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Patricia Puentes

The 27 Most Anticipated Movies of 2022

movie review of vivo

We can’t believe it’s already almost April either. But there’s still a lot of 2022 ahead of us and we thought about taking a renewed look at our selection of some of 2022’s most anticipated films, especially considering the calendar of releases has changed a lot in the last few weeks. 

Bear in mind that nothing is set in stone, so this isn’t a comprehensive selection. New titles will pop up as the new year unfolds. Plus, most of these titles are tentpole movies and/or sequels or adaptations from pre-existing franchises. Expect the year 2022 to be full of those, but also keep in mind that there’ll also be a fair share of must-see indie movies as the year progresses. It’s hard to know if 2022 will be the year that cinema-going returns to normal, or if we’ll all still be doing a lot of streaming at home for certain titles, while opting for the big screen for others. 

And yes, some of the titles on this list are movies that we were already looking forward to watching back in 2019 — ahem, Top Gun: Maverick .

Winter 2022: Movies That Have Already Premiered

movie review of vivo

The 355 (January 7): This action-espionage ensemble stars Jessica Chastain as a CIA agent who joins forces with a German agent (Diane Kruger), a former MI6 ally who specializes in computers (Lupita Nyong’o) and a Colombian psychologist (Penélope Cruz) on a mission to recover a top-secret weapon. Bingbing Fan plays the mysterious woman who follows their every move. The 355 is now available on Peacock and on video on demand (VOD).

Scream (January 14): This is the fifth installment of the Scream franchise. Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox and David Arquette return to their iconic roles alongside newcomers Melissa Barrera, Kyle Gallner, Mason Gooding and Jenna Ortega. Twenty-five years after the brutal murders that terrified the small town of Woodsboro, a new killer dons the Ghostface mask and targets a group of teenagers. Scream is now available on Paramount+ and VOD.

Moonfall (February 4): Master of disaster and climate change advocate Roland Emmerich co-writes and directs this film that sees the Moon on the brink of colliding with Earth and annihilating our world. Halle Berry plays a former astronaut who partners with another astronaut (Patrick Wilson) and a conspiracy theorist (John Bradley from Game of Thrones ). Together they’ll try to save humanity as they discover our Moon is not what we think it is.

Death on the Nile (February 11): This new adaptation of a classic Agatha Christie novel has Kenneth Branagh directing and playing the lead detective, Hercule Poirot — the Irish filmmaker already starred in and directed Murder on the Orient Express (2017). This one has been postponed several times due not only to the pandemic but also because a prominent role in the movie is played by Armie Hammer. The movie debuts on Hulu and HBO Max on March 29. 

Uncharted (February 18): Based on the eponymous action-adventure video game series , the movie stars Tom Holland ( Spider-Man: Homecoming ) as Nathan Drake and Mark Wahlberg as Victor Sullivan. They both embark on an epic international adventure — Barcelona is prominently featured in the trailer — in the pursuit of “the greatest treasure never found.” Meanwhile, Nathan starts discovering new details about his long-lost brother.

The Batman (March 4): Robert Pattinson dons the cape and the pointy-eared mask in this new reboot of the bat franchise. Matt Reeves ( Dawn of the Planet of the Apes ) co-writes and directs the movie, which also stars Zoë Kravitz, Paul Dano, Peter Sarsgaard, Andy Serkis, Jeffrey Wright and John Turturro. Don’t miss our article on the hidden details in The Batman ’s first trailer and the movie’s inception and our full review of The Batman . 

Turning Red (March 11): Pixar’s first 2022 title is directed by Domee Shi, who won an Oscar for her short film Bao (2018). The movie follows the story of 13-year-old Mei Lee (voiced by Rosalie Chiang), who turns into a giant red panda every time she gets excited. Sandra Oh voices Mei Lee’s overbearing mom, Ming. Read our review of Turning Red here . 

Deep Water (March 18): Based on the novel of the same name by Patricia Highsmith and starring Ana de Armas and Ben Affleck, this is one of the titles that has been postponed several times because of COVID-19. De Armas and Affleck play a married couple who have an arrangement to keep their marriage afloat. But when their games turn into murder, things get messier. Highsmith’s source material offers a portrayal of the fake veneer covering American suburbia — let’s hope the film does too.

