Remember when your child was obsessed with Coco, and you thought in no realm of possibility could they ever be more enamored by another movie or character than they are with Miguel and his guitar? HA, those were the days. Enter: Encanto. You know, the movie with the songs "Surface Pressure" and "We Don't Talk About Bruno"? Your kid probably has Encanto's soundtrack on a freaking loop. But can you blame 'em? From the magical world of Disney and the musical mind of Lin-Manuel Miranda comes a beautiful and vibrant musical film about the Madrigal family, who reside in a magical casita nestled in the mountains of Colombia. Still, it might be time to mix things up with some other movies like Encanto.
While a film centered around generational dynamics and familial themes isn't a new addition to Disney's portfolio of animated films, there is something rather special about Encanto's storyline. Mirabel has kind of felt like an outcast for most of her life because she's the only one of her relatives who doesn't have a magical power. (Similar to how Coco's Miguel feels about being the only music lover in his family.) In essence, Encanto does much more than just illustrate the importance of family. Through song and magically gifted characters, it teaches kids (real talk: adults, too) that a relative's greatest strength — in this case, magical power — doesn't make them better than you. Rather, everyone should be celebrated for what makes them uniquely special.
Enriched in Colombian culture, history, traditions, and cuisine, Encanto naturally lends itself as an opportunity to start a dialogue about other cultures with your child as well. In the last five or so years, Disney has made an obvious effort to portray more authentically diverse storylines, as evident in movies like The Book of Life, Vivo, and Over the Moon. It's a welcome shift that brought one of the most enjoyable Disney movies in years: you guessed it, Encanto.
However, you might need a break from hearing the same songs over and over (and over) again. So, the next time your kid asks to watch Encanto for the 200th time, offer up one of these similar titles instead. This movie list showcases familial dynamics among the living, departed, and those we consider our chosen family. They also celebrate other cultures, so you and your child can continue the conversation.
Touching, Familial-Driven Films Like Encanto
1. Mulan (2020)
Like Mirabel in Encanto, Hua Mulan, in the 2020 live-action Disney reboot Mulan, believes it is her greatest honor and duty to look after her family when her country is in danger. When Mulan's father, a renowned and skilled Chinese warrior, cannot serve in the Imperial Army (similar to how Mirabel's family begins to lose their gifts), Mulan takes it upon herself to do so. However, women aren't allowed to train as warriors. All she wants is to make her nation and her father proud. So, Mulan joins the army — but masquerades herself as a man under the pseudonym Hua Jun.
2. Coco (2017)
Coco is a beautiful film that celebrates Mexican heritage while also examining familial dynamics: Miguel wishes he could be a musician but lacks support due to his family's generations-old ban on music. Miguel can relate to Mirabel because he, too, sometimes feels like an outcast among his relatives. Then on Día de los Muertos, Miguel discovers a magical and vibrant city called the Land of the Dead. He finally gets to meet his ancestors, who encourage him to become a musician.
3. The Book of Life (2014)
The Book of Life also takes place on Día de los Muertos. However, in this Mexican animated film, childhood best friends Manolo, Maria, and Joaquin find themselves in a love triangle when both Manolo and Joaquin confess their love to Maria. Manolo's plan to win Maria over goes awry when he finds himself in the Land of the Remembered after a snake attack. There, Manolo learns about the Day of the Dead and enlists the help of his new friends to find his way back to Maria.
4. Over the Moon (2020)
As a little girl, Fei Fei's Ma Ma would tell her stories all about the Moon Goddess and her quest to find love on the moon. Those stories are Fei Fei's favorite memories of her late mother. So, when her relatives tell her that the Moon Goddess is just some silly fable, Fei Fei's feelings are understandably hurt. She decides to build a rocket, fly to space, and see for herself. Over the Moon explores different types of family dynamics and relationships: those between the living and the dead, and those among your chosen family (aka Fei Fei's new friends she meets on the moon).
5. Vivo (2021)
If you were to combine the music of Encanto and Over the Moon's teachable lessons about generational dynamics, you'd get Vivo. As a favor to an old friend, a magical kinkajou named Vivo journeys from Cuba to Florida to deliver a love song to Andrés's soulmate on his behalf. Upon Vivo's arrival, he teams up with Andrés's niece, Gabi, and the two form a close friendship while on their fun, crazy adventure. Like Encanto, this movie also features music from Lin-Manuel Miranda.
6. The Croods (2013)
Like the Madrigals, the Croods are a large and quirky family with their own deep-seated issues. The Prehistoric clan lives in a time where almost everything is trying to eat them. And when they stumble across a slightly more evolved cave dweller, they discover that the world is ending and must learn to evolve too, both as a family and a civilization.
More Movies Like Encanto to Add to Your Queue
- Raya and The Last Dragon (2021)
- Moana (2016)
- The Little Prince (2015)
- Turning Red (2022)
- Inside Out (2015)
- The Boxtrolls (2014)
- Luca (2021)
- The Legend of the Nahuala (2007)
- Ponyo (2008)
- Ainbo: Spirit of the Amazon (2021)
- Tangled (2010)
- Up (2009)
- Monster House (2006)
- Onward (2020)
- Brave (2012)
- Anastasia (1997)
- The Willoughbys (2020)
- Frozen (2013)
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