Trinity Goppy | Staff Writer
Encanto is the newest musical animated feature on Disney+ that is taking the internet by storm. The movie tackles several issues such as family dynamics, intergenerational trauma and struggles of migration.
Encanto tells the story of a multigenerational Colombian family, the Madrigals, led by the matriarch, Alma Madrigal. At the movie’s beginning, Alma and her triplet infants are forced to flee their homes by armed resistance. When her husband is taken, everything seems lost until a “miracle” happens, and a magical candle creates the Encanto.
Within the magic house, Casita, magical doors connect to each member of the Madrigal family and the unique magical gift they use for the greater good of the community. The only exception to this tradition is Mirabel, who has no gift.
During a celebration, Mirabel discovers that the magic surrounding Encanto is degrading. As she searches for the solution to save it, she goes on a journey of self-discovery. In the end she learns more about herself and brings her family closer together.
The animations displayed throughout the movie embrace the representation of dark-skinned Afro Latinos that are not shown often in television or film, and specifically Disney movies.
Afro-Latinos make up 5% of the Black population in America. Despite this, they had little to no media representation until the Disney movie Encanto was released according to a Pew Research study.
The movie’s soundtrack is critical to most of the character’s development throughout the plot. The middle Madrigal sister, Luisa, serves her family and the village with the help of her magical gift of superhuman strength.
As the magic deteriorates, so does Luisa’s power and the audience views her breakdown. Luisa confesses through song that she feels like she is under constant pressure, and she would just like to relax occasionally.
Luisa’s identity revolves around her ability to serve others and productivity, which speaks volumes to working parents, caregivers and medical professionals, according to the Washington Post.
Exceeding expectations, Encanto remains at the top of the box office, according to movie site Looper. Many people are hopeful the popularity of this movie will help mainstream media recognize the importance of representation, according to Indiana Daily Student.
On Jan. 18, a song from Encanto called “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” outperformed Frozen’s “Let It Go” in the Billboard Charts, according to Vox. Also, the song is at No. 1 on Spotify’s closely watched U.S. Top 50 tally, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Encanto’s representation is what makes it so appealing. Various social media trends, like TikTok surrounding Encanto, had “people posting videos of their children recognizing themselves for perhaps the first time in the movie’s characters,” said a writer for Los Angeles Times Mikael Wood.
Luisa’s physical appearance has been praised for representing muscular women, a refreshing take on the usual feminine depiction of female protagonists in Disney, like Cinderella or Moana.
Encanto features the voices of Stephanie Beatriz, María Cecilia Botero, John Leguizamo, Mauro Castillo, Jessica Darrow, Angie Cepeda, Carolina Gaitán, Diane Guerrero, and Wilmer Valderrama. It was directed by Jared Bush, Byron Howard, and Charise Castro Smith with original songs written by Lin Manuel Miranda.