When Walt Disney Pictures announced that their film charm It was supposed to take place in Colombia, we were a little nervous. Colombians are too paranoid about the image we convey abroad. Some complained because “they would show us as a country only of peasants” – some class criticism in our opinion – and others that ignoring the violence and problems of the nation would be a “wash” of image. There were even those who complained about the multiculturalism exhibited in the advances. There was also no shortage of memes comparing it to reality to get some laughs.
But the truth is that charm it’s a wonderful film. Yes, it’s a lovely homage to Colombian culture, but most of all, it’s a lovely story about the difficulties of family life. Everything seasoned with a lot of magic, color and music.
The protagonist is Mirabel (not Maribel), a young member of the madrigal family who lives in a magical “little house” in the mountains of Colombia. Thanks to a miracle, all family members receive “gifts” that give them skills such as controlling the weather, changing their shape, and even talking to animals. All but Mirabel.
After watching the trailers, it’s easy to think this is a story about how “we are all really special”. Yes, there is some of that in the movie, but it’s not the center of the plot. Instead, she’s more concerned with showing how terrible it is to live up to other people’s expectations. Anyone who feared “what will my family say” because of a bad grade in their studies, a different choice of life or a mistake, can feel identified with the characters.
As we would expect from the works of Walt Disney Studios, animation is in charm It’s perfect, and the designs in the movie are full of personality. He also has an excellent sense of humor, mainly portrayed in visual jokes, many of which use the gifts of the madrigal to make good laughs.
With regard to the Colombian representation, you can tell that Disney did the homework. There are thousands of details in the dressing rooms, architecture, decoration of the houses and landscapes that we definitely recognize as our own. While there is an odd mix of elements to fit a rural mountain town with others belonging to the Caribbean, this town is meant to be a microcosm of the country and that combination of cultures is more than enough.
Music could not be missing. The songs of charm They are an excellent mix of rhythms in Colombia such as vallenato, cumbia, merengue and salsa. Some songs are pretty catchy and we want to highlight the great ones Bruno is not talked about, which tells the tragic story of Mirabel’s missing uncle. We expected no less from Lin Manuel Miranda after hearing his great compositions in Hamilton and In the neighborhood. The only weak point of the soundtrack is Colombia, my charm, played by Carlos Vives. It is sad that the title track of this film is intrusive and repetitive.
In case you are concerned, the translation of the songs into Spanish works very well. In fact, they seem better to us than the “originals” in English.
but charm It’s not just a pretty movie with great Disney-style music. The story is also compelling because of its allure. Mirabel discovers that the magic of his family is fading and he doesn’t understand why. While talking to his relatives, he discovers clues and secrets that he did not expect to find about his “perfect” relatives. Each revelation makes the mystery grow and everything comes to a satisfactory conclusion. It’s quite strange that this epic adventure practically doesn’t leave the walls of the “little house”. Of course, in true TARDIS style, it’s “bigger inside”.
Something particularly interesting, and one that we definitely didn’t expect, is that it would represent the dark side of our country. The background to the film is a tragedy inspired by the so-called “era of violence” that Colombia went through in the 1940s and 1950s. In fact, the “little house” Madrigal and the surrounding city is a fantasy of a place that the horrors suffered in the rest of the country cannot reach.
There are other contemporary issues that are very typical of our country but are more universal. The way in which “important families” try to preserve appearances and even their own well-being, and the figure of the grandmother as a strict matron will appeal to many.
The language work in Spanish is also very good. Although she has no experience in this world, Lucía Vives – daughter of Carlos Vives – makes a great leadership role. Maria Cecilia Botero gives the grandmother an aura of respect, while Carolina Gaitán and Daniela Sierra are hilarious as eager Pepa and jolly Dolores. If you were concerned about singer Maluma playing the voice of a character, you can be sure that she will be one of those with the least amount of dialogue.
Even if you ignore your relationship with Colombia, charm it’s a near-perfect Disney movie. Aside from the problem with a song that we mentioned earlier, its other “weak point” is that some members of the family are not as well researched as Mirabel, Luisa, Isabela, Bruno, and the grandmother. We really would have liked to know more about her. None of this is serious, as it is an eminently fun film with an enviable narrative rhythm and an important message about family life. We have no doubts if we recommend it.