A charming gift


Image via Disney

The new movie “Encanto,” which translates to “charm,” lives up to its meaning. The new release movie hit the big screens Nov. 24, and the storyline and characters are fantastic.

The movie industry often ignores cultural representation, casting actors who misrepresent different ethnicities, races and cultures, often reinforcing stereotypes or Eurocentric beauty standards, creating an ongoing and problematic exclusion of minorities from popular culture. But the majority, if not all, of the actors starring in “Encanto” are Colombian and pay homage to the culture, adding authenticity to the film and an insight into Colombian traditions and home life. 

The Madrigals are a mystical family secluded in an enchanted village called Encanto. Once they reach a certain age, each member of the family is gifted a power; however, Mirabel does not receive one, leaving her to feel left out all her life.  

Mirabel, the main character, experiences struggles with belonging, which are captured through her life, as she lives as an outsider to her family. Until an opportunity appears where she can prove to herself she is useful to the family, Mirabel feels her presence brings destruction. Mirabel’s ventures prove she can save the family’s magic, which teaches the audience that everyone serves a purpose, whether they sense it or not. 

Actress Stephanie Beatriz, who grew up in Argentina with a Bolivian mother and a Columbian father, moves the audience in her portrayal of Mirabel. Throughout the movie, Mirabel functions as the family’s therapist, referee and hero. Standing on the sidelines of her family life, Mirabel holds back tears at times and Beatriz’s voice captures this beautifully. Longing to shine, she waits for her chance, and as soon as that chance appears, she takes it. From a useless being to finding her true power, Mirabel undergoes remarkable self-growth and discovery. 

“Encanto” is full of magical, mystical spirits, which spark liveliness on the screen. The animation is brilliant, and the visual effects, vibrant colors and vivid animations bring the movie from good to great. 

At this age, teens around the globe search for their significance. We see on social media the “perfect person” and idolize them as who we wish to be. Sometimes, we compare and look down on ourselves because we do not have the same characteristics as our idols. Throughout the movie, however, we notice the people we believe to be “perfect” deal with many battles we do not know about, a message that resonates with the audience.

As Mirabel begins her adventures, her sibling, Luisa, gifts her the power of super-strength. While Mirabel bugs Luisa about what she knows in regards to their family’s magic, Luisa breaks down. As Luisa sings about her struggles, Mirabel realizes her “perfect” sibling deals with her own mental battles. 

“Encanto” is a showpiece that proves that no matter if they show or not, we possess gifts. I can confidently state that “Encanto” is a new, magnificent and powerful story.