‘Encanto’ shows how families learn, grow


Official Disney website

“Encanto” is still showing in theaters at Regal Willoughby Commons, Atlas Diamond Center (Mentor), and AMC Classic (Solon).

Hailey Nelson, Staff Writer

Recently, Disney’s “Encanto” has been growing in popularity amongst children and adults alike, and it’s not very hard to see why.

Available on Disney+ and with music written by Lin-Manuel Miranda (popular for his work in “Hamilton,” “Moana,” and “In the Heights”), this animated movie is not only accessible to watch but will also leave you humming the popular tunes for days on end.

The movie’s protagonist, Mirabel Madrigal, is one of the younger members of a family of 12. Her family had been blessed with a house and magical gifts provided by a candle.

Towards the beginning of the movie, we are told that Mirabel is the only family member without a gift. Once the house begins to break and her family’s gifts begin to fade, she goes on a journey to try and discover a way of saving the miracle. Along the way, she encounters long-lost family members, the hidden anxieties and insecurities of her sisters, and the fragility of her family’s dynamics.

With her two older sisters, her parents, three cousins, two aunts, two uncles, and her grandmother, Mirabel is surrounded by a rather large family. However, the characters that stick out in terms of vocal ability are her sisters, Isabela and Luisa. Mirabel and her sisters each have their own individual songs within the movie, both describing their struggles and discoveries of newfound abilities.

Isabela (voiced by Diane Guerrero), the oldest of the three, has the power to grow flowers and trees whenever she pleases. She is considered to be the “golden child” and is expected to marry a man from the village named Mariano.

However, after Mirabel ruins Mariano’s proposal and attempts to apologize, Isabela reveals that she never wanted to marry him and was only doing it for the family. In her song “What Else Can I Do?”, she begins to explore her powers and the different kinds of plants that she can grow (in an effort to no longer be “perfect”).

Luisa (voiced by Jessica Darrow), the middle child, is incredibly strong and often performs chores in the village that require her abilities. After Mirabel learns that she is worried about losing her powers, Luisa reveals her anxieties and need to meet everyone’s expectations. In her song “Surface Pressure,” she brings a new type of sound to Disney with her low, rich alto voice. Many people who are older siblings or assumed a parental role in their household as a child have expressed their connection with the song and its lyrics, proving that Disney characters can relate to people of all ages.

Finally, Mirabel (voiced by Stephanie Beatriz) displays her talents in many of the songs throughout the movie, but is especially shown in the songs “The Family Madrigal” and “Waiting on a Miracle.” In the first song, Mirabel is the one who introduces each of the family members and ultimately hides the fact that she doesn’t have a gift like everyone else. With incredible storytelling and fast-paced rapping towards the end of the song to increase the intensity, Beatriz reveals her capabilities without conforming to the normal, sweet “princess-y” tone heard from older Disney characters.

In the second song, Mirabel finally reveals her true feelings about not having a gift (despite pretending as if it didn’t bother her before). The cries and pleas from Mirabel as she asks the candle to bless her with a gift can be heard clearly through her voice, and her heartwrenching dilemma is capable of bringing tears to anyone who listens.

Lastly, with instruments and original singers from Colombia, this movie not only provides a lesson on families and their dynamics but also brings a whole new perspective and culture, unlike most other Disney movies. Some songs, such as “We Don’t Talk About Bruno,” have exploded on social media and topped the Billboard charts, revealing that a wide range of people can all find something enjoyable from this movie.

Overall, “Encanto” has become not only one of the most popular Disney movies to date, but it also focuses on new themes and lessons that are different from Disney’s norm. It’s worth the watch on Disney+, or if you have time this week, it’s still showing in a few local theaters.