Encanto Is Devastatingly Beautiful and So Heartfelt
Encanto is peak cinema. That’s a hot take, but it’s hard to argue against a movie made with this level of care, skill, and storytelling effort. Top to bottom, moment to moment, I’ve not seen a movie this holistically perfect in a long time.
Now, that last comment is bound to cause someone to come out of the woodwork and point out the story is full of odd plot machinations and doesn’t quite make logical sense. And I would agree with those people. The plot is not inherently perfect as a plot, but Encanto is a movie of magic being tied to emotional truth. Taking the story as literal fails to grasp and grapple with the sharply resonant, deeply personal, and yet broadly relatable metaphors that intrinsically make Encanto a masterpiece. Far be it from me to pin one reading, one message to Encanto’s overall story. To attempt such a thing is to decode what’s supposed to appeal to the heart. Logic’s not the point.
The Storyline Is Just A Vehicle For Emotional Truth
But what makes it even more impressive is when the movie wants to tackle a specific idea, it does it with more care and nuance than Disney usually musters. Mirabel unlocking and soothing the trauma and hidden pains of characters around her, showing empathy and human kindness are more powerful than any talent, is not only emotionally beautiful, but is arguably a revolutionary stance. The “gifts” are unnecessary for the core narrative to function. They just help make Encanto one of the most visually impressive things I’ve ever seen.
While I am a diehard fan of alternative animation styles like Spider-Verse, Arcane, and ParaNorman, it’s a nigh-transcendental experience to see the peak of what Disney’s methods can look like. This is a refined stylistic approach that to even consider improvement upon is beyond my mental ability. Only raw, tremendous skill could make a house have this much personality through the movement of floorboards. The casualness of the dynamic, fluid, intricate, and lifelike movements of every character is so good, it leaves you breathless.
Encanto Has Nearly Unbeatable Animated Visuals
This pairs with the music to glorious effect. “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” has correctly been identified as an earworm—I’d argue to the likes of “Let It Go”—but that doesn’t even touch upon how stellar the dance choreography and camera work are during that scene. Encanto takes the energy of a Broadway musical and brings it into a lavish, beyond reality space where not only can strong feelings be expressed through song, but truth can be embodied through wild visuals. “Surface Pressure” has second-long moments where everything’s firing on all cylinders, coalescing a concept into a pin-you-to-your-seat spectacle of dense metaphorical meaning. “Dos Oruguitas” nearly achieves the same romantic, humanistic heights of the opening of Up. And if that doesn’t register as the most glowing thing I’ve said in this review, then you haven’t seen that movie.
Even if you don’t like Disney, watch Encanto anyway. See it anyway. Encanto does not play with cynicism, it has not a lick of ironic detachment. It is a soothing balm for bad days and hopelessness. If art can offer an escape that nonetheless allows someone to contend with real-world concepts, this is a prime case study. Encanto simply keeps getting better and more emotionally rich the longer I engage with it. If you’ve ever tasted the heights that come with theater or Disney and have longed for it again, Encanto is your ticket to that enchantment.
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