Review of 'Encanto'

ENCANTO In a small Columbian village the Madrigal family have lived for generations. This is not any ordinary family, the children have magical powers that are given to them in a family coming of age ceremony…all except Mirabel (voiced by Stephanie Beatriz) who, for some reason, was unable to open the door which would have blessed her with her gift. Her oldest sister Isabela (voiced by Diane Guerrero) has the ability to grow flowers at will, an older sister Luisa (voiced by Jess Darrow) who has super strength, her oldest cousin Dolores (voiced by Adassa) has superhuman hearing, and Pepe (voiced by Carolina Gaitan) whose emotions control the weather. Alma (voiced by María Cecilia Botero) is the family's over protective matriarch and watches over her children and grandchildren, and caring for a candle, the source of their magic. This magic not only protects the family but the village that has built up around their magical home, Casita. It is obvious that Alma is disappointed with Mirabel's lack of talent, asking her to stay away from the ceremony where Pepe's youngest son Antonio (voiced by Ravi Cabot-Conyers) receives the gift of being able to talk to animals. Encouraged by Antonio, Mirabel attends but sees a vision of the destruction of their home and the extinguishing of the magic candle. In a panic, Mirabel questions the family and uncovers disturbing secrets that could tear their home apart.

This is an absolute gem of a Disney animation with and absolutely vibrant colour palate and energy that harkens back to their other classic films. The South American music (by Lin-Manuel Miranda, of “Hamilton” fame) is full of life as well though often a bit upbeat for what is being said in the lyrics. There are some amazing dance set pieces with the characters literally dancing all around and on the family home.

The story is imaginative and engaging with the obvious redemption of Mirabel, the disappointment of the family, the magicless sibling. She is our window into this unusual family and the one who is the catalyst for changing the unspoken secrets pushed aside for decades. It is nice to see a touch of complex emotional issues in modern Disney films like this - It might look perfect but there are flaws which this film explores and resolves.

A fun, vibrant and full of life magic story from the masters of family-friendly animation.

Rating: “I have absolutely no complaints”

Review Date: 2023-04-29

Directed by: Byron Howard, Jared Bush and Charise Castro Smith

Studio: Walt Disney Animation Studios

Year: 2021

Length: 102 minutes

Genre: Animation

Other reviewed films by Byron Howard and Nathan Greno:

Other reviewed films by Byron Howard, Rich Moore and Jared Bush: