Disney’s Encanto. That one movie everyone hasn’t shut up about even though it’s been three months (and for good reason). Yet somehow, half the people I’ve talked to in the last month have yet to see it, which is why I’m here today to tell you, spoiler-free, exactly why you should watch Encanto. (Or rewatch it. There’s no shame in that.)
Encanto is a story about a 15-year-old girl named Mirabel who undertakes a quest to save her family when the miracle that blesses their home is threatened. In this quest, Mirabel learns about herself, her relatives, her home, and the dirty secrets that have been kept from her throughout her life.
Disney executes this story wonderfully. Every moment my eyes were glued to the screen; the animation was colorful and stunning in a way that filled me with childlike wonder, and the perfect combination of laughter, suspense, and tears kept me engaged through the end. (I may or may not have cried twice.) This was only possible through their careful exploration of their characters, and of course the music.
What set Encanto apart for me was the focus and development it gave to each of its characters, which seems an impossible feat in a movie that short—an hour and 45 minutes to be exact—yet it accomplishes this flawlessly. While Mirabel is undoubtedly the main character, the movie takes time to incorporate each of her family member’s unique perspectives and struggles regarding the overarching conflict, and how this affects the existing dynamic between each other. In this way, all the characters stand as unique individuals rather than props and tools needed to move the story along.
Encanto explored its characters through music in a way that no Disney movie has done before. In songs like ‘Surface Pressure’ and ‘What Else Can I Do?’ we get a direct insight into the perspectives of the supporting cast. Then, of course, there is ‘We Don’t Talk about Bruno,’ a national hit and Disney’s highest charting song in 26 years. This song brings together the entire cast in a seamless musical masterpiece that’s been stuck in my head since the day I first heard it. And honestly, I can’t say I mind. Everyone say thank you to Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Perhaps Encanto’s greatest claim to fame was how it tackled experiences yet to be seen from such a large studio. While Encanto is fantastical in nature, it captures the real-world essence of generational trauma as well as the lifestyles and experiences of living in multi-generational households, something many people of color are able to resonate with. It also captures the beauty of Colombian culture, something that had yet to be seen in a Disney production until now.
My only hitch with Encanto, and it seems that many online agree with me, is the ending. While it rightfully ended on a positive note, it felt almost rushed, as though everything was solved a bit too quickly and much too easily. Complex family relationships means years of bitterness and trauma to untangle and heal from, and a single wholesome moment just doesn’t cut it. Then again, this is also a movie aimed at kids, and overall the ending wasn’t that bad, so maybe an overly happy ending is to be expected.
Overall, I highly recommend you watch Encanto. With its breathtaking animation, excellent plot and characters, and catchy music that you’ll have in your playlist for months, it’s an experience you won’t forget and certainly won’t regret.