Encanto Movie Review: It Reminds Us That Latinos Come in All Shades of Brown!

What happens when a magical family in a magical home has their world turned upside down with only one member who can save them? Read on for a full movie review of Disney’s “Encanto.”

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Encanto Review

In “Encanto”, a Latino family in Colombia acquires magical powers after surviving a traumatic experience.  All the members of the family have powers in the casita (house) except Mirabel, who longs for powers like her siblings who can manipulate the weather or plants.  When the casita starts to show cracks, Mirabel goes on an adventure to save their family home despite naysayers like her Abuela (grandmother) who think that Mirabel is being eccentric like her son Bruno, a long-lost family member.  

The characters all have different shades of brown much like Colombia itself.  It’s not just the brown skin tones but the variety of different hair textures and nose shapes that make this film diverse, in fact, many children will be able to spot characters like themselves in the movie.  Mirabel, Bruno, Luisa, Antonio, and Isabella all have different skin tones but still are members of the same family and in some cases, they are blood siblings. This movie reminds us that the characters in “Encanto” ARE what Latinos look like. The movie shows that a family can represent every color and it makes sense since Latin American countries have Black and Indigenous people too.

Because this is a Lin Manuel Miranda film, the songs are very much like his previous films, a mixture of rapping and singing.  “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” and “Colombia Mi Encanto” are easily the best songs in the movie but the rest weren’t as strong.   Despite the music not being especially different than what we’ve heard in previous Disney movies, the art direction and design are so stunning and spectacular. Because of the visuals I didn’t even notice the majority of the songs, I was simply too entranced by the beauty of the film.   

Another interesting aspect is the character of Alma who is the stoic grandmother.  Her relationships with her daughter and granddaughter are complex and anything but black and white.  Saw a lot of the same behaviors in this film that I’ve seen in my own family, including the desire to please even if it puts your own desires and dreams on hold.

“Encanto” is beautiful to look at and does an excellent job at translating the culture of Columbia on screen but the familiarity of the music was the weakest aspect of the film.

Rating: 3.5/5

About Encanto

Encanto marks the 60th animated feature from Walt Disney Animation Studios and will soon be available to audiences to enjoy at home. Fans can enjoy a sing-along movie version, never-before-seen bonus features and deleted scenes when Encanto arrives on all major digital platforms this holiday season on December 24 and on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD February 8.

The Encanto Original Motion Picture Soundtrack features eight original songs by Tony®- and Grammy®-winning songwriter/composer Lin-Manuel Miranda (“Hamilton,” “Moana”) with original score by award-winning composer Germaine Franco (“Dora and the Lost City of Gold,” “Little,” “Tag”).   The soundtrack also features “Colombia, Mi Encanto” by Carlos Vives and Sebastián Yatra performs the original song “Dos Oruguitas” in Spanish in the film, as well as the English language version of the song, in the end-credits. 

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