'Encanto' on Disney+ Reminds Us Just How Powerful Latinx Families Are
After its theatrical release in November 2021, Disney's latest animated musical, Encanto, is now on Disney+ for all to watch from the comfort of our own homes. A true story about family, this fantasy musical shines a light on Latinx culture in ways that feel both complex and familiar.
Set in the lush mountains of Colombia, Encanto is the story of the Madrigal family, whose members live in an enchanted house and are each endowed with a unique superpower that helps keep their community thriving. The film pays tribute to Colombian literary giant Gabriel García Márquez's genre of magical realism, while showcasing the country's rich musical traditions (with new songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda), its amazing cuisine, and the natural wonders of the Colombian cordillera.
Yet, even with its many distinctly Colombian elements at its core, Encanto is an homage to multigenerational Latinx families everywhere. In fact, co-writer and director Jared Bush has said that each of the movie's characters was inspired by a universal archetype, which explains why the characters are so relatable.
The Madrigals remind us that even though our Latinx families may be imperfect, they are proud, resilient, and beautiful. Here's a glimpse into some of the magical characters that will have you and your niños wanting to watch Encanto on Disney+ over and over again.
Abuela Alma: The Matriarch
Like many Latinx families, the Madrigals are a matriarchal clan. The family's power rests with Abuela Alma, the Keeper of the Candle, who has no gift of her own, but devotedly guards the flame that gives her children and grandchildren their supernatural abilities. Whether it's a grandmother or an aunt who raised you, we all have that relative who has experienced life in a way we never had to. They will sacrifice everything to protect the family from ever having to endure harder times.
Julieta: The Exceptional Cook
Food is the glue that bonds all Latinx families—and there tends to be at least one cook whose food is legendary and everyone associates with home and comfort. In Encanto, that person is Julieta, one of Alma's three children and herself a mother of three. Julieta can heal any ailment with her cooking, which reminds us that in our cultures, food is nurturing in more ways than one.
Luisa: The Pillar
It seems that every Latinx family has that relative they can lean on when life gets rough and who shoulders burdens while rarely asking for help. In Encanto, that role belongs to the tough and unflappable Luisa, one of Julieta's three daughters. She possesses a superhuman strength that is both physical (she can lift boulders and buildings!) and emotional.
Isabela: The Golden Child
Luisa's sister, the lovely Isabela, might be best described as "the perfect one," which comes with plenty of pressure and expectations. Fittingly, Isabela's power allows her to create beautiful flowers out of thin air. She is that first-generation sibling or cousin who has all the goals—but it's not until she learns to stop pleasing everyone around her and pave her own way, that she becomes her best self.
Camilo: The Jokester
Camilo is the most mischievous of the Madrigals, as his shapeshifting power allows him to impersonate other members of the family, which makes for great pranks. Even though he is only 15, he reminds us of that hilarious tio whose corny jokes spark a chain reaction of belly laughs. The holidays just wouldn't be the same without his antics.
With such authentic characters, Encanto on Disney+ celebrates the strengths, dynamics, and complexities of Latinx families, making it an instant classic.