Magical Family, Magical Movie

Disney’s latest movie, Encanto, exceeds expectations.


Walt Disney Animation Studios

Kat Klinefelter, Staff Writer

Have you ever walked into a movie theatre with absolutely zero expectations regarding the movie you are about to see? That’s exactly what happened to me when I found myself at the Monroeville Mall Cinemark watching Disney’s newest movie, Encanto. I had gone to see this movie with a friend because the original movie we wanted to see, Eternals, didn’t have any available seats last minute. 

It turned out to be the best last-minute decision I have ever made.

Encanto was directed by well-known director Jared Bush, who previously worked on Disney’s Zootopia and wrote the film Moana. The cast is full of well-known Hollywood actors such as Stephanie Beatriz, known for her roles in Brooklyn Nine-Nine and In the Heights. Beatriz plays the main character, Mirabel Madrigal. Playing Alma “Abuela” Madrigal is Maria Cecilia Botero, known for her role in the Colombian show La Bruja

To understand the story, one must first become familiar with the story’s background. Mirabel and her family, the Madrigals, are a magical family. They all have a magical power, called their gift, that they each receive when they are young children. The main character, Mirabel, however, did not receive a gift as a child. She then became the outcast of the family. 

On the night of her little cousin Antonio’s gift ceremony, Mirabel notices the house cracking. When she notifies her abuela, the head of the family, she is dismissed because the cracks had mysteriously disappeared. 

Mirabel then sets out on a quest to find out what is happening to the house and the family’s magic. On this quest, she finds out what happened to her disgraced uncle, Bruno, and how her family originally received their magic. 

A lot of the film’s visuals and cultural references were inspired by Colombian culture, full of bright colors and traditionally inspired clothing, seen in the dress that Mirabel wears throughout the film. 

The movie, like Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon, takes place in a fictional world inspired by a real-life region. And like Raya, the movie features characters with a multitude of different skin tones all within the same culture. 

“It was amazing to see Isabella, who was one of the darker-skinned characters, be represented as the ‘flawlessly perfect’ one in the family,” said NASH junior Maya Sivakumar. 

The film score, written by Lin Manuel Miranda and Germaine Francco, brought another jaw-dropping aspect to Encanto. The Tony Award winning writer and actor, Miranda, has brought to life many Broadway musicals such as, Hamilton and In the Heights

Encanto isn’t his first Disney film either. Miranda won a Grammy in 2018 for the song “How Far I’ll Go,” which he wrote for Moana

His work in Encanto, similar to his work in In the Heights, deals with the pressure a person’s family can indirectly have on them. Luisa and Isabella, Mirabel’s older sisters, deal with being thought of as only what their gift is despite having other interests. 

For Luisa, whose gift is strength, she sings, quite literally, about the pressure that she feels to be the strongest in her family both mentally and physically in the song “Surface Pressure.” 

Isabella has her own version of “Surface Pressure,” called “What Else Can I Do?”, where she conveys the lesson that what society deems as imperfections are nevertheless beautiful. 

Encanto, with its real-world undertones of responsibility and parental expectations, is not only a fantastic choice for people of all ages but one that everyone should make time to see.