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Disney's 'Encanto' is a story about the gift of family

Interviews with Lin-Manuel Miranda and Stephanie Beatriz. #k5evening

The music is infectious and sets the stage for a story called “Encanto.” This new animated film from Disney follows the Madrigal Family from Columbia, who are known all over town for their magical gifts.

One family member can make plants grow and flowers bloom, another can hear animals talk. Each family member has a gift ─ except Mirabel. 

Stephanie Beatriz from “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and “In the Heights” voices the role of Mirabel, a character whom she related to.

“She sounds like me, she looks like me when I was 15,” Beatriz explained. “I just know what that feels like when you don't belong and feel like you don't really have anything to offer. And to hope and pray that something is going to bless you with whatever it is that you are hoping for.”

She says it was stories like these that moved her.

“I can't tell you how many times I would lock myself in the bathroom with the songs that helped me express the stuff that I didn't have any other language to,” Beatriz said. “It was through those songs that I figured out what I was feeling and who I am.”

“Encanto” is packed with music to inspire, courtesy of songwriter Lin-Manuel Miranda. He says the biggest challenge was figuring out how to fully explore family dynamics.

"Usually when you're working on a story it becomes like, ‘what's the quest?,’ ‘what's the stakes?’ and a lot of details fall away, Miranda said. “But we wanted to hang onto those details of a family because we relate to everyone in our family differently ─ and we wanted to really capture that.”

Through the Madrigal family, audiences will be able to see themselves. That's the gift of “Encanto” ─ which means charming or delightful. And the movie lives up to that name, while also giving us something to think about.

“Encanto” is out now in theaters and will be available for streaming on Disney Plus Dec. 24.

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