By: Ashley Young — Correspondent
Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Encanto hit the theaters on November 24, 2021 but didn’t get much attention until it debuted on Disney+ on December 24, 2021. Not only has the movie taken over the hearts of children all over the world, but the soundtrack has topped music charts as well.
Encanto shares the story of the gifted Madrigal family who live in the magical Encanto hidden in the mountains of Colombia. When Abuela Alma fled her village, the tragic loss of her husband resulted in a miracle in the form of a candle which granted the children their powers. Each member of the family has their own unique ability except for Maribel, and it is up to her to save the magic and the rest of her family when it is in danger.
Encanto earned three Oscar nominations—Best Animated Film, Best Original Score, and Best Original Song—and it won best animated film at the Golden Globes.
Lin-Manuel Miranda, the composer of the animation’s soundtrack, says he mainly used the songs as a way for viewers to get to know the characters individually and never imagined the songs would take over music charts.
“There are songs in this that don’t have a lot of animated precedent in their forms because there were ways of solving [the] challenge of understanding the relationships among all of these people under this one roof,” said Miranda in an interview with The Wrap.
The two top songs of the movie are the opening number which explains the family tree, “The Family Madrigal,” and “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” which explains the family’s dynamic in relation to the estranged family member Bruno.
“Those two songs are problem-solving in terms of, how do you get your arms around this whole family? It’s delightful that ‘We Don’t Talk About Bruno’ is the crazy number one hit, but that would never have been my pick. It was my way of just getting to know these other folks who we know we’re not going to have as much screen real estate with,” said Miranda.
Senior Savvy Gray is a fan of the movie’s music but since she is older than the target audience, she thinks the plot is very basic.“I think the soundtrack is really good and theatrical but still catchy. The plot on the other hand is boring,” said Gray.
SHS Language Coordinator Ms. Maureen Magnan showed the movie in her Spanish V film course. She says the movie is a good fit for the curriculum as the movie expresses the different and diverse aspects of Colombian culture and dynamic familial relationships.
The members of the Madrigal family use their powers to help those in the surrounding village; therefore, they struggle separating themselves and their purpose in life from their abilities.
“In our class, we used the songs in Spanish as an opportunity to reflect on ourselves and dive into the familial dynamics that reveal some of our common human struggles of comparison to others, finding your voice, speaking your mind, handing familial and societal pressures, supporting your family, and facing the fear of expressing how you feel,” said Magnan.
“The movie also connects to some deeper themes such as intergenerational trauma and displacement, which were seen when the Madrigals were forced to flee their village as soldiers chased after them,” added Magnan.
Although it is loved by young children for the catchy music and cool magic abilities, it also creatively delivers important themes that can be appreciated by individuals of all ages.
Senior Emma Magit analyzed the themes in Ms. Magnan’s class and thought understanding them made the movie more interesting. “The themes in the movie are advanced for its intended audience and I think kids would love it even more if they could fully understand the deeper concepts,” said Magit.
“I feel the movie highlighted the importance of loving and accepting people for who they are, faults and all, along with the will and drive to get through things together. It gave us a window into a Colombian family with character traits that we could identify in ourselves,” said Magnan.