“Encanto” is a celebration of Latin America through Colombian culture. It highlights the profound and important relationships within family’s members, especially the multigenerational household side by side with the amazing Madrigal family.
We can tell that 2021 is Lin-Manuel Miranda’s year, right? Well, I’m pretty sure it’s! The acclaimed American actor, singer, composer, producer, writer who most of us know for his Broadway musical “Hamilton” and his awards, has a couple of amazing projects. He already won a Pulitzer Prize, Tony Awards, Emmy Awards, Grammy Awards, it was nominated for an Oscar… just to mention a few.
This year, he brought his stage musical “In The Heights” to the big screen. He lends his voice to Vivo, the kinkajou on the animated musical film “Vivo”, which he also composed the film’s original songs. Lin-Manuel also made his directorial film debut with the film adaptation “Tick Tick… Boom!”. But we are not going to talk about these very successful projects, and we are going to talk about “Encanto”.
“Encanto” is the 60th new Disney animated movie with original songs written by Lin-Manuel Miranda. This is his third collaboration with Walt Disney Studios, and, in my opinion, he nailed on the rhythms and color. “Encanto” follows the tale of an extraordinary ‘familia’, the Madrigals, who live hidden in the mountains of Colombia, in a magical house, in a vibrant town, in a wondrous, charmed place called an Encanto.
The magic of the Encanto has blessed every child in the family with a unique gift from super strength to the power to heal – every child except one, Mirabel. But when she discovers that the magic surrounding ‘la casita’ is in danger, Mirabel decides that she, the only ordinary Madrigal, might just be her exceptional family’s last hope.
“Encanto” is an encanto. But what is encanto? Encanto means delight, charm, joy, magic, enchantment. When I watched the film, I left the movie theater with so much joy with this beautiful story and I was “encantada” (enchanted). “Encanto” is a celebration of Latin America through Colombian culture.
It highlights the profound and important relationships within family’s members, especially the multigenerational household side by side with the amazing Madrigal family. “Encanto” also shows that we all have our own journey of finding our unique gifts.
The cast was well selected with native actors from Colombia and Colombian, Latin-American and Afro-Latino heritages. The voice cast includes Stephanie Beatriz as Mirabel; María Cecilia Botero as Mirabel’s abuela (grandmother) Alma; John Leguizamo as Mirabel’s estranged Uncle Bruno; Angie Cepeda and Wilmer Valderrama as Mirabel’s parents, Julieta and Agustín; and Diane Guererro and Jessica Darrow as Mirabel’s sisters, Isabela and Luisa.
Also lending their voices are Carolina Gaitán and Mauro Castillo as Mirabel’s aunt and uncle, Pepa and Félix; and Adassa, Rhenzy Feliz and Ravi Cabot-Conyers as Mirabel’s cousins Dolores, Camilo and Antonio, respectively. The global Colombian superstar Maluma lends his voice to Mariano, the soon-to-be fiancé of Mirabel’s perfect and poised sister Isabela.
I can’t forget to mention Olga Merediz, who played abuela Claudia on “In The Heights”, on both stage and screen, is the singing voice of abuela Alma in “Encanto”.
We need to talk about the original songs, especially “We Don’t Talk about Bruno”, which stuck in my mind and I’ve been singing all day since I watched the movie. There is also the opening scene “The Madrigal Family”, an upbeat and happy introduction to the ‘familia’ and ‘la casita’.
Other tracks such as “What Else Can I Do” and “Surface Pressure” are also catchy ones. And, of course, Spanish songs were not left out such as “Dos Oruguitas” (Two Caterpillars), sung by pop singer Sebastían Yatra, and “Colombia Mi Encanto” (Colombia My Delight) performed by
Colombian vallenato renowned singer Carlos Vives. I’ll be very honest, I almost started to dance when these songs were playing during the movie! So happy, so hip, so vibrant.
The animation is bright, very colorful, showing how Colombia and the Latin America countries are. Disney was very attentive to details, especially the architectural designs of the casita, the clothes, the embroidery, the colors, and the landscapes.
“Encanto” is directed by Jared Bush and Byron Howard and co-directed by Charise Castro Smith. The script was written by Castro Smith and Bush. And before I go, “Encanto” will enchant you on November 24, exclusively, in theaters. It will also be released in Spanish in over 250 theaters across the US.
The Madrigals are an extraordinary family who live hidden in the mountains of Colombia in a charmed place called the Encanto. The magic of the Encanto has blessed every child in the family with a unique gift — every child except Mirabel. However, she soon may be the Madrigal’s last hope when she discovers that the magic surrounding the Encanto is now in danger.
Jana Nascimento Nagase is a Brazilian Entertainment journalist, Film and TV Critic based in Los Angeles, California. She is a member of the Hollywood Critics Association and the ABI Inter (Brazilian International Press Association). She manages her own YouTube channel and website called Jana On Camera.