Encanto Review

Addy Rogers talks all about Disney’snew #1 song and the popularity of it’s film


“Encanto” introduces the Madrigal family, who have each been granted extraordinary gifts, except one, our heroine, Mirabel (Stefanie Beatriz), who has yet to discover her own personal magic. (Disney/TNS)

The song seems to haunt you. During the passing period, you overhear classmates humming it, occasionally muttering a lyric. Opening TikTok, you see thousands of videos of people dancing and singing it. At home, your younger siblings belt it out with reckless abandon, and you join in half-consciously: we don’t talk about Bruno-no-no-no…
Bruno, along with other Encanto darlings like Surface Pressure and The Family Madrigal, represents the newest addition to Disney’s canon of classic, endlessly singable songs. Their popularity almost seemed to explode overnight as the movie was released on Disney’s streaming platform and TikTok users flooded the platform with lip syncs, fan theories, dance videos, and Camilo thirst traps. As of this writing, the tag had 11.4 billion views. The last Disney soundtrack song to reach a similar status was Frozen’s Let it Go, all the way back in the ancient times of 2013. In fact, We Don’t Talk About Bruno reached a higher peak position (#4) on the Billboard Hot 100 than Let It Go (#5) ever did.
The movie’s sudden ubiquity might seem to be a matter of chance, but I would argue that a perfect storm converged to launch it into the collective consciousness. To begin with, the songs are just catchy. Not only do they play themselves on loop in your brain, but they are also something of a lyrical marvel in how they advance the movie’s plot. For example, Surface Pressure conveys Luisa’s obligation to constantly use her gift perfectly in terms we can all relate to: “Under the surface/I’m pretty sure I’m worthless if I can’t be of service.” This shouldn’t come as a surprise when considering that they were written by Lin Manuel-Miranda, the lyrical maven behind the songs featured in Hamilton and Moana.
Of course, there’s no easier way to go viral than by gaining traction on TikTok, and Encanto was in the perfect position to do so. A comparison to the wild popularity of Frozen’s soundtrack is useful here. In the olden days, the film industry standard practice was to release a movie on DVD or streaming services several months after it premiered in theaters. The only way to catch a movie while it was still new was to cough up the money for a movie ticket and optional overpriced popcorn. Like many of Disney’s recent releases, however, Encanto was available on Disney+ just a few weeks after its theatrical release. When supplemented by the recent surge in Omicron cases and subsequent quarantines or lockdowns, this was the perfect recipe for Encanto to reach a much larger audience than it would have under different circumstances.
Finally, the movie’s plot is just different from other Disney animated films. It takes elements from Colombia’s rich culture to make something truly remarkable. Observant viewers will note several of these delightful details hidden throughout the movie, from Julieta’s arepas to Augustin’s frustrated utterance of “miercoles!” It also addresses generational trauma and the sense of duty to make one’s family proud. Encanto is one of the few Disney movies that does away with a traditional antagonist; instead, it focuses on the trials of relationships between the characters.
If you haven’t seen the movie yet, I highly recommend it. I didn’t plan to watch it myself, but I felt compelled to after my siblings started bursting out into lines from Bruno and The Family Madrigal. To be sure, the soundtrack is amazing, but I promise you that the story itself makes for a truly valuable, even cathartic, experience.