Why Encanto Captures the Hispanic Experience

The animated musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios has become a cultural phenomenon.

When I left the theater last month I immediately thought: I wanted to see the film again, and I wanted my parents to see it.

As a Hispanic person, I was happy to be getting more representation on the big screen and I found this movie to be very accurate. 

The movie is set in Colombia and follows the protagonist Mirabel who comes from a very special family: the Madrigals. Everyone born into the family after Abuela (her grandmother) receives a gift that they use to serve the community.

At the beginning of the movie, Mirabel breaks into song and gives us information about her awesome family. Her eldest sister, Isabella, is the embodiment of perfection and can grow flowers at will, her other sister, Luisa, possesses superhuman strength. Her mother, Julieta, can heal people with the food she cooks, her aunt has the ability to control the weather based on her emotions, and her eldest cousin, Dolores, has superhuman hearing.

Her youngest cousin, Antonio, will receive his gift that evening, and that’s how the movie begins to show the conflict. After the song, Mirabel tells us that her gift hadn’t been revealed yet and that she is the only grandchild who did not receive one.

We learn that even though she tries to do her part in the community, she is constantly pushed to the side. 

In addition to the depiction of the characters, the songs in Encanto are phenomenal. 

These songs are not only catchy, but they also show the personal issues the characters are facing.

“Surface Pressure” by Luisa explains the pressure she feels like the “strong one.” Not only to be strong physically, but also emotionally. She feels that she needs to be able to handle every burden that comes her way.

“What Else Can I Do” by Isabella explains how she is constantly on a pedestal as the perfect sister and how that makes her feel restrained.

The songs are currently trending on different platforms such as TikTok.