With Encanto finally arriving on Disney+, we are excited to release our review and FAQ for parents!
Having been an enormous fan of Coco and loving Disney’s films that shine light on other cultures, I had high hopes for Encanto – but it does it live up to the hype, and how does it compare with other movies Disney has released this year?
In this article, I’ll cover everything parents need to know, as well as share my thoughts on the movie.
Note: This article contains minor spoilers, but nothing that would ruin the viewing of this film.
Encanto Plot Summary
The Madrigral family lives in an isolated village inside of Colombia, inside of a magical place called the Encanto.
Within the Encanto, each child of the family has a special ceremony, where the child is given a magical gift used to aid and protect the people living in the village. Everyone except the main character Mirabel, that is.
Mirabel, having not been given a gift and suffering feelings of inadequacy, strives to help out and prove her value where she can. When the magic inside of the Encanto is threatened, Mirabel takes it upon herself – against her family’s wishes, to fix the problem, save the magic, and protect her family.
What Parents Need To Know About Encanto
Encanto has been given a rating of PG. Breaking down all information by category, here is what we feel parents should know before watching Encanto with their children.
Violence: A flashback is shown of Mirabel’s grandparents being pursued and forced out of their village by armed men. In the same scene, the grandfather is implied to be murdered, though the death isn’t shown. Mirabel gets into an argument with her grandmother, involving yelling. Mirabel cuts her hand, and the cut is shown.
Language: Mirabel refers to her sister as “stupid perfect.” No other foul language was used in the film.
Emotional: Distress and arguments within the family are highlighted throughout the movie. Mirabel suffers feelings of inadequacy, worthlessness, and if she does not belong in her own family. Mirabel is left out of important events. A character named Bruno is banished from the family, but deeply desires to remain a part of it. There are two scenes that may be scary to young children, where their house begins to crack, crumble, and eventually breaks entirely. In the scene alluding to the grandfather’s death, he is seen kissing his children goodbye, while his wife is forced to go on without him.
Sexual Content: A couple is seen being affectionate to each other, including kissing.
Substance Abuse: A boy is seen drinking coffee after being told not to – then experiencing a caffeine rush. A family does a toast, but the film does not suggest that the drink is alcoholic.
Political: There are no political references or undertones in this film.
Lessons / Morals: A lack of love, trust and belief in others can hurt families. Everyone is valuable for who they are, not just the benefits they can offer to others. Empathy and acceptance go a long way to helping people. Family members should put aside their differences and work through grudges. Everyone, including those close to us are all facing their own internal struggles, that may not be apparent to others.
People can have good intentions, and still cause pain to those around them (the grandmother for example believes she is doing what she must to protect her family, due to her past trauma. However, in doing so, she ends up hurting the way Mirabel feels about herself.)
Other: The grandmother is seen as very strict with the way Mirabel should behave. Mirabel’s father encourages her to hide something from her grandmother.
People that may be more strongly affected by this movie include:
- Children who feel overshadowed by their siblings.
- Children suffering feelings of inadequacy or lack of value, particularly in a social context.
- People who feel as if they have no talent, or nothing to offer to the world.
- Children without a grandfather.
I had high hopes for Encanto going into it, and after finishing the movie I have mixed feelings.
On one hand, I feel that Disney did a great job portraying the core lessons behind the film. The pain that Mirabel was experiencing was something that will surely resonate with a lot of people, and the film did a good job of showing us (and her) that she is valuable even without any sort of magical gift.
I also liked the way that the film portrayed her grandmother, even if I wish she would have a little bit more of a redemption arc. Early in the film, she is seen almost as a villainous character – her strict demeanor, rude behavior towards Mirabel and her attempts to cover up the problems with the magic in Encanto almost make her seem like a bad, selfish person.
Later in the movie, when we learn about her past and the terrible things she experienced, we discover why she became this way, and how she continued to carry this trauma with her – which is then unfortunately, pushed onto others. She thinks that she’s doing what she must to keep the family safe, even if she is the one hurting them unintentionally.
The colors pop, the animation is wonderful, and the scoring behind the film is quite good. While the songs are a bit too fast and have a bit too many lyrics to be memorable straight away, the lyrics themselves are nice, and the songs are fun. While your kids aren’t going to be singing them over and over again, they definitely get better on the 2nd or 3rd listen.
Where the movie falls flat however is in the overall story, and character development. In my opinion, there are too many characters, each with their own gift – it is difficult to remember all of them, and the beginning of the film works hard to try and help you by repeating the same things over and over again. The movie just isn’t long enough for each character to have much development and even after it was over, I still wasn’t entirely sure what everyone’s name was.
The movie lacks a clear villain as well as any sort of quest – Mirabel never leaves her village. This isn’t a problem per say, but it doesn’t really feel like a whole lot happens during the movie, which may make it difficult for younger kids to follow along with the story. Right when it’s picking up, the answer to save Encanto’s magic is revealed, and there is practically no struggle for it to be carried out.
In other words, right when it felt like the ‘big events’ were about to begin, the movie was already ending.
Personally, I enjoyed this movie because it made me think about how I talk with others, and the things that they may be feeling. I am not sure it would be the most captivating to young children due to the weak storyline and lack of large events.
What Is Encanto Rated?
Encanto has been given a rating of ‘PG’ by the CARA. For details that parents may want to know about, refer to the section above.
What Was Encanto’s Release Date?
Encanto was released in theaters on November 24th, 2021 and first appeared on Disney+ one month later on December 24th, 2021.
How Long Is Encanto?
The running time for Encanto is 1 hour and 39 minutes.
Where Is Encanto Set?
Encanto is set in the mountains of Colombia, inside of an isolated village.
Who Is The Cast Of Encanto?
The cast of Encanto’s main characters is as following:
- Mirabel – Stephanie Beatriz
- Abuela – Maria Cecilia Botero
- Bruno – John Leguizamo
- Isabela – Diane Guerrero
- Luisa – Jessica Darrow
- Camilo – Rhenzy Feliz
- Pepa – Carolina Gaitán
- Julieta – Angie Cepeda
- Dolores – Adassa
- Agustín – Wilmer Valderrama
What Does Encanto Mean In English?
In English, the word ‘encanto’ means charm, which Cambridge dictionary defines as, ‘pleasant quality or attraction.’
What Age Is Encanto Best Suited For?
While kids as young as 5 will enjoy the colors and lovely animation, the story may be difficult to follow for kids younger than 7. Very young children may have a hard time staying engaged in the story – though musical pieces are frequent throughout. Admittedly, it’s much easier to have this playing in the background at home, then to ask young children to sit still in the theaters for over an hour and a half!
Where Can You Watch The Movie Encanto?
Currently, Encanto is available on Disney Plus and Amazon Prime Video. It will also be available on DVD and Blu-ray as of February 8th, 2022.
We hope that you’ve enjoyed my review of Disney’s Encanto.
In this article, I’ve tried to cover everything that parents should know before watching this movie with their children. Of course, if you have any questions about Encanto or there’s anything you feel we should add, please let us know through the comment form below.
Thank you, and I hope you enjoy it!