Disney’s ‘Encanto’ provides representation, entertainment for all ages

After its Nov. 2021 release, Encanto quickly became one of the most talked-about movies of 2021. The movie follows Mirabel, voiced by Stephanie Beatriz, the only non-magical member of a family full of people with magical powers. However, when her family’s magic starts to fade, it’s up to Mirabel to save the day. Encanto was the highest-grossing animated movie of the year, with the movie’s song We Don’t Talk about Bruno, written by Lin Manuel Miranda, was stuck in everyone’s head, reaching #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. When considering why Encanto was so resonant among so many viewers, one reason could be the message of living authentically that Encanto puts out. 

“My favorite part was the scene where Mirabel is trying to hug Isabela and make up after she ruined Isabela’s wedding. It shows Isabela breaking out of her perfect mold and Mirabel connecting with her sister through this new discovery. It’s a powerful scene, because, throughout the movie, it is clear that the sisters despise each other, but because Isabela is finally expressing her true self, the sisters start to come together,” sophomore Tyler Tang explains. 

Encanto says that a person can be themselves and that people will love them for who they really are.

Another reason for Encanto’s swirling popularity could be the music. Disney movies are known for their memorable music, but Encanto takes it a step further, featuring songs with messages that everyone can relate to. 

Freshman David Polish shares that his favorite song is Surface Pressure.“It is… a good reminder to not let the weight of the world hang on our shoulders.” 

Surface Pressure is sung by Mirabel’s sister, Luisa, played by Jessica Darrow. Luisa’s gift is incredible strength, but the gift comes with a heavy burden that she’s struggling to carry. She’s expected to stay strong and never complain, but the pressure of her family’s expectations is too strong. This is a problem that people face every day and gives Encanto a relatable and compelling edge.

Finally, representation of the Colombian community is a key factor that has made this film popular and special. Walt Disney Productions has not been known for its diversity, in fact, since Snow White and the Seven Dwarves came out in 1937, there have been just 11 animated features in which the main character is not white

“It was really special to see similar features, skin tone and hair to mine,” junior Adriana Merriam shares. 

Regarding family, Merriam notes that the film’s message about how families can overcome great struggles together really stuck with her. 

“I felt like that [message] was really important,” Merriam acknowledges.

  There are many aspects we can attribute to Encanto’s success: inclusion and celebration of Hispanic culture, brilliant music and uplifting messages about being true to yourself. However, the real magic comes in the combination of these things; one factor cannot stand alone. For these reasons, we encourage you to explore Disney’s Encanto and learn more about the Madrigal family—after all, they are “A perfect constellation / so many stars and everybody gets to shine.”