‘She immediately saw herself’: how Encanto strikes a major chord in a diverse world

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The runaway success of the Colombia-set animation, with its infectious Lin-Manuel Miranda songs, is in no small part thanks to its Latinx characters, cast and key film-makers

“My kids LOVE it!” “It’s MASSIVE in our house!” The WhatsApp group for my daughter’s reception-year class – usually home to messages about lost school jumpers and tips for half-term clubs – explodes into emojis and capital letters at the mention of Disney’s Encanto. One obsessed eight-year-old has learned the words to all the songs – and so have most of their classmates. A’s five-year-old is demanding to know how to say the words in Spanish. Encanto-mania is taking over kids’ lives.

For the uninitiated, Encanto (which is Spanish for “charm”) is Disney’s 60th animated feature film, featuring ridiculously catchy songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda, the composer of Hamilton. It tells the tale of the magical Madrigal family who live in an enchanted house hidden in the mountains of Colombia. Every member of the clan is blessed with an extraordinary gift – except 15-year-old Mirabel (voiced by Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Stephanie Beatriz) who is struggling to find her place in the family.

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