The Lost City (March 25): Sandra Bullock returns to her comedy roots starring in this action-adventure where she plays Loretta Sage. She’s a popular romance-adventure writer on a promotional tour with Alan (Channing Tatum), the model who has always portrayed Loretta’s main character: the hero Dash. When Loretta is kidnapped by a billionaire (Daniel Radcliffe) who wants to find an ancient lost city’s treasure from one of her novels, Alan decides to take the lead and rescue her as Dash would do. They end up in the middle of the jungle needing to work together to stay alive and find the ancient treasure before it’s lost forever.

Spring Movies 2022

movie review of vivo

Morbius (April 1): Set in the same universe as Venom , Morbius stars the chameleonic Jared Leto as Dr. Michael Morbius. He suffers from a rare blood disease and, while trying to find a cure for himself and others, he ends up transformed into someone with an urge for blood and other vampiric tendencies. Watching the method actor Leto transform himself into a mindless creature may prove to be one of the most appealing aspects of the film.

Ambulance (April 8): Michael Bay produces and directs this film starring Yahya Abdul-Mateen II ( Candyman ) as Will, a vet desperate to pay for his wife’s medical bills. His adoptive brother, Dany (Jake Gyllenhaal), is a professional criminal. When Will asks him for help, Dany enlists Will in a $32 million bank robbery. The two of them end up in an adrenaline-fueled chase through the streets of Los Angeles, inside of an ambulance driven by EMT Cam (Eiza González).

Downton Abbey: A New Era (May 20): First there were the six seasons of the television drama about a family of British aristocrats, their estate and the servants who allowed for everything to run smoothly. Then there was a 2019 movie too, and now it’s time for a film sequel: A New Era . Julian Fellowes, the creator of the show, returns once more here as the writer. And yes, the good news is that despite the dire health diagnosis the Dowager Countess revealed to her granddaughter Mary (Michelle Dockery) at the end of the previous movie, Maggie Smith returns to A New Era to hopefully dispense fresh doses of perfectly delivered puns. 

Top Gun: Maverick (May 27): The original Top Gun opened in 1986. Now, this sequel that’s been decades in the making follows Tom Cruise’s Maverick after he’s served more than 30 years as a pilot in the Navy. When he has to train a group of Top Gun graduates for an impossible mission, Maverick meets Lt. Bradley Bradshaw (Miles Teller), the son of his long-lost friend Goose. Expect spectacular aerial sequences and a lot of need for speed.

Jurassic World: Dominion (June 10): Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard return for this sixth installment of the Jurassic Park franchise and sequel to Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018). Franchise originals Sam Neill, Jeff Goldblum and Laura Dern also star in this movie. Lightyear (June 17): Who was the Space Ranger who inspired the Buzz Lightyear toy from the Toy Story franchise? Chris Evans voices Buzz in this origin story that Pixar describes as a sci-fi action-adventure film.

movie review of vivo

Elvis (June 24): Musical heavy-weight Baz Luhrmann ( Moulin Rouge ) directs and co-writes this biopic starring Austin Butler ( The Carrie Diaries ) as music legend Elvis Presley. The film also stars Tom Hanks as Presley’s manager, Colonel Tom Parker. “The story delves into the complex dynamic between Presley and Parker spanning over 20 years, from Presley’s rise to fame to his unprecedented stardom, against the backdrop of the evolving cultural landscape and loss of innocence in America,” reads Warner Bros.’ official synopsis of the film.

Summer Movies 2022

movie review of vivo

Minions: The Rise of Gru (July 1): Allow me the yellow indulgence since I’ve been a fan of these adorable polyglot creatures since I first saw Despicable Me in a movie theater back in 2010. This second prequel of the Minions origin story — and fifth installment of the Despicable Me franchise — is set in the 1970s and follows a 12-year-old Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) and his faithful army of yellow sidekick followers. 

Thor: Love and Thunder (July 8): This fourth Thor movie — the second one helmed by the New Zealander Taika Waititi — sees Natalie Portman returning as astrophysicist and Thor’s ex, Jane Foster. Waititi, who’s also taken writing duties for this film, has teased at its romantic components . The movie will also feature Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson and Christian Bale.

