As I mentioned in the pleased-to-meet-you post below this one, my daughter is five and a half years old. She’s an amazing little human, and she has worked harder than everyone who ever reads this put together just to get to a point where she lives, thrives, and sings the current Disney hits. Actually, that’s not quite fair to her; until Encanto came along, her previous favorite musical artists were “Weird Al” Yankovic (yay!), Laurie Berkner (also yay!), the Trolls soundtrack (what can I say, Branch is kind of my spirit animal), the Sesame Street gang (alright as long as it’s not Elmo singing), and Peppa Pig (ugh, stick to acting; if you’ve never heard “Birdy Birdy Woof Woof”, DO NOT CLICK THIS LINK). All things considered, we’re doing alright for ourselves on the “songs we now have to hear a million times this hour” front: Baby Shark made barely a ripple on our waters, we’ve successfully avoided the likes of Blippi, and most of the best/worst of The Mouse. I’m sure there’s also a million other things I hope to remain blissfully unaware of.
Bruno, though. We don’t talk about Bruno. We don’t have to, because we SING about not talking about him all day and some of the night. I’ll concede that the song is brilliant, Lin-Manuel Miranda is brilliant, the movie is (surprisingly) brilliant, and that my eardrums need a break NOW. Seriously: Kiddo is at school right now, my wife is at work, I’ve got the apartment to myself, and I just sang “I need to empty the garbage” to Bruno’s melody as I did exactly that. It’s more infectious than Covid, and wearing masks over my ears is ineffective, uncomfortable, and just plain awkward, even for me.
Of course, I would never say a word of this to Kiddo: her unabashed enthusiasm for this (and anything else she loves, including me) is truly a beacon. I know that life will inevitably do the lousy things it does and make her no longer want to display her colors so brightly, and the moment that happens I’ll feel like I’d trade anything to not talk about Bruno just a little bit longer.
As for Encanto itself, it’s a pleasant surprise. I’m not a huge acolyte of the Mouse in general: dear readers, there are no princesses, and the last thing I want to raise my smart, courageous little girl to believe is that only some Prince Charming type can make her life complete. Frankly, when I heard that it was a Disney film about a magical Colombian family, I cringingly prepared for an onslaught of cultural appropriation that happily never arrived. The story is solid, the lessons admirable, and the characters reasonably three-dimensional. It’s a thumbs-up from me, and I’ll shut up about it now because we don’t talk about spoilers, no no.
The important part of all of it is this: yesterday afternoon, we took Kiddo to her first in-the-theatre-movie. Given that she was born immunocompromised and as a result we still have to be more careful about Covid than most, this was a miracle in and of itself. She sang along with every song, and when the end credits rolled she walked into the aisle and danced to the music. Encanto, enchantment, in spades. Long may my little one sing, but not talk, about Bruno.