Movies Like Encanto: The film “Unbreakable” by M. Night Shyamalan isn’t on our list of 14 films like “Encanto” that we recommend you see, but they actually have more in common than you might think. Bruce Willis’ David Dunn origin narrative, “Unbreakable,” is a covert superhero movie that hides its most identifiable elements behind enigmatic MacGuffins.
With music by Lin Manuel-Miranda and direction by “Zootopia” authors Bryon Howard and Jared Bush, “Encanto” is similarly deceptive in how it first introduces the story of Mirabel (Stephanie Beatriz), her magical family, and the maze-like home they live in. Any further details would reveal the surprises in the film.
“Encanto” is primarily about how our own wants and the lengths we will go for family give us characteristics that are comparable to those of superheroes. Beyond that, it’s a vertiginously colorful celebration of culture that attests to Lin Manuel-musical Miranda’s ability as well as the radical force of self-actualization. If you liked “Unbreakable,” here are 14 other films you should see now.
As legendary as the movie itself, The Rock’s rendition of “You’re Welcome,” the theme song from Ron Clements and John Musker’s “Moana,” is a standout in both his and composer Lin Manuel-discographies. Miranda’s Advising “Moana” to people who enjoy Disney animated movies is like picking low-hanging fruit. However, because “Moana” perfectly embodies the House of Mouse formula that “Encanto” so willingly subverts, the two films make an amazing pair.
“Moana” is a peak “Big Disney” movie in many aspects. Each of the tropes—a culturally distinct fairy tale, a protected but resourceful heroine, and one particularly adorable animal—is there, yet they all feel like logical extensions of one another. Hawaii serves as the scene. The protagonist is strong enough to defeat a demi-god. the cute creature?
an extremely nervous rooster (Alan Tudyk, who also voices the Toucan of “Encanto”). “Moana” succeeds because it speeds its viewers down well-known motorways while using the familiar as an express lane to take them to surprising new locations. It is wonderful and expansive.
“Vivo” and “Encanto” would make a fantastic and incredibly melodic double bill: Both movies eloquently depict complex but loving mother-daughter relationships, are love letters to their respective cultures (Colombian and Cuban, respectively), and identify Lin-Manuel Miranda as the rightful heir to Alan Menken’s movie-musical crown.
They demonstrate Miranda is the epitome of musical constancy, to start. Although “Vivo” and “Encanto” aim for less than the Broadway-redefining “Hamilton,” they are nevertheless worthy pieces of art. Instead, both weave the composer’s penchant for dramatic songwriting into the stakes of each story (“Encanto’s” continually loud melodies serve to stress its protagonist’s self-doubt, while “Vivo” employs its larger-than-life music to emphasize the singularly profound bond Vivo and Gabi develop).
It’s the kind of excellent, uncomplicated music that Menken produced quickly when Disney was at its height. One may envisage the soundtracks of “Vivo” or “Encanto” as the entry points to the music of Gloria Estefan, Buena Vista Social Club, or the reggaeton subgenre. In addition, the original songs of both movies gracefully and respectfully celebrate two distinct Latin American cultures. That’s no simple task, so the fact that both movies manage it makes “Vivo” well worth your time after seeing “Encanto.”
The movie “Tangled” is an example of how irreverence breeds irreverence. There are irreverent interpretations of fairy tale clichés. Characters in an interrogation scene that involves Rapunzel’s hair being made into handcuffs and a lizard biting Flynn Ryder’s ear practically double over on themselves because they are preternaturally knowledgeable about the laws of their world. So they shatter them, though not totally for the benefit of the audience. It’s similar to “Inception,” except that Chris Nolan’s movie was more of a storytelling remix than a flex.
Simply put, “Tangled” by Nathan Greeno and Bryan Howard is a must-see if the absurdist strain of “Encanto” is what you liked the best. It was the first non-Pixar Disney CGI production to get acclaim from audiences and critics alike, and it relishes in both its inherent silliness and excellent voice cast (which includes the brilliant Ron Perlman playing a character named “Stabbington”). There is no excuse not to see a movie that fits that exuberant description since “Tangled” purposely fell over its own rushing feet so that “Frozen” and “Encanto” could soar.
11. Over The Moon
Many people were shocked to see that Netflix’s “Over The Moon” had received a nomination for the best-animated film when the Oscar nominees for that year’s ceremony were made public. That should have been a clue that many people hadn’t actually seen “Over The Moon,” which celebrates and plays with Chinese culture in the same way that “Encanto” does for Columbians.
Although it is obviously influenced by classic Disney movies (whose hero, Fei Fei, travels to the moon to discover what appears to be a Disney kingdom complete with the princess and hilarious sidekick), it also discovers a hyperactive humorous gear that is uniquely it’s own. The Disney ties go beyond simple parody, as “Over The Moon” is directed by Glen Keane, who is well-known for his work on numerous Disney films, including “The Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin,” “Beauty & The Beast,” and many others.
He has become accustomed to how these tales unfold. Both “Over The Moon” and “Encanto” are movies that, in many respects, feel like they were inspired by a timeless model yet work to reinvent it in accordance with their own, unique criteria. The results are certainly worth your time, especially when they feature a standout performance by “Hamilton” star Phillipa Soo and numerous noteworthy musical performances.