Nope (July 22): After Get Out and Us , here comes the next psychological horror film written and directed by Academy Award-winner Jordan Peele. Details are still very much under wraps for this movie, which stars Academy Award-winner Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer and Oscar nominee Steven Yeun . You can read more about Nope and its enigmatic first trailer here . 

Fall Movies 2022

movie review of vivo

Don’t Worry Darling (September 23): Olivia Wilde’s second feature film after she directed the outstanding Booksmart (2019) stars Florence Pugh and Harry Styles as a married couple living in a utopian experimental community in the 1950s. Pugh plays a housewife and someone who fears that the company her husband works for may be hiding something. The movie also stars Wilde alongside Chris Pine, Gemma Chan and Kiki Layne.

Spider-Man: Across Spider-Verse (Part One) (October 7): After the multiverse-set Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film and was lauded for its diverse representation — the movie stars Miles Morales (voiced by Shameik Moore) as an Afro-Latino kid who also happens to be Spider-Man — we really are looking forward to this Spider-Verse sequel. Not to mention, it’s one of several animated films we’re most excited about seeing this year. 

Black Adam (October 21): This eleventh installment in the DC Extended Universe is directed by the Catalan filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra and stars Dwayne Johnson as the titular villain. Pierce Brosnan and Aldis Hodge also appear in this Johnson-starring vehicle that could see him become Shazam’s archenemy. 

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (November 11): Ryan Coogler returns as co-writer and director of the much-anticipated sequel to his Black Panther (2018), the first superhero film to be nominated for a coveted Best Picture nod at the Oscars. Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Daniel Kaluuya, Winston Duke, Florence Kasumba and Angela Bassett reprise their roles from the original movie. The multi-talented Michaela Coel ( I May Destroy You ) will play a new role in this sequel. To honor the memory of the late Chadwick Boseman, who played Black Panther in the original film, Marvel has announced that this movie won’t recast the titular role . Also, Thor: Love and Thunder and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever aren’t the only two Marvel Cinematic Universe movies to be released in 2022. There’ll also be Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (May 6).

She Said (November 18): Maria Schrader ( Unorthodox ) directs this adaptation of Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor’s book in which they relate their New York Times investigation into Harvey Weinstein’s sexual harassment and abuse behavior. The exposé helped further the #MeToo movement. The film stars Zoe Kazan, Carey Mulligan, Patricia Clarkson and Andre Braugher.

Avatar 2 (December 16): Thirteen years after James Cameron introduced us to Pandora in Avatar , here comes the second installment of this story. Zoe Saldaña, Sam Worthington and Sigourney Weaver all return to Avatar 2 , alongside newcomers Kate Winslet, Vin Diesel and Michelle Yeoh. The franchise is expected to have five installments in total, with each new movie being released two years apart.

I Wanna Dance with Somebody (December 21): Naomi Ackie ( Small Axe ) plays the late singer Whitney Houston in this musical biopic that’s directed by Kasie Lemons ( Harriet ) and also stars Clarke Peters, Stanley Tucci and Nafessa Williams.


movie review of vivo


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2021, Kids & family/Musical, 1h 38m

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Critics consensus.

Vivo offers few surprises, but this attractively animated adventure is enlivened by the catchy songs contributed by star Lin-Manuel Miranda. Read critic reviews

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Common Sense says

Touching musical about family and love has a little peril.

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movie review of vivo

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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Vivo is a touching animated musical about a one-of-a-kind singing kinkajou (voiced by Lin-Manuel Miranda ) who has a great life in Havana with acclaimed aging bandleader Andrés (Cuban musician Juan de Marcos González). When Andrés dies unexpectedly, Vivo decides he must travel from Cuba to Miami to find his friend's former musical partner/the one who got away. Viewers who are already fans of Miranda's work will enjoy his signature hip-hop and Latin music-inspired soundtrack. The movie has a few moments of sadness and peril, including when a dog calls Vivo tasty and chases after him, and when Vivo and Andrés' grand-niece, Gabi (Ynairaly Simo), travel through the Everglades on their own and have to deal with an unexpected storm and a killer python, as well as a lovesick spoonbill who'd rather die than face a mate-less future. Friends argue, and a girl deceives her mother, but there are ultimately clear messages of courage, empathy, teamwork, and the transformational power of love.

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Brilliant BUT deals with Death & Suicide.

