‘Encanto’: Finding Magic Right at Home

Disney Animation’s latest film warms hearts and breaks records after streaming success.

Janice Aragon

Any audience loves a movie that makes them feel seen. That’s what Disney’s Encanto is all about: following a young girl trying to stand out in a family of superpowered individuals. In the extensive Madrigal family, every viewer can relate to at least one of these characters as they discover that value doesn’t lie in what they can do for others, but rather in what they want for themselves.

On her journey to prove herself to her relatives, she navigates the struggles that lie behind each of their seemingly successful lives. Taking the internet by storm with catchy music, relatable dynamics, and a diverse cast, this movie has snatched a place among the Disney classics. 

Diverse not just in story, the “Encanto” cast displays a variety of skin tones and hair types. As Disney’s first film with a Latina lead, it is exciting to see the rest of the cast is just as colorful.

Many children and adults alike felt joy at finally seeing someone like them in a feature film, especially an animated one. People are hoping this is just the beginning of a trend that allows everyone to be represented in their favorite movies. 

“I think representation is important because children will be introduced to people who look like them portrayed as heroes and magical beings just as much as children with lighter skin tones,” said Elsy Hernandez, a senior. 

“Growing up, Latinos only really had Dora the Explorer and Diego to look up to,” said Samantha Figueroa, another senior. “Now, studios like Disney are creating movies for every kind of kid.”  

The film’s music has also become popular households around the world. The score displays Lin-Manuel Miranda’s talent once again, with combining cultural traditions with modern music styles.

It took Miranda five years to compose the soundtrack, but it paid off. The movie’s soundtrack sits at the top of the music charts, with ‘We Don’t Talk About Bruno’ surpassing the billboard record for Disney on their Top 100. 

Initially released in theatres on November 24, “Encanto” didn’t become a household name until it was released on Disney plus in late December. Since the beginning of the pandemic and push to at-home streaming, most movie hits seem to see success during online releases versus theatre ones. 

In a poll conducted by CivicScience, 56% of adults said they would prefer to watch new releases from the comfort of home versus a movie theatre. Many view the push for home streaming as a positive, as it allows for greater accessibility to content, and representation. But for movies destined for a not-as-momentous following, a streaming-only release could spell major losses for studios and their animators. 

No matter the platform, viewers are looking forward to this new era of cinema; one that’s just as diverse and unique as the world we live in.