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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

In my opinion, you can never be sad while watching a Disney movie.

Disney is amazing at including so many unique elements of surprise in each film they’ve created, and their movies have grown so much. There are so many films that now include people of color and groups that were never introduced or developed before. It really helps people like me feel more connected and proud of their culture.

Recently, Disney has started incorporating films that honor people from the Latinx community, which I identify with. This was just one of the reasons I knew I had to watch Encanto. I also knew that Lin-Manuel Miranda was associated with the movie which intrigued me further. He’s a lyrical genius, a true artist and Puerto Rican just like me.

I’ve seen some of the stuff he’s created and been in that’s super impressive. Personally, I wasn’t a fan of Hamilton. You have to give credit where it’s due though, there was a lot of talent that stemmed from that movie. I just couldn’t follow the storyline, history’s always been a tough subject for me. Lin-Manuel Miranda also helped make the soundtrack for Moana, one of my favorite Disney movies because of the music. I knew the music from Encanto would also be good because the songs are ALL OVER my TikTok. “We don’t talk about Bruno” is sung in my apartment at least 10 times a day. With all that being said, I was beyond excited to get into this movie. Just letting you guys know though, there will be spoilers ahead!!

The Story

The movie starts out in Colombia. Our main character, Mirabel, is part of the Madrigal family. There’s an element of magic in her family. For as long as they can go back in their family history, everyone has had a “gift.” At the beginning of the movie, Mirabel introduces each member of her large family by explaining what gifts they have. Her sister, Luisa has insane strength. Her other sister, Isabela, could make flowers bloom wherever she went. Now, the family is celebrating her cousin, Antonio’s gift of being able to communicate with animals.

There’s a little bit of tension at this celebration because Mirabel is the only person in her family who has NOT gotten their gift. She is extremely curious to figure out why she doesn’t have one. She’s always felt like the outcast of the family because of it. Her abuela has put an immense amount of pressure on her to be perfect like her sister, Isabela, her whole life. It is also revealed that Mirabel has an uncle named Bruno, but he is not to be talked about. Mirabel investigates and finds out her uncle’s gift was seeing into the future. His gift turned out to be more like a curse.

Bruno had a vision one day that leads him to be shunned from the family. It is found out that during his vision, he saw Mirabel in front of their family home, called their casita, with cracks running down the sides. This represents how their family bond and foundation are broken. Mirabel’s gift is to fix her family. She stumbles upon her uncle Bruno, who’s been living in the walls of their casita for years, watching them make himself feel like he’s still part of the family. He was shunned and decided to leave after his vision of Mirabel because everyone thought he was crazy for having such a strange vision and didn’t want to further harm the family. He took the fall and left in order to save his family’s dynamic.

The Madrigal family’s fighting hits a peak when everyone’s built-up emotions explode, and their casita does end up cracking, just like in Bruno’s vision. This also ends up getting rid of everyone’s magical gifts. The fingers are all pointed at Mirabel, who reveals Bruno to the family, and they explain why they think their casita cracked and fell apart. At the end of the movie, all the members of the Madrigal family overcome their differences and are more of a family than ever before. Their bonds are strengthened and there are no cracks like there were before. Mirabel, her abuela, Isabela, and Bruno have heart-to-hearts and forgive each other for the harsh words they’ve spoken to each other over the years. Then, of course, the movie is ended in a song. Just like all the good Disney movies do.

My Review

I wasn’t expecting to like Encanto as much as I did. Normally, movies like this underwhelm me. I find them to be too stereotypical of what people think our culture is like. They also tend to incorrectly represent who we are.

This movie really turned that around in a lot of ways.

I really appreciated the diversity of the Madrigal family. They all had varying skin tones, which made this animated movie feel a lot more realistic. I’m pretty light-skinned for a Hispanic person, so to see people that looked more like me made me feel seen and understood. Their hair was also different colors and textures. Mirabel’s aunt actually had red hair. This just shows that not every Hispanic or Latinx person has to look the same way. There’s a super broad range of how we look, which is not shown nearly enough in media.

The Madrigal family also had varying body types. I LOVED Luisa in the movie because of this. She was such a strong female supporting character, physically and mentally. It was really empowering that she and Madrigal didn’t fit the stereotypical image of what a Disney princess is “supposed” to look like. Isabela, however, did fit the stereotypical image of a Disney princess, which was addressed in the movie. Mirabel always struggled with the pressure from their abuela to be just like Isabela and to be always perfect. After a fight with Mirabel, Isabela opened up about how she understands the pressure of always needing to be perfect. Their abuela also put a lot of pressure on her to stay perfect and she felt like she wasn’t allowed to make mistakes or be her true self. Her transformation and character development were also really empowering throughout the movie as well.

The characters in the movie were really good, as well as the cast I found out. Mirabel is voiced by a Hispanic actress that is also in Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Isabela is also played by another Hispanic actress that is in Orange Is the New Black. There’s a lot of diversity in the cast, they’re mostly from different Spanish-speaking countries, but there are people from all backgrounds included.

I also found out there’s a version of Encanto that you can watch that includes a completely Colombian cast in honor of where the movie takes place. I absolutely loved hearing this. I haven’t heard of this being done for any other movie, but I hope it starts a trend.

My only critique for the movie would probably be that there wasn’t enough of the movie specifically about Colombian culture. I wouldn’t have known the movie even took place in Colombia. I had to search for this out of my own curiosity. Other than that, it was a really awesome movie. The visuals and music were also stunning. Disney pretty much never disappoints in that field. I feel like they represented the Hispanic culture really well. The music had lots of guitars, a lot of traditional food was shown, lots of flowers and other symbols that are commonly seen. It all made me feel at home, it was a very lighthearted, feel-good movie for me even though there were heavy topics involved because of this.

I would probably give the movie a 9/10 for my final rating. Definitely added to my list of favorite Disney movies and I’ll probably rewatch it soon.

Final Thoughts

Encanto, Disney’s latest movie, was one that won’t be overlooked. It’s a movie for everyone in the family. It’s easy to relate to and will make you tear up a little, from laughing and from the sad moments. It teaches us that family is one of the most important and strongest things a person can have in their life by showing the realistic ups and downs a lot of families have, especially in the Latinx community.

It shows the journey of the average girl just trying to fit in and find her purpose while giving us iconic and beautiful songs and scenes throughout. I’m prouder of who I am after watching this movie and I am really excited to see what else Disney has to offer for our community. I hope they can also continue to do this accurately for as many cultures as they can, representation is so important, especially when we’re growing up. It has a huge impact on ourselves and how we treat others. I also hope we can continue to have not only diverse characters and cultures shown on screen but also behind the scenes. It was really important for me to see people like me being able to play main characters in Disney movies.

It gives me hope and strength to hopefully make an impact just as important in my future.  

Bella Sibenaller

Illinois State '23

Hi, my name is Bella and I'm a junior here at Illinois State. I'm a psychology major, but I'm also going into nursing. At ISU, I am also apart of the National Society for Leadership and Success and currently serve as the social chair. My hometown is Charleston, Illinois. It's a super small town south of ISU. In my free time, I enjoy hanging out with friends and Facetiming my eight year old sister. If you have any questions about Her Campus or any of the other organizations I'm involved in, please reach out! My Instagram is @bellajsib.
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