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VIVO opens in modern-day Havana, Cuba, where an older musician named Andrés ( Buena Vista Social Club 's Juan de Marcos González) entertains audiences with his best friend/just-as-musical pet kinkajou, Vivo ( Lin-Manuel Miranda ), who loves to sing. Other animals (and, of course, viewers) can understand Vivo's lyrics, but the movie's humans hear cute (and in-tune) animal sounds. Andrés is unexpectedly invited to fly to Miami to play at the farewell concert of his former bandmate and long-lost love, Marta Sandoval (Grammy winner Gloria Estefan ). He explains to Vivo that he must go in order to declare his love and give her the song he wrote decades ago as she left Cuba. But then poor Andrés dies in his sleep, clutching the song. During his funeral, Vivo meets Andrés' widowed niece, Rosa ( Zoe Saldana ), and her quirky, risk-taking tween daughter, Gabi (Ynairaly Simo), who helps smuggle Vivo (and Andrés' song) back to Florida. Once they get there, the story becomes a road trip adventure, as Gabi -- who doesn't feel like she fits in, particularly with the girls in her rules-following Sand Dollar Scout troop -- and Vivo try to get to Miami in time for Marta's big show. Together they face a series of obstacles ranging from comical to frightening as they race to deliver the song to Andrés' one true love.

Is It Any Good?

This upbeat but poignant animated musical benefits from Miranda's signature genre-blending songs, an adorable main character, and Estefan's memorable voice. Sony Pictures Animation was brilliant to strike a deal with Miranda in 2016 to collaborate with their team for this tale of music, love, and friendship. The movie, which Netflix eventually acquired, is sure to strike a chord with the Broadway superstar's devoted Hamilfans, as well as families looking for a colorful, sweet musical with catchy songs, vibrant animation, and a funny (if occasionally perilous) adventure that will remind audiences to appreciate supportive parents, loyal friends, and the ability to tell people you love them while you still have the chance. In addition to Miranda's inimitable voice, Estefan is perfectly cast as the Celia Cruz-like musical superstar who left Cuba decades earlier to build a career in Miami. Acclaimed Cuban musician de Marcos González is wonderful as Andrés, and young Simo shares a believable rapport with both Saldana and Miranda; she also holds her own while rapping and pretending to be off-key (it's a running gag that while music is in her blood, she hasn't quite captured her talent yet).

Brian Tyree Henry and Nicole Byer stand out in their supporting roles as spoonbills who finally get together after eight "dating" seasons thanks to Vivo's seize-the-day encouragement, and Michael Rooker is fairly scary as Lutador the python, a husky-voiced apex predator of the Everglades. Directors Kirk DeMicco and Brandon Jeffords capture the movie's various tropical locales with detailed, differentiating characteristics, making it easy to distinguish between Havana, Key West, the Everglades, and Miami. The Everglades sequences are particularly impressive, with all of the colorful animals and the general sense of unease the swampy mangroves and marshes present to both an unfamiliar animal and humans alike. The movie's vibrant landscapes are best put to use as backdrops for its many original songs, all of which have thoughtful, reflective lyrics about everything from family and grief to loneliness and friendship to love and the importance of following your dream.

Talk to Your Kids About ...

Families can talk about the popularity of talking-animal movies. How does Vivo compare to movies in which all of the characters are animals? Why do you think filmmakers -- and families -- gravitate toward movies that have animals as their main characters? Which are your favorites?

Do you think Vivo is a role model ? How does he demonstrate courage and empathy ? Why are those important character strengths ? What about Gabi? Why is their teamwork unique?

Discuss why Vivo was scared by the idea of Andrés going to Miami. What changes his mind about the importance of one song? What do Vivo and Gabi have in common?

What positive representations did you notice in Vivo ? Why is it important for the characters in movies and TV shows to be diverse?

Movie Details

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movie review of vivo

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What begins in lively and vibrant fashion as the title would suggest gets bogged down in a literal and figurative swamp in “Vivo.”

The animated, family-friendly musical adventure from director and co-writer Kirk DeMicco (“ The Croods ”) and co-director Brandon Jeffords offers a rich and colorful sense of place, particularly during its early passages in Cuba. When it’s about the power of music to transform and connect people across years and miles, the film is at its strongest. But when it becomes a road trip movie with the characters encountering various obstacles en route to their destination of Miami, “Vivo” loses its way.

