Encanto’s sings its family story


Illustrated by Lindsay Estrada

Encanto’s story centers around the miraculous candle that gives the Madrigal’s magical abilities.

Lindsay Estrada, Reporter

Following the classic premise of a Disney film, Encanto’s colorful story tackles a theme the company hadn’t done in a children’s movie —  intergenerational trauma. 

Hidden in the mountains of Colombia, lays the village Encanto, home of the extraordinary Madrigals. Powerful gifts, from a miraculous candle, are bestowed to each member of the family, except Mirabel (voiced by Stephanie Beatriz).

The beginning of Encanto follows the journey of grand-daughter Mirabel, as she tries to overcome her status as the black sheep of the family. Suddenly, Mirabel witnesses an unknown force jeopardizing the Madrigal’s magic and home. It’s up to her to investigate and save the miracle. 

Directed by Jared Bush and Byron Howard, with Charise Castro Smith as co-director who worked on other Disney films, such as Tangled and Zootopia (Bush and Howard) and Castro in Raya and the Last Dragon. The directors use this experience to their advantage, keeping Encanto under that “magical Disney feel” while still maintaining its story. 

The music and animation of Encanto is unique from the other films in the company, implementing dance elements to the music influenced by the movie’s composer, Lin-Manuel Miranda, whose work, Hamilton, has reached Broadway. 

Many of the songs unravel the story behind the Madrigals and how they present to the world. For example, The Family Madrigal starts off by Mirabel showing the village children the different abilities of the family. A perfect demonstration of the Madrigal family for outsiders to hear. 

Yet as the movie progresses, the problems hidden within the family emerge. Many of the Madrigals struggle with their purpose and identity, often dealing with pressure from the village and matriarch Alma. 

This is best illustrated by Surface Pressure and What Else Can I Do, as the older granddaughters of the family, Luisa (played by Jessica Darrow) and Isabela (Diane Guerrero), lament the feelings of stress from the expectations brought on by their powers. 

Other songs of the film further develop the family and the dynamic between them. A great example in the movie is We Don’t Talk About Bruno, which has earned the no.1 spot of “Song Of The Year.” 

The music tells the tale of infamous uncle, Bruno Madrigal (John Leguizamo), who possesses the ability to see the future. Different members of the family tell their personal experience with him, explaining why Bruno is the outcast. 

Encanto does a wonderful job addressing intergenerational trauma in a simple understandable way. Exploring this theme through the characters and making sure there is someone for the audience to relate to. 

The representation of a Colombian family dealing with unaddressed issues is really special for Latino children, who could be dealing with a similar home life. Encanto gives an important lesson about trauma and how it can go down generations, encouraging them to be the one to break the cycle.