Once upon a magical candle

Yemi Mahmood

More stories from Yemi Mahmood

Saving planet Earth
April 28, 2022

Magical powers and enchanted houses-these are key elements in Disney’s new movie Encanto. The film tells the intergenerational story of the Madrigals, a family that uses magical powers for the good of their community. 

“The movie is really cool. I watched it with my siblings, and I really liked the visuals and the music. It is different from other Disney movie, and I would say it is more exciting,” Okikiade Aiyeola, freshman, said. 

Released in theaters on Nov. 24, the film is set in the mountains of Columbia where the Madrigals live in a magical house, Casa Madrigal, hidden from the outside world. Abuela, the main character Mirabel’s grandmother, prayed over a candle during her flight from her homeland fifty years ago, and the family uses this to power their gifts and house. For generations, each child in the family received a magical power, except Mirabel. Despite feeling out-of-place, Mirabel discovers that the power surrounding Casa Madrigal was dying, and, although she lacked magical powers, she tries to save the house.  

 “It is weird, but it is also really amazing that Mirabel has no powers but she is still a hero. I like the fact that the house is magical, and you don’t have to interact with just people but also non-living things,” Ashley West, sophomore, said. 

The movie centers around the ideas of self-worth and pressure that many teens face. It emphasizes society’s standards of being the best that many are forced to tackle every day. 

“The movie is a euphemism about gifted children and the pressure our family puts on young new generations. We go through pressure to be the best, get good grades, be honors students, take AP classes, and all that, which is okay, but I think it is Disney’s way of saying you don’t have to be all that amazing or move mountains, make flowers bloom, [or] control the weather to be special,” Kylie Daniels, senior, said. 

Many viewers praised the music, saying that the songs tell a story they can relate to. Lin-Manuel Miranda, a renowned composer best known for writing the musical Hamilton, wrote several of the songs in Encanto. He explains that one of the songs Surface Pressure in the film not only relates to the audiences but also to him as a little brother. 

“Surface Pressure is my love letter/apology to older siblings everywhere. I am a baby brother. I have a sister who is six years older. I know she had responsibilities that I did not have. I know she had burdens that I did not have. Really writing honestly about that with lyrics like, ‘Give it to your sister, your sister’s older / Give her all the heavy things you can’t shoulder,’ and that, ‘Never mind, I’ll do it,’ is something that I really wanted to write to,” Lin-Manuel Miranda, songwriter, said. 

The film celebrates Disney’s 60th animated production and, since its release, has topped the Thanksgiving box office, with over 40 million views.  

Encanto has made considerable strides toward bringing back families and adult moviegoers, respectively, without the draw of a franchise title,” Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at Boxoffice.com, said. 

Disney is working to represent various ideas by making different culturally inclined movies, Encanto being one. Grab some popcorn, and visit the nearest cinema to watch the enchanting story of the Madrigal family.