Complete A-Z list



Stars: Voices: Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ynairaly Simo, Zoe Saldana, Gloria Estefan, Brian Tyree Henry, Michael Rooker, Katie Lowes, Juan de Marcos Gonzalez

Director: Kirk DiMicco

Just now, that man Lin-Manuel Miranda is everywhere. With the film of his stage smash Hamilton in demand, his directorial debut with Tick, tick...BOOM! running in cinemas, Vivo, for which he provided not only the music and lyrics but also the voice of the central character, and Disney's acclaimed Encanto opening this week.

Vivo, although some of its songs are good, is never going to figure at the top of Miranda's CV, playing second fiddle in the animation stakes to the enchanting Encanto (review soon). It starts in dazzling fashion, with elderly music-maker Andres (Gonzalez), playing his guitar and running his cart through the centre of Havana, while his pet kinkajou Vivo (Miranda) joins him in song.

All too soon, however, the film, takes an unexpected left turn and in no time gets itself bogged down in the Florida bayou. Andres, it transpires, has written a farewell song for his long-lost love Marta Sandoval (Estefan) and it falls to Vivo to get it to Miami for her last big concert.

Very resistible characters along the way include a glumpy, purple-haired sub-teen (Simo), who runs away to accompany Vivo, a lovelorn spoonbill (Henry), and a too-grotesque anaconda (Rooker) who can't stand noise. The film does reassert itself for a tear-jerking finale, but much of its initial momentum has been lost.

Several of the songs are tunefully constructed, and the lyrics inventive, but there are one or two clunkers as well. It's a minor, if colourful entry in Miranda's skyrocketing career.

On Netflix

David Quinlan

USA 2021. UK Distributor: Netflix (Sony/Columbia). Colour by Company 3.
95 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: U.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 27 Nov 2021