The most magical Disney movie to hit theaters

Welcome to the family Madrigal! I know it seems a bit fantastical and magical, but Disney’s 60th movie release, Encanto, has become the perfect constellation of how the talents we’re given at birth aren’t a determining factor of our worth. 

This masterpiece of a movie showcases the intricate lyrical writing that the Emmy-winning Lin-Manuel Miranda brought to his other famous works; Hamilton and In The Heights. And though this movie seems to be heavily debated throughout SHS, with some agreeing with my opinion and others expressing their confusion with the plot, there is no doubt that the animation film entices the viewer into the Madrigal’s encanto. 

Encanto follows Mirabel Madrigal, a young teen from Colombia, whose family was blessed with a magical gift when her Abuelo sacrificed himself for his wife, triplets, and townspeople after they were forced to leave their home. Now, generations later, that miracle has blessed each Madrigal child with a gift, except for Mirabel.

Mirabel and her extraordinary family help the town with their gifts, meanwhile Mirabel is ousted to the background and told to stay out of the way. But, as the story unfolds it is revealed that the beautiful magical casita is in danger of breaking. Mirabel’s Abuela, the head of the household and the bearer of the magical gift bestowed upon her family, believes Mirabel is the problem and that she should stop meddling. 

Mirabel sees something different though. She sees how her Abuela is making all of her magical children or grandchildren miserable with her grand expectations of them. Despite how strong Lusia, Mirabel’s older sister, is, she will never be strong enough to please Abuela, despite the fact that Luisa can literally move mountains. For Isabella, Mirabel’s oldest sister, she will never be perfect enough for Abuela, even going as far as marrying a man she didn’t like because it pleased Abuela. 

This rift in the Madrigal family is a rift seen in so many families around the world. The crushing expectations to be the best at something once you’re identified as having a talent, or even the expectations parents have for their children to get good grades, go to college, and get married, can be particularly stressful and detrimental when pushed onto a child’s back, seeming like they have no other choice but to do it. 

Encanto has taken the world by storm mostly due to its real-life attributes. Many viewers, old and young, can relate to Mirabel. Viewers that were overshadowed by their older sibling, pushed to make a decision by their parents, or who see the same rift between their family as the Madrigal family can all relate. It’s the raw humanity of Encanto that makes it unmistakably one of Disney’s best films.

The message, combined with the extraordinary music written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, enhances the struggles of the Madrigal family, and pulls the viewer into the magical encanto. 

The increasingly upbeat song, Columbia, Mi Encanto, which plays after Antonio’s, Mirabel’s youngest cousin, gift ceremony and during the after party, shows the lively nature of Columbia. The music is enticing and makes anyone want to dance, along with the message behind it, meaning ‘Columbia, my charm.’

We Don’t Talk About Bruno, has become the highest charting Disney song in the 21st century, making it onto the US Billboard Hot 100 as number two. This song is a masterpiece, describing the set-up villain, Bruno, Mirabel’s uncle. At the start of the song Mirabel’s aunt and uncle, Peppa and Felix, sing about how Bruno ruined their wedding day, turning then to their daughter, Mirabel’s cousin, Dolores’ solo. 

Dolores has the gift of being able to hear every sound generated in their village. During her solo, the sounds around her, like footsteps or swishes, are increased. She also speaks in a delicate and quiet voice, mimicking her gift. Along with the double meaning in her lyrics, she says, ‘It’s a heavy lift with a gift so humbling.’ These lyrics reflect both on Bruno, with his ‘gift’ to be able to predict the future (which unfortunately, gave him a reputation of being the bearer of bad news), and Dolores, who hears everything and anything people in her village have to say, never allowing her to take a break from sound.

For the rest of the song the townspeople chime in on what Bruno predicted would happen to them, like growing a gut or the death of their pet. A stand out quote from this part of the song was the lyric, ‘Your fate is sealed where your prophecy is read’. 

The final part of the song is sweet and slow, as Isabella comes in for her solo. Everyone stops to look at her as she explains that Bruno told her she would have the life of her dreams, and that her power would continue to grow. At first watch, it seems like Isabella is conceited and perfect, just how she was supposed to be, but after watching it a second time, and knowing that Isabella didn’t want this perfect life, her lyrics match with everyone else when describing the painful ‘prediction’ of their futures. 

The final stand-out song to me was Dos Oruguitas, which plays over a flashback of Abuela meeting and marrying her husband, having their children, leaving their home, losing her husband, and her gaining her miracle. After this song, and the flashback, Abuela’s actions made sense, and suddenly no one was at fault. It was just humans being human. Abuela and her husband fell madly in love and had triplets, only for them to be forced from their home to travel to a new one. While they were traveling with others, the people who forced them from their original town showed up, and Abuela’s husband sacrificed himself for his wife, children, and people. As he died, and Abuela fell to the ground in grief, the candle she was holding to light the way, became brighter, and forced those people out, cascading a mountain range around what would become her new town and encanto. This magical candle would give her children and grandchildren their gifts. 

While that song played in the background, saying, “Two little caterpillars, don’t hold on anymore. You must grow apart to return, you’ll keep moving forwards. Miracles come, chrysalises come. You must leave and build your own future.” 

The raw emotion of this scene, which sets up the understanding for why Abuela wanted her family to be perfect, defines that there isn’t always a clear villain in every story, and that sometimes people who give high expectations to us, have a reason behind that push. 

As the movie came to a close and the Madrigal family reconciled, becoming a strong and vibrant family again with a stronger encanto, the importance and significance of this movie’s message rattles on as one of the most well-rounded movies Disney has ever put together. Through amazing lyrics, exciting characters, and a relatable theme, as the movie Encanto finished, many left with a new favorite movie and the knowledge that their foundations might need some rebuilding in order to achieve a stronger encanto.