WarningMight contain spoilers.

Not bad, but far from good. Certainly better than Lin-Manuel Miranda’s last film. For one thing, it allows characters to feel emotion rather than smile vacantly throughout. For another, the music is an improvement, though still not comparable to Moana . ‘We Don’t Talk About Bruno’ is obviously the star of the film, with Luisa’s song, ‘Surface Pressure’, coming a close second. In fact, hers is the funnier of the two, the visuals are better, and some of the musical and lyrical stylings are superior too. Perhaps all this is because Lin-Manuel Miranda is credited as the writer but not the composer. Who can say?

It’s a reasonably funny film with somewhat charming characters—little Antonio is very cute—and excellent visuals (the recurring motif of the bokeh balls is lovely). Unfortunately, its profundity is a mirage. The themes are obvious; the character arcs barely exist. The Madrigal family is peopled by sketches of interesting characters that we have no time to explore. They’re all defined by their gifts, which could have been skillful plotting if not for the fact that it ends with everything coming back (and that it really doesn’t seem to be deliberate). Mirabel’s story boils down to ‘I want to be special too’: the Madrigals see no reason why they should be like the ordinary villagers who depend entirely on them.

Abuela’s flashback in the end is done well and explains what shaped her, but the fact remains that she’s been incessantly, unambiguously cruel to Mirabel (and, in a different way, to the others). Her redemption is unearned.

I like Bruno. The movie doesn’t allow any character much depth, but he exhibits some complexity and richness, not to mention John Leguizamo’s comic skills. I like his power as well, including the visuals.

I have to admit, I’d kill for a house like the Casita.