10. Monster House
A pair of sneakers momentarily swept the internet last year. The “Invert Celtics” shoe has a pink and black exterior and a green and white medial section. However, those identical colors would instantly invert when viewed through the “Invert” option on a smartphone. I imagine “Encanto” and “Monster House” as the two half of this identical pair of kicks, despite the odd analogy.
They are inextricably connected in various ways: Both movies are high-profile CGI animation productions with magically sentient houses at their centers (Lin Manuel-Miranda, Robert Zemeckis). However, the “Monster House” wishes to kill its residents rather than endow them. Even though Gil Kenan, the writer of the most recent “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” is in charge of the direction, “Monster House” sees Zemeckis and Steven Spielberg back to their childhood terror roots.
Dogs are eaten in the picture, and bullies are enticed to their deaths in the way of “It,” something that most contemporary family-friendly movies would leave on the cutting room floor. The film also presents a story wherein claiming your truth and establishing your identity inside it proves to be much more nourishing than accepting the falsehood peddled by others. This makes it similar to “Encanto” in that regard. If not on the same pair of sneakers, then at least at the same multiplex.
Wolfwalkers is an urgent must-watch if the magical kids and monsters of “Encanto” were your or anybody you love’s a favorite aspect of the book. A beautifully portrayed story of tolerance and self-discovery in the face of persecution, the 2020 best-animated film Oscar candidate pushes the boundaries of what 2D animation can do.
The fluid, painterly cinematic style that filmmaker Tomm Moore pioneered in the previous two films of his “Irish Folklore Trilogy” (2009’s “The Secret of Kelis” and 2014’s “Song Of The Sea”) feels like a logical yet swift extension of the film’s enormous scale and exhilarating chase scenes. In contrast to “Encanto,” “Wolfwalkers” explores the all-too-human causes that pose a threat to severe loving families.
To be fair, “Encanto” also addresses the tragedies of displacement and the ways in which generational trauma can be passed from one family member to another, but “Wolfwalkers” adopts a more thorough, uncompromising stance. The thrill is in danger throughout this film, and it’s those raised stakes that add to the magic of the film’s race to an almost operatic finale.
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08. The Mitchells vs. Machines
The “Encanto” Madrigals are aware of their uniqueness. Their beautiful abode is an expression of all that makes them unique, and their powers appear with ease. The Mitchells from “The Mitchells Vs. The Machines” are in contrast. The Mitchells are constantly traveling on the struggle bus (or, more accurately, the struggle 1993 burnt orange station wagon). The family patriarch can hardly upload a video on YouTube, despite having destroyed an army of sentient Furbies and home appliances that had threatened to enslave humanity.
To be clear, producers Phil Lord and Chris Miller and director Michael Rianda adore their oddball heroes, and they work hard to persuade audiences that the family’s eccentricity is what makes them special (and ultimately heroic); it’s difficult for me to imagine any viewer who isn’t persuaded by this viewpoint by the time the credits roll. One of the tightest and most creative movies of 2021, “The Mitchells Vs. The Machines” can serve as a reminder of how unique and special your loved ones are, much like “Encanto.”
07. Robin Robin
The lone Ardman movie on this list, “Robin Robin,” is also the studio’s most current and shortest feature. You shouldn’t hold either of these against it because the holiday release is a condensed, extremely clever repurposing of human myths and why they matter to people who hear them, whether they are human or not.
That is what happens to Robin, the protagonist of “Robin Robin,” who begins to think that the Christmas star atop the living room tree of a nearby home has the ability to grant its owner desires. Robin devises a bold heist after adopting this charmingly twisted interpretation of the story of Santa. Along the way, there is a nasty cat spoken by Gillian Anderson, lavish music, and a happy conclusion that doesn’t feel gimmicky.
Additionally, “Robin Robin” serves as a reminder that love, in all of its manifestations, is what holds a family together most strongly, not shared traits or preferences. The fact that this message is conveyed through intricately designed and Easter egg-filled stop motion is the cherry on top of the cinematic fruit cake. It is a monument to sticking by one another through good times and bad.
06. Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse
Being unique, no matter how unique you are or how you are unique, requires a leap of faith. If you’re Patrick Mahomes or Ridley Scott, that’s true. No matter what your career, interest, or desire is, it holds true if you’re stepping up as a father, son, or daughter. Being great and having real power entails responsibility and the potential for failure. Trust is terrifying.
A leap of faith on the part of the film is “Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse.” Each addition feels more organic than the one before it as it knits together numerous heroes from various timelines and renders them using a variety of animation techniques. The film by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman never loses sight of the fact that it possesses tremendous power and responsibility simply by telling these stories, which are important to so many people for so many different reasons.
“Spider-Verse” raises the bar for superhero storytelling to a multitudinous and technicolor plane that every film released seems incapable of matching, much less outshining. “Encanto” is a lovely meditation on related themes (one that is also similarly culturally diverse and inclusive), but “Spider-Verse” raises the bar even higher. It’s a phenomenal, record-breaking leap.
