Encanto: The Magic, Music, and Wonder in La Familia


The Madrigal Family Courtesy of Disney

“The miracle is not some magic that you’ve got – the miracle is you.” Magic has always been present in Disney’s movies, ranging from ice powers to talking animals to even the existence of the fairy godmother. “Encanto”, released on November 24th, 2021 quickly became a favorite among Disney fans. “Encanto” has a magic that is passed down from generations, along with an amazing yet catchy soundtrack, both of which are contributing factors to the movie’s popularity.
The movie starts off by introducing the main protagonist, Mirabel Madrigal, who is a tad different from her family. The Madrigal family members each have their own different power, with the one exception being Mirabel herself. But the lack of a power doesn’t stop Mirabel from bonding with her family members, as each character’s background story is revealed through Mirabel’s interactions with them, building a special kind of depth to the story. The movie is fun, surprising, and the plot immerses the audience with heartwarming family bonding scenes. Because of this, “Encanto” holds a memorable place in everyone’s heart.
Encanto, meaning charm in Spanish, was definitely an exceptional word to describe the movie. Each different character charmed us all, as the watchers are able to relate to one if not more people in the big family of Madrigal. The Colombian culture in “Encanto” was expressed perfectly, and the colors made the dazzling animation even better. Among many other traditional Colombian dishes, the arepas con quesos shown in one of the scenes was a direct representation of the diverse culture. The design of the clothes worn by the characters in “Encanto” is also one of the many cultural elements implemented into the movie. Although this wasn’t Disney’s first movie representing hispanic culture (“Coco” in 2017), this movie tackles a different and deeper issue regarding intergenerational trauma. Because Abuela and her husband were refugees fleeing violence and received the blessing, there are a lot of expectations passed down from each generation to another. The ability to withstand these hardships takes a tremendous amount of willpower and hope. Each family member has their own problems that come with their power; for example, Isabella is the golden child but is almost forced to marry a man she didn’t love in order to fulfill the expectations of her Abuela. Mirabel’s older sister, Luisa, shoulders the family strength and is expected to do all the heavy lifting around the house. Another great example of character depth is Bruno. Bruno first was seen as the evil and mysterious villain in the movie, because his character was associated with the color green and the negative opinions of his family members towards him created a misrepresentation of the character. But towards the end of the movie, his character became more fleshed-out, and he was much more than originally thought.
Besides the amazing character development, the soundtracks perfectly accentuates each character’s personality. “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” has become viral on TikTok and the memes about Mariano’s walk have made the movie even more widespread. Each different soundtrack created a backstory for each character, and this is what sets this movie apart from all the other Disney-made films. Natalie DeWees, a sophomore who has watched “Encanto,” wanted to express her opinions on this new type of Disney movie.
“I thought the songs were really creative and that the main character was really dorky. I really liked her character, especially because she didn’t have powers to feel special and she was happy in the beginning. ‘Surface Pressure’ was definitely a personal favorite song of mine,” DeWees said.
The characters were imperfect as any person is, but together as a family, they made each other whole. The movie did contain an important message to the wider audience: You don’t have to be perfect to be happy. With the family relationship, the magic, and complex character development, “Encanto” was a meaningful story that warmed the hearts of many.