Encanto, review of the 60th Disney Classic

Encanto, review of the 60th Disney Classic


Encanto, the 60th Disney Classic, is a film directed by the duo Jared Bush and Byron Howard, former directors of Zootropolis, flanked by screenwriter Charise Castro Smith (The Haunting of Hill House). The animated film is a new adventure full of music and tells of Mirabel Madrigal, her family and her magical bond with the extraordinary Casita, their enchanted home. Encanto is set in Colombia and, through visual, narrative and sound elements, it wants to celebrate the culture and music of this nation, considered a real crossroads

of Latin America.

Subscribe now at Disney + at € 8.99 per month or € 89.90 per year The film will arrive in Italian cinemas on November 24th and will be preceded by the 2D animated short “Far from the tree”. We had the opportunity to participate in the preview screening in the original language reserved for the press: below you can read our thoughts on this colorful musical. While waiting to see this film in the room you can catch up on our interview with the authors of the film, while for fans of "behind the scenes" The Art of Encanto is available for online purchase, a volume that collects illustrations, character design and concept art of the film.

Encanto: the plot

Encanto tells the story of the Madrigals, an extraordinary family who found refuge in a small magical valley called Encanto, where, thanks to a miracle, the family is blessed with exceptional talents and a magical home. Under the guidance of Alma Madrigal, their grandmother and their wise and far-sighted matriarch, the family grows up welcoming three generations under one roof.

To every Madrigal child, Encanto gives a magical ability such as super strength, the ability to communicate with animals or the power to heal, with the exception of Mirabel, who because of her normality lives in a constant sense of inadequacy as she is forced to confront her so special relatives every day. But when the magic begins to leave her family and threaten Casita, Mirabel decides she wants to save the magic, her family and her home at all costs.

Welcome to Madrigal's house

Encanto is a film about family and the bonds that are often taken for granted. Contrary to what happens at Pixar, the family is an element that in the filmography of the Disney Classics has often been taken for granted or treated only marginally: a complement in the background or starting point of the story. Disney has explored these themes in films such as Lilo and Stitch or in the two chapters of Frozen, or in animated series (curiously aimed mainly for the South American market) such as Sofia the Princess or Elena of Avalor, where we find well-developed family plots. The Madrigal family is a large and well-assorted group within which we find 12 characters with unique personalities and characteristics. The large family unit is well characterized and thanks to a good use of the various narrative elements you immediately get the impression of knowing the different components.

The film uses the magic element as an allegory with which to portray the different souls of the family, in an elaborate metaphor that draws from the universal experience of people, translating into superhuman powers those qualities that are often associated with the members of a family; Julieta, Mirabel's mother, is able to heal people with food, Luisa, the elder sister, is characterized by the strength that the first-born of large families are often associated with, Isabel with her flowers is the personification of the perfect son and favorite.

In her being perfectly ordinary, Mirabel is therefore the ideal protagonist who at first is looking for personal revenge. The desire to save her family and magic is initially a way to show that she too is capable of extraordinary feats, however as the story unfolds, our heroine will acquire awareness and wisdom that will help her reflect on the perception that everyone has. their role within their family and how this can be perceived by others. Mirabel has always lived in the shadow of her cumbersome relatives, but what if the others lived constantly feeling the weight of others' expectations on them?

Atmosphere and tone: Encanto's Magic Realism

The main source of inspiration for Encanto is the literary current of Magical Realism, a genre that keeps its roots firmly anchored in a real context enriched by the presence of magical or supernatural elements. It is a genre commonly associated with Latin American culture and which sees its leading authors in Gabriel García Márquez and Isabel Allende.

While drawing inspiration from a literary vein, the film is a lighter version of both atmospheres and in the staging, as it leaves out the darker and darker implications that animate the novels of Magical Realism, making this story also suitable for children and families. For most of the film we are presented with joyful situations with extraordinary colors and cheerful and sunny music in order to perfectly counterbalance the most dramatic and significant moments of the story.

An emotional musical

After the break with Raya and the Last Dragon, Disney therefore returns to the musical genre, involving two incredibly talented personalities for this operation: Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton, In the Heights, Oceania) for the songs and Germaine Franco (Coco, Dora and the Lost City) for the orchestral part. The film features a total of eight original songs (plus a reprise version), whose role is to present the emotions and conflicts that animate and upset this extraordinary family.

The music in Encanto reflects a complex interweaving, based on a rather dark background, with songs that are inspired by the Colombian tradition with some modern and international contamination and which at first listening / viewing may not be immediately metabolized as "typical Disney songs". This aspect perhaps plays to the detriment of one of the most distinctive aspects of the Disney Classics, artistic legacy of the late Howard Ashman, however in deconstructing this aspect Miranda gives life to songs strongly linked to the vision of this film.

A first sign deviation from the classic canon of the musical is the presence of Waiting on a Miracle, the song with which Mirabel establishes a first bond with the public, in which the functions of the classic "I Want Song" and "I am Song" are condensed into a single number capable of transmitting the restlessness and personal turmoil of this new protagonist. Mirabel's sisters also have the opportunity to express themselves with a song and in Surface Pressure for Luisa and What Else Can I Do? for Isabel we have the opportunity to discover the most intimate and controversial aspects of their special gifts.

It must be said that there is not a total absence of cheerful songs that can immediately catch on, just think of the opening track The Family Madrigal (whose infectious melody immediately sounds immediate and familiar from the first listen) or the funny and choral We Don't Talk About Bruno in which the whole village gathers to gossip about the mysterious uncle Bruno.

The song the most significant of this film is undoubtedly the touching Dos Oruguitas, which with its notes accompanies the viewer in the most climatic moment of the film, thus reflecting the vocation of this story that puts the complexity of its characters and their emotions in the first place .


Encanto is a profound and meaningful film in which action and adventure completely give way to more complex and intimate themes, such as one's role within the own f amiglia and how this can be perceived by others.

This film differs from the previous Classics thanks to some artistic choices, such as the number of main characters, the depth and development of the topics covered and a strong soundtrack linked to the setting of the film. Encanto will be able to thrill the little ones with its magical atmospheres and its unusual characters but it will also captivate adults for its themes and its deepest messages.

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