Film Review: Encanto

Me throughout the entirety of Encanto: “shouldn’t it be Me Encanto?” having escaped my 4 years of high school Spanish completely unaware that encanto isn’t always a conjugation of the verb for “to love.” But you know what? I’ll stand by my initial reaction to the title, because boy did I love this movie. 

First Things First: There are WAY too many butterflies in this movie and I hate it. 

Brief Thoughts: Butterfly infestation aside, there’s little not to love about Encanto. It’s just full of so much life, personality, color, and heart in both the animation style and characters that make up the magical Madrigal family. It’s such a fun time, and though it may wrap up a bit quickly once things come to a head, and the message of the film is as typical as they come, I clearly still needed to hear it considering I was already tearing up with Mirabel’s early song about being left behind by the rest of her gifted family thanks to how unexceptional she has been made to feel.

Favorite Line: “Maybe your gift is being in denial.”

Quick Questions: 

  • We get to see a few of the magically infused rooms, but I need to know what the rest of them look like! Is Luisa’s room full of weights when what she really needs is a spa? Is Dolores’ room soundproof to give her a reprieve from the constant auditory stimuli? Is Julieta’s room full of medicinal herbs and cast aside beekeeper gear that her husband refuses to wear even though they clearly hate him? I don’t even know what to guess for a shapeshifter or weather manipulator.
  • Speaking of rooms: Who is responsible for Mirabel never getting to move out of the nursery? Is it her family? If they can’t make alterations to the magic house, is it the house’s fault? If the house is only capable of moving the smaller parts that make it up but can’t make additions either, is it the candle’s fault? I bet it’s that bitch candle, with its stupid butterfly. That said, her family can definitely be blamed for the fact that she’s not included on the portrait wall since she didn’t have a special door to pose in front of.

Favorite Song: Gun to my head and I’d probably say “Dos Oruguitas” because I love a good tragedy (yes, I know there are butterflies in it; I am nothing if not inconsistent!), but honestly there is not one song I’ve skipped while listening to the soundtrack, and every one of them has been stuck in my head numerous times over the past week. Which, considering Lin Manuel Miranda is responsible for them, is far from shocking. Dude is talented! Visually I’ll say the musical number that stands out the most is Luisa’s song “Surface Pressure,” as the representational images of the strain and responsibility she feels give me major frenetic, Aladdin’s Genie vibes (though admittedly Luisa’s brawny shoulders further this comparison along). But seriously, every single song is a bop as they add more context to each character and the turmoil they hide. Seriously, I would’ve probably hated the grandmother had it not been for “Dos Oruguitas,” because we get to better understand why she holds so tightly to “earning” this miracle and the man who sacrificed everything to bring it forth.

Final Thoughts: Thank goodness a few of my friends all started gushing about Encanto following its Disney+ release; considering I hadn’t seen much about it otherwise, I would’ve likely missed out on what quickly became my favorite animated film out of 2021, and one of the most charming films from the year, period. 

—— Bonus Rounds ——

Favorite Random Piece of IMDB Trivia: “Alan Tudyk who voices Hei Hei in Moana (2016) lends his talents once again as Antonio’s Toucan.” (It should be known this toucan has zero dialog.)

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