Two Academy Award winner Hilary Swank leads the inspirational drama Ordinary Angeles from Lionsgate. Jon Gunn directed the film, while Meg Tilly and Kelly Fremon Craig wrote the screenplay. Sharon, portrayed by Swank, is a hairdresser from a small town in Kentucky. She is a strong-willed individual but struggles with alcohol addiction. Her boss, also her best friend Rose, played by Tamala Jones, wants Sharon to live up to her full potential. However, she grows tired of Sharon’s constant misbehavior.
Encanto is good old fashioned Disney Magic
The 60th animated film from Walt Disney Studios arrives in the form of Encanto. Byron Howard and Jared Bush direct the movie with some co-direction from Charise Castro Smith. In addition, Bush and Smith pen the film’s screenplay, while Lin-Manuel Miranda provides the music for the film.
Encanto tells the story of a family named the Madrigals, who live in an enchanting town in the mountains of Colombia. Every child, but one, in their magical house has been granted a unique ability such as strength or healing powers. Mirabel (Stephanie Beatriz), the only ordinary Madrigal, discovers that the magic is under threat, and she may be the only one able to save the town.
The rest of Madrigal family includes Bruno (John Leguizamo), Mirabel’s excluded uncle who can see the future. Isabella (Diane Guerrero) is Mirabel’s oldest sister who is considered “perfect” and “a success” as she can make flowers bloom everywhere. Her second oldest sister, Luisa (Jessica Darrow), has superhuman strength, and her mother, Julieta (Angie Cepeda), can heal folks with her cooking.
My family and I all walked into Encanto somewhat blind, not knowing the film’s central plot. I was under the impression the usual plot beats of confidence in yourself and an unsuspecting love interest would fill the movie. However, to my surprise, the film goes a little deeper than the familiar Disney tropes. Before you think the film is overly woke thought, it’s not, and is still quality family entertainment.
This route is surprising, as the directors’ previously helmed the vastly adult-orientated Zootopia. The directors of Encanto touch on numerous topics, including cultural norms, family heritages, and legacies. I also loved that our heroine wears glasses and keeps them on for the film’s duration. I will point out that the filmmakers do avoid giving us a traditional villain, but the one character that happens to have an antagonistic nature has a natural organic arc.
I also want to point out the stellar voice work in the film as Stephanie Beatriz is fabulous and John Leguizamo is a scene-stealer. Moreover, let us not forget about the musical talents of Lin Manuel Miranda, who continues to impress.
Featuring a timeless story, strong voice acting, and great music, Encanto is highly recommended.
Final Grade: A-
Encanto opens tomorrow November 24th in theaters. In addition the film will begin streaming on Disney+ on Christmas Eve
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