Flick of the Month: Encanto
I know, I know – most of us have probably seen it already. However, if you haven’t or even if you have, Encanto is worth the watch (and then the rewatch)! Disney outdid itself on defeating gender norm conformity, representing Colombian culture, and of course the animation. I’m typically an unforgiving critic of family movies, but this one really got me. Behold, my honest review with a healthy side of spoilers.
I truly enjoyed the plot, characters, and most of the music. Some of the songs began at awkward, sudden times and were frankly off-putting, but the songs themselves were original, entertaining, and very clearly products of Lin Manuel Miranda’s musical genius. Since the ever-popular Hamilton, Miranda has become intertwined with Disney and other creative efforts, and his style is becoming more and more distinct. Upon my first watch of this one, I found myself assuming the music was written by Miranda before I even knew he was involved. I must admit, I did add “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” to my personal playlist, and it has been stuck in my head for the past few weeks.
In addition to the bangers throughout the soundtrack, there is something to be said for the representation of women as leaders with incredible strengths. Luisa, the protagonist’s elder sister, is gifted with super strength and depicted with massive muscles, broad shoulders, and a deep voice. I absolutely loved the fact that a woman held super strength rather than the stereotypical trope of it being a man. The protagonist’s other elder sister, Isabela, transforms from the perfect, floral goddess to master of messiness and wild vines and plants. Her transformation exhibited femininity in an untraditional sense but a more realistic one. Throughout the movie, you even see married couples where the wives seem a bit more dominant or, like in the case of Mariano, the men are much more romantic than in other cliché movies. Overall, the approach to gender was powerful and quite amazing.
Disney’s navigation of the “family with special powers” concept was an absolute success with a magnificent cast and great tunes. I’d never seen Stephanie Beatriz in anything besides her co-starring role in Brooklyn Nine-Nine and was pleasantly surprised at her performance as the protagonist, Maribel, with a contrasting cheerful disposition. If you can get past the little twinge of pain that goes off every time a character notes Maribel’s lack of special powers, it is a truly heart-warming story. Give Encanto a shot and then another one after that!
Show of the Month: Emily in Paris
While I wasn’t entirely disappointed by the Netflix original series Emily in Paris, there are certain aspects that made my season one and season two watch-through worth it. If you’re looking for something light-hearted and romantic-comedy-esque, look no further than this one right here.
Lily Collins shows a small scope of acting range in her role as the titular Emily. Given the fact that she was also a producer, it’s no surprise that she was the starring role, but I’d have loved to see a different actress portray Emily. I found her character to be a bit bland, but the story was still enough to keep watching.
Emily’s time in Paris seems attractive, comfortable and fun-loving as she takes on a role at her Chicago marketing firm’s French subsidiary, Savoir. I couldn’t complain about the other actors’ performances throughout the show and really found myself enjoying the cliché Paris experience. Though Paris is, in actuality, a pretty dirty and dangerous place, the Parisian reputation was more attractive. Complete with romance, pastries, hot characters, music and glamorous parties, the show scratched every itch one could have about living in France and experiencing romance and allure.
Fashion lovers will greatly enjoy the show’s costuming and luxurious themes about designers and brands and the like. Overall, it’s a super light watch with a little bit of drama to tickle your innate need for gossip. Even as a fantastical description about life in Paris, it does fit the “romantic comedy” genre, though in the form of a television series. I ended up enjoying the show very much when I didn’t expect to; cheesy, well-done and captivating, Emily in Paris was my favorite series from the past month. Give it a go!