Encanto is a gorgeous ode to Latinos that shines with color and prowess

Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore, Flickr.

“Encanto” is Disney’s latest — and 60th — animated feature, and I was nothing short of amazed at the artistry in this new film.

Disney has become an increasingly diverse movie studio. With an increase in movies showing more cultures throughout the world, the company is doing a better job at representation. 

Set in Columbia, “Encanto” tells the story of the Madrigal family, a family that has been blessed with a multitude of gifts to help keep their community, known as Encanto, safe and running.

The Madrigal family finds Encanto after the patriarch of the family is killed as he and his family flee their home. Abuela Alma is the matriarch of the family, and she is left with her triplet children.

In her devastation at losing her husband, Abuela Alma is granted the blessing of Encanto and the magical gifts that came with it. For decades, the family thrived in the city of Encanto, and each family member received a special gift to help them. That is, however, until Mirabel comes around and gets no such gift. 

The magical foundation of the Madrigal home begins to crack and it is up to Mirabel to figure out how to repair the family foundation and restore the family. 

This story is told by a cast of Latino actors, and the amount of respect for the Latino culture is felt throughout the entire film. 

As someone who is not a part of the Latino community, I can only offer an outsider's perspective on the representation of this film. However, what I can say is that I feel as if I learned about the Latino culture from Latino people, which is how it should always be. 

The characters in this film represent the diverse skin colors that range from light to dark and hair textures from straight to kinky curls that can be found within the Latino community. This brings in a more accurate representation of a group of people who have not been given the representation that they so deserve. 

The music of this film, composed by Lin Manuel Miranda, is so unique. The songs in this movie are composed in a way that I have never heard before in any other Disney film.  

New York Times critic Maya Phillips puts it best: “the grand pooh-bah of the contemporary musical movie score, Lin-Manuel Miranda, provides a spellbinding soundtrack of songs combining salsa, bachata and hip-hop played with traditional folk instruments from Colombia.” 

I think it is also important to mention the fantastic design of this film. From the almost too-realistic embroidery of Mirabel’s skirts, to the perfect color palette of the Columbian flora throughout the film, the artistry depicted in the Columbian towns was breathtaking, to say the least.

What solidified my love of this film was the fact that it was not centralized on the idea of a woman finding her true love. This trope is overplayed and boring. “Encanto” focuses on loving your family and finding your place in the world. I am so happy that companies like Disney have been producing films with these greater sentimental themes and engaging plots and striving away from a woman needing to find love.

With the high level of Latino representation, the beautiful imagery and the lack of an overdone romantic aspect, “Encanto” certainly shines as an incredible Disney film.


5/5 stars