining through. An important aspect that was appreciated is the accuracy with the skin color of the characters.
In Latin American countries, there is no exact skin color because we are the product of miscegenation that combines different races and ethnicities. There are people who may have a lighter or darker skin color, but they still belong to the same country. This can be seen in the Madrigal family itself since the skin color varies from one to another.
Each of the soundtracks is a fundamental part of the plot. “Colombia, Mi Encanto” sang by Carlos Vives, a famous Colombian singer, is the opening song. It describes the happiness that abounds in the Colombian people of the film and is upbeat, making you want to dance nonstop.
Other songs such as “Dos Oruguitas” sang by Sebastián Yatra, “What Else Can I Do?” performed by Diane Guerrero (the voice of Isabela) or “Surface Pressure” performed by Jessica Darrow (the voice of Luisa) were originally created with very popular rhythms from Colombia.
“Colombia has a lot of rich musical traditions within itself that are unique,” Miranda said.
“Encanto” is simply beautiful. Viewers are sure to love the characters and their stories. The plot itself will take you through a roller coaster of emotions, which will keep you hooked until the very end of the movie. It will leave you with a completely inspirational moral about family love that can make one tear up.
This film is currently available in theaters but will be available on Disney+ in December of this year. You can’t miss it.