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Starring: Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ynairaly Simo, Zoe Saldana, Juan de Marcos González, Brian Tyree Henry, Gloria Estefan, Nicole Byer, Michael Rooker, Leslie David Baker, Katie Lowes, Olivia Trujillo, Lidya Jewett
OUR RATING: ★★★☆☆
Netflix’s animated musical comedy directed and co-written by Kirk DeMicco. Vivo (2021) follows a kinkajou, Vivo (Lin-Manuel Miranda), who must find his way from Havana to Miami in order to deliver a love letter to the famous Marta Sandoval (Gloria Estefan), written long ago, in the form of a song on behalf of his beloved owner and mentor, Andres, (Juan de Marcos González). Yet in order to get to the distant shores of Miami, Vivo will need to accept the help of Gabi (Ynairaly Simo), an energetic tween who bounces to the beat of her own offbeat drum.
Andrés: [singing] You really love music, don’t you? Come down from the tree. You can stay with me. But what will your name be? You’re so full of music and life, and I have the perfect name for you. Vivo!
Vivo: And that, friends, is how you do it in Havana, Cuba. Precision, timing, not a moment out of place. Because even though Andrés and I might not have spoken the same language, when it came to music, we became so in sync that, well, we finished each other’s musical phrases.
Vivo: You might look at us and think, “Those guys got a perfect life.” And you’d be right. That is, until the letter came.
Marta Sandoval: [writing a letter to Andrés] As I prepare for retirement, I have been flooded with memories of the beautiful music we once made together. I don’t know if you can forgive my silence since we separated all those years ago. But nothing would mean more to me than for us to sing together again.
Woman: You have to go, Andrés. You can finally perform in Miami together.
Vivo: What? No! This is where our audience is.
Andrés: I cannot go to Miami. I’m an old man.
Vivo: Yeah, great point. Know your limits.
Vivo: [referring to Andrés’s picture] Oh. Wait. This is you? I assumed you were always an old man. So you guys were like a duo?
Andrés: Marta, ay. She was the toast of Havana. She had the most beautiful voice in all Cuba. And she was also the love of my life. But I never told her how I felt. Everybody knew that she would be a big star someday.
Andrés: One night, after another sold-out show, I knew that this was my moment. I had finally found the courage to tell her how I felt. But just then, we were interrupted by a promoter from the United States. He offered Marta a chance to perform at the Mambo Cabana in Miami. Marta was floating on air. Her dream was finally coming true. And at that moment, I realized that if I told her what was in my heart, she might not follow her heart. So I kept my feelings to myself, and said nothing.
Andrés: All my love, all my sadness, I put it into a song. It was a song too painful to play. A song Marta would never hear.
Andrés: Here it is, Vivo. The last song I ever wrote.
Vivo: Wow. She never got to hear it. That’s so sad.
Andrés: But now, my friend, I have the greatest gift in the world. A second chance!
Vivo: Second what now?
Andrés: We are going to the Mambo Cabana!
Vivo: The Mambo the what what?
Vivo: I can’t believe you’re seriously considering this.
Andrés: Oh, Vivo, you are excited too, eh?
Vivo: No! I’m not excited. We’re not Miami guys! We’re small town guys! We’re plaza guys!
Andrés: Don’t worry. Everything will be okay.
Andrés: Listen, Vivo. I must deliver this song to Marta. She needs to know that I love her. It’s only one song.
Vivo: What is he thinking? A plane trip to Miami. It’s been sixty years, and you go all the way there for one show? For one song? What difference can one song make?
Montoya: Havana lost a good friend in Andrés Hernández. For years, the sound of his tres filled this plaza and our hearts. We were all so excited for news that he would soon be reunited with Marta Sandoval. But alas, it was not meant to be.
Gabi: You should come live with me in Florida! Yeah, we’re going home tomorrow. Come on, get in the bag. Wait, wait, Vivo. Where are you going? Are you worried about where you’ll be going to the bathroom? It’s okay. I got wipes in here.
'Unbreakable bonds. That's what we got. Family takes care of family.' - Gabi (Vivo) Click To Tweet
Rosa: Pulgita, you can’t keep pushing everyone away. If you don’t at least try to get along with other kids, you’re going to be very lonely.
Gabi: It’s fine. It’s just the belongings of your dearly departed great uncle. Rolling on the floor, all by itself. Playing spooky accordion music.
Gabi: Vivo, you’re here!
Vivo: Yep. And now I’m leaving.
Gabi: You followed me, didn’t you? And you snuck in my bag, because you love me! I’m so glad you’re here, Vivo. Now I have someone to share my friendship bracelet with. Best friends forever!
Vivo: Hey, let go. Paws to yourself.
Gabi: Hold still.
Vivo: Forever’s a long time, kid! I have a song to deliver.
Gabi: I can feel hives coming on. My throat is getting itchy.
Rosa: It’s a uniform, not an allergy.
Gabi: She doesn’t get me at all. She wants me to wear a uniform just like everyone else. But I’m not like everyone else, because…
Gabi: [singing] I bounce to the beat of my own drum. I’m a wow in a world full of ho-hum. I’m a wild young lady. But you know something? I’d rather be at home with my own drum.
Vivo: [referring to Gabi] That girl is a whole lot of something.
Key West Dog: Aw, you are adorable.
Vivo: Uh, thank you?
Key West Dog: Probably tasty too.
Gabi: [reading Andrés’s lyrics] “Your plane leaves in the morning. Soon the world will see you shine. And I wish I could go with you, but your journey isn’t mine.” You know what this means? He never got to say, “I love you.” Vivo, this is really important. Marta needs to hear this song. And I’m going to get you there.
Gabi: We don’t have much time. But don’t worry. I have a plan. First, get in my bag.
Vivo: [shudders in disgust as he sees the inside of her bag] Ugh! Anything for Andrés. Anything for Andrés. Anything for Andrés.
Gabi: Don’t worry, I have another better idea.
Vivo: Does it involve cleaning your backpack? Because there’s a lot of stuff in there. Wipes are none of them. I saw no wipes.
'To me and other rational people, a plan revolves around the Five P's. Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance.' - Vivo Click To Tweet
Gabi: [to Vivo] Now, remember, stay in my bag. And if anyone asks, you’re my emotional support animal.
Becky: You know that if you buy a Sand Dollars cloth bag instead of using a plastic one, then you won’t have the blood of Mother Nature on your hands.
Mr. Henshaw: I’m not a bad man. I just want a cookie.
Eva: What’s his name?
Gabi: His name’s Vivo. And he’s a possum.
Becky: Gabi, that’s not a possum. That’s a kinkajou. A very rare South American tropical rain forest mammal, AKA, the honey bear.
Vivo: The honey bear? Never heard it, but I’ll take it.