“A young Colombian woman has to face the frustration of being the only member of her family without magical powers”

Director: Jared Bush, Byron Howard, Charise Castro Smith
Writer: Charise Castro Smith, Jared Bush, Byron Howard, Jason Hand, Nancy Kruse, Lin-Manual Miranda
Staring: Stephanie Beatriz, Maria Cecilla Botero, John Leguizamo
Release Date: November 24, 2021

Encanto is a classic Disney story in the ilk that it centers around a family that is lovable but is struggling from something they need to learn to understand. Abuela Alma (Maria Cecilia Botero) is the grandmother of this family and through a sad story, she was bestowed a magical house to grow a family and community. Now, members of the family when born are given a magical gift, whether it be talking to animals, being super strong and being the most magical florist of all time.

Now, there is one unlucky person who was not given a gift, and that is the hero of the story, Mirabel (Stephanie Beatriz). Un-ironically the one person without a power is the most confident in herself and the feeling she has that the magic of her families house is in jeopardy. She embarks on a journey to try and save her family which leads to reconciling relationships, sharp understandings and heartfelt emotional moments.

Encanto scared me when Bruno (John Leguizamo) told Mirabel that she needs to hug Isabela (Diane Guerrero) in order to save the magic and miracle. I was scared that Encanto was just going to borrow from Frozen (2013) and have the idea of a sisterly bond to save the day. Thankfully the story veers and pins the necessary focal point on a different relationship. The connection that needs to be made is obvious, but the slight detour acts as a quick detergent to help the final reconciliation be even more emotional.

Speaking of emotions, I was able to hide the tears for nearly all of Encanto…all until the last five minutes. A fucking doorknob triggered tears for me and I was there wiping away streaks on my cheeks alone on a cold Monday afternoon.

The main lesson taken from Encanto is understanding what a miracle really is and who in your life allows for the magic of that experience to happen. A subtler deeper reading comes from the character Bruno. He is the eccentric one that doesn’t fit the mold of the family, and he has a hard time handling it. Also struggling with the different character is the elder of the family; Abuela Alma thanks that Bruno is threat to the family and drives him out without actually saying the words. At the end of the day, Bruno learns to have faith in his own gifts and Abuela learns to embrace her family despite their different approaches. if you can’t be yourself around your family, then something is really wrong.

I am not going to go on eloquently here about how eloquently Encanto is made or how it pushes the limits of animation. I am not educated enough in this movie genre to say if this movie is truly one of.a kind. What I can say is that Encanto is a gorgeous movie that embraces a colorful pallet that is indicative of the vibrant culture this movie shows off. The character of Isabela easily illustrates this beauty best with her natural gift of flowers, but is oozed through out the movie as a whole.

The one thing that is undeniable about Encanto are that it’s songs are amazing. They move with pace and there are very few that drag at any moment in time. The original songs are all done by Lin-Manuel Miranda it really does make feel like his frantic energy is pasted across all the different songs. There is a very safe chance that he will be honored with a second Oscar nomination; his first was for the original song “How Far I’ll Go” from Moana (2016).

My favorite song is Surface Pressure, which is sung by the Jessica Darrow. Seems like i am aligned with the public seeing how it has 93 millions views on YouTube.

Encanto is the best animated movie I have seen this year and will be a front runner for Best Animated Feature, Best Sound, Best Original Score and Best Original Song come the Academy Awards. But beyond the possible accolades, Encanto is delightful for the entire family. It has the colors and the flare for the kids, but also the deeper lessons that anyone can take something from.

STANKO RATING: A (4.5/5 Stars)

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