“Encanto”, a film that not only attracts children

Disney’s newest animated feature, Charm has won the hearts of young and old as a frenzy has cast a spell over young adults in recent weeks. Whether or not you’ve heard the Byron Howard and Jared Bush movie, chances are you’ve heard the tune “We’re not talking about Bruno, no, no, no!” “, and for cause.

This musical success, far from the melancholic solos or the powerful ballads that the company with the big ears usually praises – just think of Let it go from Frozen: It hit number one on Spotify in the US less than a week after its release on Disney+ in late December 2021. The Broadway-style song even managed to dethrone easy on me of Adele in early February, in addition to becoming a viral sound on the TikTok platform.

And although the colorful music of composer Lin-Manuel Miranda, who also worked on hamiltonbeing one of the recurrent reasons for the adoration that is made ofCharmthe film’s sensitivity to contemporary issues might explain why the animated film is so popular with adults.

“I’ve seen it at least three times,” Melany Delgado, in her mid-30s, says ofCharm, originally released in theaters in November. Of Colombian origin like Mirabel Madrigal, protagonist of the 60Y Disney animated film, Melany says she loved the play’s music and bright colors, which reminded her of her country. The attention to detail of a portrayal meant to be realistic also greatly enhanced repeated listenings of him.

Skin color

“I liked the diversity in the skin color of the characters. Sometimes you don’t realize it, but among Latin Americans, there really are all colors and physical characteristics”, explains who moved to Quebec 14 years ago. He also greets the English-speaking actors who have lent their voices to the magical story, most of whom are Colombians or originally from their country.

However, what she preferred about the Spanish-speaking representation represented in Charm It is the story of the Madrigal family, whom she was able to identify. She thinks in particular of the story of Abuela, Mirabel’s grandmother who had to leave her town and her home, trying to flee an armed conflict.

“I had a family that had to flee the house because of the violence. But seeing that on screen, knowing that kids will understand and maybe want to educate themselves on the story behind it, I think is very important, she says. It’s not just my family that went through this. It always happens and every day. »

See your anxiety

“Disney, in Charm and in many of his productions he plays to the maximum with this process of “projections-identifications””, explains the anthropologist and professor at the UQAM School of Media Mouloud Boukala. It is about the idea of ​​offering the public a character or a story through which they will recognize themselves.

“Based on the success of Coconut (2017), the studio is offering a new production aimed at all ages, English and Spanish speakers, as well as people who have had a migratory experience”, explains who also occupies the Canada Research Chair in Media, disabled and (self) representations. .

Main characters like Mirabel and her two older sisters, all three deliberately imperfect, each illustrate a certain stage anxiety in their own way. Other issues related to mental health such as intergenerational trauma are widely addressed in the work.

I had a family that had to flee the house because of the violence. But seeing that on screen, knowing that kids will understand and maybe want to educate themselves on the story behind it, I think is very important.

Author and sexologist Amélie Stardust judges that “Generation Z and millennials certainly meet in this animated film.” According to someone who criticizes cinematographic works as a hobby, “many discussions about intergenerational trauma are circulating on TikTok.”

Melany Delgado believes this film resonates with young adults because “there are fewer taboos around mental health than there used to be.” According to her, millennials and young people are more likely to “seek help” and discuss it with each other than older generations.

The feature film is thus presented as a springboard for debate. According to researcher Boukala, “the film poses the following question: how to contribute to a common project (family and social) without particular power, gift or talent, where performance and perfection have become the norm? This translates to “ordinary” young adults in how to respond to demanding and recurring performative mandates imposed within siblings, family, and society. »

With this question central to the animated film, it was only natural that the anxiety experienced by the Madrigal sisters would resonate with Generations Y and Z who were already speaking out about their mental health.

Featured Women

In addition to this representation of diversity and a sensitive discourse regarding anguish, the animated film places women at the center of its plot; a speech that appeals a lot to young adults.

Amélie Stardust also emphasizes that “romance is not the central driving force behind the motivations of the characters.” She also mentions that the play has no problem passing the Bechdel-Wallace test, which requires that at least at one point in the film, two named women talk to each other about something other than a man.

“Driven by justice and equality, Mirabel fights for her rights, refuses to be marginalized and even less accepts a sealed and imposed destiny. For Mr. Boukala, this is what has created this phenomenal success. “The process and construction of identity as well as the ideals of the heroine are easily found with those experienced by young adults,” he concludes.

★★★★ 1/2

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