Huzzah! Netflix has a new animated film out this weekend, and it’s perfect for a family movie night.
The Premise: An old man named Andrés gets a second chance at love when his old flame reaches out to him in Cuba, inviting him to her final show in Miami for a lovers’ reunion. Andrés is touched, and has just the thing: a love song he wrote for her when they parted ways years ago. Unable to deliver it to her himself, his new partner (in life and in business, but not in love), a singing monkey named Vivo (voiced by Lin-Manuel Miranda), takes it upon himself, with a the help of a little girl named Gabi (Ynairaly Simo), to make Andrés’ last wish come true.
The Verdict: I don’t expect much from Netflix animation, but clearly I need to revise my bias as the last few examples have proven me wrong. I hoped Vivo might be good, but I was delighted to find myself loving it. The animation was quite pleasant, and the songs were nearly first-rate – some of them may even live lives outside of streaming. I even learned a little something: the monkey Vivo isn’t a monkey at all. He’s actually a kinkajou, also known as a rainforest honey bear, a nocturnal, fruit-eating tree-dweller more related to raccoons than to monkeys. They’re also surprisingly good singers and look quite dashing in small hats and foulards. Enjoy.