From magical realism to arepas, Encanto captivates the heart of Latin America with a charming tale of family and hope.
Credit: Courtesy of Disney

Disney dazzled the world with a taste of Latin culture with 2017's Coco which centered around the themes of family, music and heritage.

With Encanto, Disney has brought back the richness of Latin America with a story of a multigenerational family that lives in the hidden mountains of Colombia.

The Madrigals have all been blessed with magical powers bestowed upon them by the encanto in their home and town with the exception of the story's protagonist, Maribel. When the 15-year-old finds out her family's powers and home are in danger, she sets out on a quest to save the day.

Throughout her journey, the magic realism that has been such a big part of the beauty of Colombia takes center stage. The movie demonstrates themes that range from otherworldly fantasy to the healing art of an arepa con queso. Below we've included our top five reasons why the Latin culture is having a major moment with Encanto.

1. Magical Realism

Credit: Courtesy of Disney

Thanks to magical realism, bookworms everywhere were gifted famed novelist Gabriel García Márquez and his many popular books like Love in the Time of Cholera, One Hundred Years of Solitude and Living to Tell the Tale.

As a component of many Latin American books, magic realism has been a key component of the Latin literary writing style since the 20th century. The genre depicts the real world with added ethereal touches of magia and fantasía. Much like Márquez's books, the film draws upon this literary tool to paint a picture so vivd you can't look away.

"Magical realism, an inspiration for our film, is tied to real emotions, real events and it's thoughtful and layered," said director Byron Howard in a press release. "It's not just an easy answer to your problems, it's actually a reflection of the experiences you have every day whether you're enjoying success or struggling."

2. Family

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In the Latin culture, family can be found at the center of everything (that and food). In a very symbolic move, the Madrigal's are each give "powers" that make them each unique and special. It is a story about the strength and foundation people get from family, and how they support each other both in good and bad times (regardless of their differences). No matter how small, each person plays an active role in the family unit.

For Lin-Manuel Miranda, this was a central piece in writing and producing Encanto. "It really began with family," he said in a press release.

He continued, "The notion of a family musical that gets to the complexity and interconnectedness of families was really interesting. In the beginning, we told a lot of personal stories—one of the ongoing themes was how we all cast our family members in certain roles. How do those roles change over time? How do they stay the same?"

3. Community

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The film goes beyond the individual magical powers of each character and emphasizes that their powers are meant to serve the community around them. The movie also made sure to show off the incredible cultural diversity within Colombia and Latin America's population which is filled with people hailing from Indigenous, African and European backgrounds.

4. Music

The movie's soundtrack is also indicative of the lively music that can be heard throughout Colombia and Latin America. Colombian artists like Sebastián Yatra, Maluma and the iconic Carlos Vives were called upon to help create music that would enhance the film's overall experience and feel.

"One of the most fun things is that the accordion is so central to the music. It was really a joy immersing myself in artists I didn't know, and doing deeper dives into those I've grown up loving—like Carlos Vives, who we're lucky enough to work with on this movie," said Miranda.

"This entire process has been about falling in love with Colombian music and culture and getting to play in that space," he continued.

5. Colombia

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Not to be forgotten, Colombia is the final and most central character apart from Maribel. From its luscious green mountain tops to its deliciously decadent food, Encanto was inspired by the diversity, culture and landscape of Colombia. The film embraces the dynamic and vivid vitality found in the Cocora Valley, Colombia's coffee regions and its tropical rainforests.