I first watched Encanto with my husband and mother over the Christmas break. My three-year-old was fast asleep in his bed, but the world was buzzing about it, and I needed to know what all the fuss about. Of course, in a post-Frozen world, all Disney flicks now come with high expectations. Add Lin-Manuel Miranda to the credits and the anticipation reaches a fever pitch.
Just five minutes in, as the opening number “The Family Madrigal” concluded, I knew: the feminist, community-minded plot of Encanto was good. But it was the soundtrack that really left me energized. (I was still humming, “We Don’t Talk About Bruno,” as I went off to bed.)
On the other side of my Encanto viewing, the impact of Omicron was waiting for me. I stressed about school closures, on-again-off-again childcare, KN95 mask shortages and whether or not I was making decisions that could have a devastating effect on the health of my too-young-to-be-vaccinated son. The memes about moms being dead inside flickered across my social feeds the morning I brought him back to preschool. So before hopping online to work, I decided to casually cue up “Surface Pressure”…you know, just to take the edge off.
The beat and rhythm caught me by surprise. And the lyrics got me. “Watch as she falls and bends, but never breaks,” Luisa belts out in the power ballad about a woman with superhuman strength cracking under the pressure of meeting everyone else’s expectations. Sound familiar anyone?