The multitalented Lin-Manuel Miranda provides the songs and the voice of the titular role: a charismatic and wide-eyed kinkajou who busks on the streets of Havana. Most of the movie’s music carries the catchy rhythms and clever wordplay that are the signatures of the man who created “ Hamilton ” and “In the Heights.” An infectious highlight is the upbeat, Latin-flavored opening number, which Vivo performs to an appreciative crowd alongside his human companion, the aging musician Andres (a gentle Juan de Marcos of Buena Vista Social Club). The two have a warm and easy chemistry, and the furry dude couldn’t be cuter in his tiny hat and neckerchief, rapping and playing the bongo. Seriously, you may be seeing a bunch of Vivo backpacks and T-shirts when kids return to school in a few weeks.

To us—and, as we’ll find out later, to other animals—he’s intelligible, but all the rest of the world hears are adorable chirping and chittering sounds. Still, Vivo has a deep emotional connection with Andres, a tender soul who still pines for the one who got away. His former performing partner, Marta Sandoval (voiced by a gracious Gloria Estefan ), fled for the United States decades ago to fulfill her dreams of stardom. An invitation to reunite with her in Miami for her farewell concert enlivens old memories and yearnings for what might have been; his recollection of the melancholy, melon-hued sunset the day her plane took off is swoonworthy. Similarly, flashbacks rendered in traditional, two-dimensional animation add a romantic, wistful feel compared to the contours and textures of the present-day scenes.

Vivo is afraid to leave the insular familiarity of his Havana plaza for a trip to the big city. But when tragedy hits—which the screenplay from DeMicco and “In the Heights” writer Quiara Alegría Hudes handles with great delicacy and grace—he must find the bravery to make the journey and deliver one last song from Andres to Marta. A visit from Andres’ niece, Rosa ( Zoe Saldana ), and her daughter, Gabi (energetic newcomer Ynairaly Simo ), gives Vivo the opportunity to stowaway to Key West. And Gabi, a perky, purple-haired tween who’s a bit of a misfit—as we’re told repeatedly in her anthem about marching to the beat of her own drum—is so starved for friendship that she’s thrilled to make the 160-mile trek with him. She also hopes to make music with Vivo, which harkens to a loss in her own family.

But “Vivo” becomes far less interesting the farther it gets from the strength of those heartwarming musical origins. Once it decides it’s a wacky action movie rather than a sweet romantic comedy—presumably to keep the youngest viewers engaged—the pacing ironically slows and meanders. An overlong interlude in the film’s midsection finds Gabi and Vivo stranded in the Everglades, encountering all manner of animal—some friendly, some predatory. Brian Tyree Henry and Nicole Byer provide the voices of a couple of beautiful but nervous birds who fall awkwardly in love with each other, and the movie grinds to a halt to watch them sing and fly. Michael Rooker ’s talents go to waste lending his menacing growl as a giant snake who hates noise for some reason. And a trio of officious and insistent Girl Scout types, whom Gabi desperately wants to avoid, add nothing to the proceedings as they track her down and try to make her sell cookies. (Their bossy, blonde leader is the spitting image of Reese Witherspoon , though.)

All these characters do is insert chaos and serve as filler, and they make zero sense if “Vivo” is meant to be a race against the clock to get the song into Marta’s hands before she leaves the stage. Yes, yes, I know. The journey is the destination, and this one’s meant to be all about facing challenges and overcoming fears. It’s rather generic kids-movie stuff, thematically. But the closer the characters get to Miami, the less urgent their mission feels. And perhaps most frustrating of all, the tune that’s crucial to driving the narrative ends up being one of the weakest and most forgettable.

Now playing on Netflix.

Christy Lemire

Christy Lemire

Christy Lemire is a longtime film critic who has written for RogerEbert.com since 2013. Before that, she was the film critic for The Associated Press for nearly 15 years and co-hosted the public television series "Ebert Presents At the Movies" opposite Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, with Roger Ebert serving as managing editor. Read her answers to our Movie Love Questionnaire here .

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Vivo movie poster

Vivo (2021)

Rated PG for some thematic elements and mild action.

