Disney’s Encanto is spectacular, intimate, and has the best soundtrack since Frozen.
Mirabel, voiced by Stephanie Beatriz of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, instantly personable with her messy locks, geeky glasses, and loose affection, is the only member of her family who didn’t have a special power in his childhood. It has been a tradition since her home, the magical casita, came into being in the middle of the Colombian mountains in the great need of her grandmother.
With charm, a spectacular yet intimate coming-of-age fable about a magical family, Disney isn’t just giving us its first soundtrack since Frozen This will make your kids keep asking for it, but a heroine that you will sincerely strive for.
Mirabel’s sister Isabella is “Señorita Perfecta” and produces bouquets of roses everywhere; Sister Luisa is strong as an ox; Tia Pepa can control the weather with her emotions. A young, big-eyed nephew who Mirabel is particularly close to can talk to animals.
“You are just as special as everyone else,” says Mirabel’s mother. Mirabel doubts it. But when cracks appear in the casita, nobody wants to believe that the family’s magic is in danger. Only Mirabel has the courage to track down the root cause of the problem, braving dangerous temples, an estranged uncle, and the disapproval of her entire family.
Hamilton Creator Lin-Manuel Miranda is in the songwriting service and the Latin rhythms of his other stage hit (and now the film) In the heights, from salsa to tango, are all here, along with reggaeton and a style more reminiscent of stage musicals than classic Disney numbers, where the speech seeps seamlessly into and out of the song.
It’s a dizzying soundtrack with numbers that feel deeply woven into the characterization. It’s also another musical direction for Disney that involves complex ensemble pieces (Mirabel is the star, but this is neither a hero quest nor a buddy movie).
E.corner not only resist superhero narrative; it actively turns it around. In “Surface Pressure”, a brilliant song in which Luisa laments the relentless anticipation of her superpower, she asks, “Was Hercules ever like that, yo, I don’t want to fight Cerberus?”
Throughout the film, from the tragic comedy of intricate family dynamics to the bewitching anthropomorphic tricks of the casita (dancing drawers, erratic floorboards that move clocks to keep residents on time), magic is permeated with a touch of normalcy.
This is a glorious celebration of the mundane in a world that rewards and produces extraordinary. And most importantly, there is no bad guy. The only evil force to be overcome is a collective underestimation of everyday miracles.
In theaters from Friday November 26th