Director Kirk DeMicco teams with actor and musician Lin-Manuel Miranda for the animated family film Vivo. The film follows a one-of-kind kinkajou (aka a rainforest “honey bear,” voiced by Miranda) named Vivo, who spends his days playing music to the crowds in a lively square with his beloved owner Andrés (Juan de Marcos). Though they may not speak the same language, Vivo and Andrés are the perfect performing duo through their shared love of music.
Sadly, tragedy strikes after Andrés receives a letter from the famous Marta Sandoval (Gloria Estefan), inviting her old partner to her farewell concert with the hope of reconnecting. It’s up to Vivo to deliver a message that Andrés never could: A love letter to Marta, written long ago, in the form of a song. Yet, to get to Marta, who lives a world apart, Vivo will need the help of Gabi (Ynairaly Simo) — an energetic tween who bounces to the beat of her offbeat drum to fulfill his owner’s wishes
The script for Vivo arrives from the film’s director and Quiara Alegría Hudes. Hats off to the writers for introducing us to Vivo’s talent right away in the film’s opening. It was a great way to start the movie, and as my family and I both viewed the scene, we were tapping our feet along to the beat. However, similar to most family films, the setup for Vivo to make his way to America is overly predictable.
Once in America, the charm of Vivo begins as we watch Vivo and Gabi develop a relationship. The supporting cast for Vivo includes the voices of Zoe Saldaña as Gabi’s mother, Rosa; Michael Rooker as a villainous Everglades python, Lutador; Brian Tyree Henry and Nicole Byer as a pair of star-crossed spoonbills; and Katie Lowes, Olivia Trujillo, and Lidya Jewett as a trio of well-meaning but overzealous scout troops.
With a run of time of ninety-five minutes, Vivo is quick and enjoyable family entertainment.
Final Grade: B
Vivo is available to stream on Netflix this Friday August 6th