A whimsical journey to reunite with a long-lost love? An unlikely friendship made along the way? Two hallmarks of a delightful animated tale. One sure to make us laugh, and even more certain to make us ugly cry. Sony Pictures Animation has been on a roll these last few years, delivering us the inimitable
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and the delightful The Mitchells vs. The Machines, which was released on Netflix earlier this summer. The studio’s latest venture with Netflix is a beautiful musical adventure starring one Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Vivo follows a kinkajou who embarks on a journey to deliver a letter from his owner, Andrés, to his long-lost love and former musical partner, Marta, who lives far away. Along the way Vivo befriends a tween named Gabi who is determined to help Vivo complete his mission.
The vibrant trailer certainly sets up a hilarious tale. However, there’s an air of melancholy to it; it’s also a story of missed connections and regret. When Andrés receives a letter from Marta inviting him to perform together one last time at a farewell show, he finally has a chance to correct that missed chance to tell her how he feels. But as the film’s synopsis reveals, tragedy strikes, leaving “Vivo to deliver a message that Andrés never could: A love letter to Marta, written long ago, in the form of a song.”
The film has a very stacked voice cast with Miranda playing the titular honey bear, Buena Vista Social Club’s Juan de Marcos voicing Andrés, and Gloria Estefan as Marta Sandoval. Newcomer Ynairaly Simo voices Gabi. Rounding out the Vivo cast is Zoe Saldaña, Michael Rooker, Brian Tyree Henry, Nicole Byer, Katie Lowes, Olivia Trujillo, and Lidya Jewett.
Sony Pictures Animation/Netflix
In The Heights scribe Quiara Alegria Hudes wrote the film, while Kirk DeMicco directs, and Brandon Deffords serves as co-director. Naturally, Miranda is behind the film’s original songs. His Hamilton collaborator Alex Lacamoire is composing and serving as the film’s executive music producer.
Vivo debuts on Netflix on August 6.