December Movie Review: Encanto Summary & Beyond



Encanto movie poster

Disney has done it again with Encanto, a magically entertaining animation with a strong Latinx representation. Although the movie was released back in November, it became available to families at home with Disney+ this 2021 Christmas Eve. 

The movie surrounds a girl named Mirabel and her gifted family, known as the Madrigals. Each family member has a special gift given to them by the magical candle that saved their Abuela’s life many years ago. Their gifts range from healing powers to prophecy readings. Mirabel’s character at the beginning of the movie doesn’t have a gift, leaving her feeling left out of her impressive family. As the movie continues, it is revealed that she arguably has the strongest power of all as she saves the Madrigal’s magic candle, casita, and manages to keep everyone else’s powers thriving. 

However, this movie is much more than a sweet family animation, as it offers positive Latinx representation in mainstream media. Jose Maria Luna from Polygon says that the animated film highlights the aspects of Columbian culture that many overlook. Americans look at Columbians and other Latinx cultures as “slumdogs,” or violent and drug addicted, because the only other mainstream Columbian representation we have here are shows like Narcos on Netflix. Luna explains how Mirabel’s pursuit to find acceptance in her own home reflects the true struggle Columbians feel trying to find home in their broken country. Abuela and her husband running away from their raided village mirrors Columbian displacement following the militia they call The Violence. 

In the same way that we see the Madrigals survive after the near-loss of their entire family, Disney’s Encanto urges us to do the same when looking at Columbians. The mainstream media needs to stop looking at how they were negatively affected by their displacement, and rather highlight their resiliency and their ability to continue surviving after such hardships. The representation of Latinx in Encanto teaches the older generations to drop the negative stereotypes about the Latinx community and opens doors for the younger generations of Latinx kids to feel proud of their heritage.