I have a few grievances with people in this film, but overall, this was a fabulous movie about the love this Hispanic family has for each other. I make it a point to mention their ethnicity because is it important, for not only people of this ethnicity, but for everyone to see a family like this. We learn from other cultures, people and traditions, and personally, I am better for it!
First thing’s first, I hate the grandma. I said what I said! For a family where everyone is literally so different, you would think she would have some compassion for members of the family like Bruno and Maribel, but no, she had to be awful to them. And I don’t recall anyone saying anything to grandma about it. AND she didn’t even have a special gift, so who was she to be stomping around and making demands of her children and grandchildren? Also, the townspeople. They redeemed themselves at the end, but who were they to be relying so heavily on this family because they had magic? In addition to her treating Bruno and Maribel like trash, I also blamed her for making their family almost like the monarchy of this town. As we heard in two songs from her sisters, there was so much pressure placed on them that they had to hide that they were crumbling inside. (Now, I sort of understand Isabela because she said she always had to be perfect but girl, you make flowers. Chill. What were you really helping anyone do? But I get the metaphor.) My grandma is annoying but she is no where close to Abuela. Applause to Maribel for standing up to her grandma and telling her what she was doing to her family. Sometimes our elders need a quick gathering, and that goes against everything I have ever learned as a Southern child, but rules are meant to be broken.
Here’s what I think. Maribel not getting her powers had nothing to do with showing everyone that you could be just as special and powerful without actual powers. I’m not saying that isn’t a lesson here, but that’s surface level. I think that door disappearing was a sign for Grandma. She was doing too much and that event paired with Bruno’s vision was supposed to get her to dig deeper into her family. What else could have threatened the magic? The magic came with a sacrifice, and since then, the magic has been used to protect the people of this town. Somewhere down the line, the magic started to be more of a sideshow. We saw they threw a party after Antonio (who is the cutest animated brown boy I have ever seen!) was given his gift. Grandma also lost points when the engagement dinner didn’t go well and the house was cracking but she lied and told the people of the town that everything was fine like the town would crumble if they didn’t have magic. What did these people do when they didn’t have magic?
Now that I’m almost don’t ranting, let me point out random things in this movie that made me laugh. Who gave that little boy coffee? And continuously because we saw him multiple times with that same cup of coffee? During the engagement dinner, did anyone else laugh out loud when Luisa couldn’t lift the piano and she was just randomly sobbing? Just me? Ok. I know it wasn’t supposed to be funny. She was supposed to be being vulnerable and whatnot but I cackled! Now, I want to speak directly to the delivery man. I know you heard that whole song Maribel was singing. How do I know this? Because the whole town heard the song. You didn’t have to point out that she didn’t have any powers and wasn’t special. She was clearly trying not to tell them that AND THEN, I know you had to be nearby when Dolores told the kids she didn’t get a gift. Drop off your package and leave, sir!
And another thing, did anyone else wonder about these powers? Like only Antonio, Bruno, Pepa, and Luisa’s powers were of some real use. Sure, Dolores has a hyper sense of hearing, but is she a spy? No, so how do we use that? Are the townspeople staging a coup? Last but not least, shouts out to the animators for giving us a range of shades in these beautiful people. Too often we see just the light-skinned Hispanic actors, which is unfair because I feel like the majority of Hispanics are darker skinned. They want to see themselves and I’m so glad this movie has allowed for so many boys and girls, both Hispanic and Black, to see themselves in an animated movie with a bomb soundtrack (I really mean just “We Don’t Talk About Bruno”).
I want to end by saying that we don’t give John Leguizamo his flowers. This man has been around for years (my favorite role being Too Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmarket but I digress) and we do not appreciate him for the joy he’s brought us. I want to hear and see him in more stuff. Yes, I know his voice can be annoying at times but he is a hidden gem that we’ve neglected for years. He just be in the back doing his thing and we should applaud him more!