If you’re still trying to get Moana songs out of your head, Lin-Manuel Miranda has a new soundtrack for your kids to play on repeat. Vivo is an impressive family film with a sweet story about friendship and understanding, vibrant animation sequences and a soundtrack that is sure to get everybody up on their feet. Read my no-spoilers, parent review of Vivo.
Disclaimer: I was granted early access to Vivo for review purposes. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Vivo | New Netflix Film Teaches Kid's to Bounce to the Beat of Their Own Drum
Vivo | Film Synopsis
From Netflix and Sony Pictures Animation — the studio that brought you Oscar winner Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and this year's critically acclaimed blockbuster The Mitchells vs. The Machines — comes Vivo, an animated musical adventure featuring all-new songs from Lin-Manuel Miranda, the Tony, Grammy, and Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of Hamilton and In the Heights. Vivo follows a one-of-kind kinkajou (aka a rainforest “honey bear,” voiced by Miranda), who spends his days playing music to the crowds in a lively square with his beloved owner Andrés (Buena Vista Social Club’s Juan de Marcos).
Though they may not speak the same language, Vivo and Andrés are the perfect duo through their common love of music. But when tragedy strikes shortly after Andrés receives a letter from the famous Marta Sandoval (three-time Grammy-winning Latin pop legend Gloria Estefan), inviting her old partner to her farewell concert with the hope of reconnecting, it’s up to Vivo to deliver a message that Andrés never could: A love letter to Marta, written long ago, in the form of a song.
Yet in order to get to Marta, who lives a world apart, Vivo will need the help of Gabi (newcomer Ynairaly Simo) – an energetic tween who bounces to the beat of her own offbeat drum to fulfill his owner’s wishes.
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Vivo | No-Spoilers Parent Review
Vivo is about an unlikely duo on a journey of lifetime to show one song can mean so much. Maybe it is my musical-loving self but the emphasis on "one song" gave me major Roger from Rent vibes. It didn't help that the both films feature the characters singing about "one song" on rooftops, New York and Cuba, respectively.
Vivo is a kinkajou who teams up with Gabi to travel from Cuba to Key West to Miami in hopes of making a very special delivery to a world renowned musician, Marta (voiced by the brilliant and not featured enough in the film, Gloria Estefan).
A wonderful cast paired with a, sure to be stuck in your head soundtrack makes Vivo a fun film to watch on your next family movie night.
All seems squeaky clean here. Nothing stuck out to me in this PG rated film.
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There is a scene that features a thunderstorm. If you have a young one who does not like storms, they make get nervous for our film's stars during this scene.
Vivo doesn't have a true “bad guy” character that plots against our stars the entire film, but there is a scene that features a larger than life snake that may scare younger audiences.
One thing for parents to consider, the film is based on a young child leaving her home, alone. An important conversation about running away may need to be had after viewing Vivo.
Vivo is rated PG for "thematic elements and mild action" and frankly this is spot on.
There is no language to be concerned about but some of the plot lines may have younger children asking some pretty heavy questions.
The journey Vivo and Gabi take features some action but not "super hero action", there is no combat, no depictions of violence or weapons.
My Final Thoughts
I laughed. I cried. I danced.
Vivo features stunning animation, and bright colors -especially in the scenes that switch from the 3D to 2D animation.
There are great messages in the film about perseverance and never giving up what you believe in and the importance of being yourself.
Lin-Manuel Miranda plays an honest, joke cracking kinkajou and Ynairaly Simo is stellar in her role as Gabi!
Children and adults will find something to like about Vivo!
Vivo age recommendation: 6+
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There are some heavy scenes that may have children asking questions and there are certainly some scenes of peril that may scare younger children.
That being said, I did watch this film with my children who are younger than 6 and while they both really enjoyed the songs and thought Vivo, the kinkajou was very funny and my older one even called Gabi "so cool" there were some elements that most certainly went over their heads.
Vivo pulls on the heartstrings, features a pretty epic adventure between friends and teaches the valuable lesson of being "a wow in a world full of ho-hum"!