A multi-awarded new movie on a Latino family created by Disney is reportedly receiving praises from some Catholic leaders.
The National Catholic Register raised on Thursday if Disney has just created its most Christian movie ever in "Encanto," which tells the story of a young Colombian woman named Mirabel who was challenged for being the only member in her family that did not have magical powers. "Encanto," released in November 2021, received two Academy Awards for "Best Animated Feature" and "Best Original Score."
One of those who praised the movie is Archdiocese of Los Angeles Office for Divine Worship Director Fr. Juan Ochoa who appreciated the movie's correct depiction of the culture of Latin families. Ochoa pointed out that the movie was able to present the extended family setup Latinos have, which conveys how Jesus depicted how a family should be.
"When we say family, especially in the Latino community, we don't just refer to our immediate family. We're referring to our uncles or aunts or grandparents. Two thousand years ago, that was Jesus' context about family," Ochoa said.
The movie accordingly depicts how the lead character was able to solve her challenges through community effort, unlike how movies and stories often are resolved individually.
Ochoa also acknowledged that the movie was able to display the generational trauma that the grandmother in the movie, Abuela, experienced. The priest cited how Abuela refused to acknowledge that she was in shock from the death of her husband, which in turn affected how she dealt with her children and grandchildren. He explained that the movie was able to highlight the importance of not only being functional in society.
"That's something we can say about this movie, from the Catholic perspective: It's not ignoring the spiritual life of the people. We focus on just what we're able to perceive through our five senses, but in this movie, there's recognition that there's something more in life than just what's functional and mechanical," Ochoa explained.
Besides Ochoa, University of Dallas Professor and Christian author Jessica Hooten Wilson identified the Christian symbolism present in "Encanto" that was similar to what the Jesuit priest-poet Gerard Manley Hopkins spoke of in his poem. Wilson said the movie is abundant with it since it highlighted what St. Paul spoke of in the Bible on the role each one has in the Body of Christ.
"Being able to save anybody, even yourself doesn't work in this film. For Christ plays in ten thousand places," Wilson told the National Catholic Register.
"There's diversity and multiplicity of gifts within the Church, Wilson explained. Everyone cannot be hands, or eyes, or heads, because that causes a loss of the whole Body of Christ. The relationships within the film indicate the necessity of everyone having a different role," she stressed.
The movie's co-director and writer Charise Castro Smith explained to Deadline that their intent was to really present the family beyond what everyone has become accustomed to by incorporating the aspect of the Madrigals having magical powers. They thought about how to turn family archetypes that people easily relate to and are familiar with into something totally different.
Disney's image as a pro-family, pro-Christian entertainment outfit has been tainted over the years through its incorporation of LGBTQ characters in its movies and animation series. The company's CEO Bob Iger has recently released a statement on their strong commitment to the LGBTQ community out of reacting to Florida's Parental Rights In Education Act, which the left has coined as the "Don't Speak Gay" bill despite the legislation having not mentioned anywhere in its text about it.