“Encanto” in Review

Ben Kearney, Campus Life Reporter

From trending on TikTok to topping the Billboard charts, Disney’s “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” from their latest movie “Encanto” has taken the world by storm, as has the movie itself. With catchy rhythms, dynamic characters and beautiful animation, there is a lot to love about the Family Madrigal and their magical casita. 

“Encanto” is unlike many of Disney’s other movies, with magical realism and the pain of intergenerational trauma at its core.

It features songs written by Lin-Manuel Miranda (“Hamilton,” “In the Heights,” “Moana”). Miranda’s songwriting casts a dynamic not seen in most animated movies. Each song has “a rhythm of its own design,” to quote from the first song by the main character Mirabel, portrayed by Stephanie Beatriz (“Brooklyn-Nine-Nine”).

In the opening song, “The Family Madrigal,” Mirabel explains her family’s various gifts, culminating in the fact that Mirabel herself was not given a gift. As she is still “Waiting for a Miracle,” Mirabel discovers the miracle is dying, and with it, the magical house as well. Abuela Madrigal (María Cecilia Botero/Olga Merediz*) does not believe Mirabel and ignores Mirabel’s discovery, leading Mirabel to search for answers on her own. 

Throughout the movie, Mirabel continues to look for a way to stop Miracle from dying, generating some of the best songs in the movie, including “Surface Pressure.” The song depicts the world Mirabel’s older sister Luisa (Jessica Darrow) inhabits within the walls of the Madrigals. I personally love the Titanic reference in the second verse, and who wouldn’t love the inclusion of the donkeys?

The next song is TikTok hit “We Don’t Talk About Bruno,” which gives the audience a variety of colorful opinions on the Madrigal’s lost Tio, Bruno (John Leguizamo). I personally love the rise of the song and the unique melodies given to all the characters. My favorite moment in this particular song is Isabella’s verse. She was “feeling her oats” as drag queen Gia Gunn famously said.

Speaking of Isabella (Diane Guerrero), her song “What Else Can I Do?” describes her power to grow flowers and her desire to not always be perfect.

The ending song, “All of You” is a perfect example of a happy ending where every character is able to finally express their true selves.

“Encanto” is by far one of the best animated movies to have come out within the last few years. The music is lively, the characters are distinctive, and there is great humor—it is everything a family movie should be. Miranda’s lyrics complement the music scored by Germaine Franco (“Coco”), and the choreography (created by dancer Jamal Sims of “RuPaul’s Drag Race”) make the atmosphere of each song unique and whimsical. If you haven’t seen Encanto yet, I highly recommend watching it via Disney+. That is, if “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” is not already stuck in your head.


*The voice of Alma Madrigal is performed by María Cecilia Botero, but her lyrics are sung by Olga Merediz (“In the Heights”, both Broadway & 2021 Movie).