Loath as I am to say anything nice about the Mouse House entertainment behemoth these days, I have to admit that few do animated family musicals better. And I also have to applaud its recent (Pixar-influenced) thought-provoking and invigorating emphasis on and respect for different cultures and traditions. Like Moana (Polynesia) and Coco (Mexico). It had to stop remaking the same white princess movie sometime.
This time it’s Colombia. The story centers on Mirabel, the only child in the enchanted Madrigal family not blessed with a magical power. Yet even such an awesome family can have its human failings, and when its core magic one day appears to be weakening, Mirabel’s disappointingly deferred gift becomes apparent.
I had a great time at this movie. Every character is well developed, it’s funny where it needs to be, there’s not a slow moment, and the inevitable message about the importance of family manages to be sweet without being cloying. The plot will keep you guessing, it boasts a terrific voice cast, it’s gorgeous to look at, and eight stellar, percussive songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda complement the story. Top compliment: It doesn’t feel like a Disney movie. (99 min)