A stranger in their own town and home in Laika’s “ParaNorman” (as it is in “Encanto”) must muster the resolve to save his family and neighbors while feeling as though neither of them understands him. Both movies also include magically charged settings and narratives. The main distinction is that Norman, the protagonist of “ParaNorman,” has the ability to communicate with and see the dead.
It’s amazing how clever “ParaNorman” and its execution of this idea still are nine years after its theatrical debut. The fluidity with which the ethereal figures move continues to set the bar for stop-motion animation, and a diverse group of actors—including Anna Kendrick and John Goodman—contribute some of their best vocal work to yet.
And while “ParaNorman” and his family start the movie at odds, they eventually realize, as in “Encanto,” that life is too short to settle for anything less than a profound emotional understanding of the people you love. Of course, it doesn’t matter if you comprehend them or not; what matters is that you try. And “ParaNorman’s” exhilarating endeavor to convey this lesson to viewers is memorable enough to stick with viewers for a lifetime.
04. Kubo & The Two Strings
While Mirabel undoubtedly changes by the conclusion of the film, her transformation isn’t as phoenix-like as the title Kubo’s. This is because “Encanto” isn’t as concerned with the idea of rebirth as Laika’s “Kubo and The Two Strings.” But there are many similarities between the two movies. They’re stunningly beautiful, to start with; unlike “Encanto,” which built and fleshed out its universe using Columbian landscapes and traditional architecture, director Travis Knight and his animation team included a multitude of Japanese art forms in their depiction of ancient Japan.
For another, they are preoccupied with how complicated families are today. In “Kubo & The Two Strings,” Kubo discovers that family isn’t always reliable and that our transitory lives can be sustained and improved by the memories of the people we love, especially our families. Its emphasis on the unique, landscape-changing power of music makes it a stop-motion cousin of “Encanto’s” sumptuous CGI and a fantastic follow-up to Disney’s most recent film.
03. Maya And The Three
Although Jorge R. Gutierrez’s series “Maya and The Three” shares a lot of thematic similarities with both “Encanto” and the general canon of classic Disney films, I feel a little bit guilty including it on this list because it is a television show rather than a movie. However, the series makes the most of its extended format. But the reason it should be on this list is because of that benefit.
If Disney movies are like weekend trips to fantastic places, “Maya and the Three” is like a residency. The realm of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica and, finally, its spiritual kingdoms, are given to viewers plenty of time. Every location the show visits, whether it be a palace, an old building, or a landscape, is flawlessly depicted; you could put “Maya and The Three” on mute and still be fascinated.
That would be a mistake, though, as Guiterrez’s program boasts a star-studded voice cast that includes Stephanie Beatriz, Diego Luna, and Zoe Saldana. Beatriz left a lasting impression as Mirabel in “Encanto,” and she improves on that performance here as Chimi, an archer from the Jungle Land who shares Mirabel’s open heart but cloaks it in layers of meticulously constructed stoicism. It’s a noteworthy flip that ought to motivate “Encanto” lovers to immediately head over to Netflix.
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02. Tick, Tick…Boom
The renowned Stephen Sondheim recently passed away at the age of 91. The actor wrote the following in a tribute to Sondheim colleague Richard Kind: “When I first met him, I gave him my name and promised to gush only once. After I finished, he reassured me, “I am not my songs. Just a kind Jewish lad from the Upper West Side, that’s all.”
Sondheim’s music was not his, but it supported him in life and changed the air molecules he and those around him inhaled; he was also unique for the kind manner he dealt with Kind and several others. This dynamic is skillfully addressed in “Encanto” and the just-released “Tick, Tick…Boom,” which was written and directed by “Encanto” composer Lin-Manuel Miranda and is an autobiographical account of Broadway wunderkind Jonathan Larson from the 1990s who passed away at the age of 35.
Sondheim’s throne was to be inherited by Larson. Life had different ideas. But as much as the musical notes in his heart, Larson’s way of life shaped his talent, a dynamic Miranda emphasizes throughout the Netflix original musical and which the great Andrew Garfield captures flawlessly. “Tick, Tick…Boom” is a follow-up that adult audiences who appreciated “Encanto” will find deserving of Larson, Sondheim, and anybody who has ever aspired to inspire countless others.
01. In The Heights
Think of “Aladdin,” “Encanto,” or “Frozen” as examples of Disney animated films that explore old mythology in order to uncover or depict contemporary tales. In contrast, “In The Heights” creates a recent myth of contemporary life by choosing to imbue Washington Heights in Manhattan with the scope and vitality of ancient Greece or medieval Europe. Even without the film’s abundance of euphorically choreographed musical numbers, it is stunningly powerful.
For those of legal viewing age, “In The Heights” gets closer to extending everything we love about Disney animated films (their bright hues, their respect for their audience, and their music) into a domain for mature viewers, even though it doesn’t qualify as a family movie due to some adult content. Parents or older kids who liked that animated picture should stream “In The Heights” right away because it has a similar creative voice to “Encanto” composer Lin-Manuel Miranda.