Lin-Manuel Miranda as Vivo (voice)

Juan de Marcos González as Andrés (voice)

Gloria Estefan as Marta Sandoval (voice)

Ynairaly Simo as Gabi (voice)

Zoe Saldana as Rosa (voice)

Michael Rooker as Lutador (voice)

Paloma Morales as Croqueta Lady


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‘Vivo’ Review: A Musical Tale That Goes Offbeat

The animated musical, about a kinkajou who goes on a journey to deliver a song, may have an uneven story, but the movie’s stellar songs, by Lin-Manuel Miranda, reflect the artist at his best.

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From left, Gabi (voiced by Ynairaly Simo) and Vivo (voiced by Lin-Manuel Miranda) in “Vivo.”

By Maya Phillips

It’s all about the beat — in music and in “Vivo,” a new animated movie ( streaming on Netflix ) with an uneven story but dynamite songs from the “Hamilton” maestro himself, Lin-Manuel Miranda.

In the film, from Sony Pictures Animation and directed by Kirk DeMicco, Vivo (Miranda), a musically talented kinkajou (a tropical mammal that looks like an adorable monkey-cat hybrid) busks the streets of Havana, Cuba, with his owner Andrés (Juan de Marcos). But after a tragedy, Vivo must journey to Florida to deliver a love song to his owner’s former musical partner and long-lost love, the famous Marta Sandoval ( Gloria Estefan ).

A death, a journey, a multicultural cast of characters whose first language is music: “Vivo” feels like it’s in conversation with other recent animated movies with these themes, like “ Coco ” and “ Soul .” The representation is essential, but there’s the risk of “brown characters finding grief and love through the beauty of music” becoming the new trope.

Certainly “Vivo,” despite its exuberant beginning and heartfelt ending, struggles to offer more than odd turns and clichés in the rest of its story. The exacting Vivo is buddied up with the rambunctious purple-haired Gabi (Ynairaly Simo). Side characters — three off-brand Girl Scouts, two awkward spoonbills looking for love, a vicious python, Gabi’s exasperated mother — are meant to add humor and dramatic pitch but are too clumsily integrated to do much of either.

So thank the Broadway gods for the film’s stellar music. Miranda’s songs incorporate his signature rapid-fire rapping, along with quick tempo changes and genre mash-ups. Gabi’s song, “My Own Drum,” with its grade-school Nicki Minaj-esque rap and auto-tune, is the jam I didn’t know I needed in my life.

“Vivo” has cuteness to spare, even if the rest is hit or miss. But, we all know, the beat goes on.

Vivo Rated PG. Running time: 1 hour 35 minutes. Watch on Netflix.

movie review of vivo

Vivo (I) (2021)

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Ynairaly Simo as Gabi and Lin-Manuel Miranda as Vivo

Vivo review – sweet but forgettable Netflix animation is Pixar-lite

Lin-Manuel Miranda voices a spunky kinkajou in a pleasant enough musical that feels like a patchwork of better kids’ films

A s part of Netflix’s recent quarterly update, the ever-expanding streamer bragged that this last year saw their biggest animated film to date, yet another sign of their all-conquering versatility. But despite a concerted effort to increase in-house animation, the movie in question was tellingly not one of their own creation but rather a Covid acquisition, made and primed by Sony for a big-screen release but panic-sold when cinemas shuttered.

The Mitchells vs the Machines was a deserving chart-topper; funny and inventive and of a markedly different league than any of Netflix’s self-made cartoons. But its success came at a notable price, a stinging reminder that even their dedicated viewership can sniff out the real butter (a point underlined this summer by the reported success of Amazon’s sci-fi thriller The Tomorrow War which was bought from Paramount). Earlier this year Sony also decided to offload their summer adventure Vivo, with Netflix waiting with an open door and an open chequebook. In the wake of the Mitchells milestone, it launches with high expectations attached, expectations that edge further toward the sky with the involvement of Hamilton’s man wonder Lin-Manuel Miranda, stepping out of his Disney deal to grace Sony with his voice, songs and brand appeal.

But while Vivo shares the expensive sheen and general good nature of Sony’s last hand-me-down, it falls short on just about everything else, a sweet and colourful musical adventure that isn’t quite sweet and colourful enough, coasting on simple pleasures that fade as soon as the music stops. While Mitchells was determined to blaze its own trail, Vivo is far more interested in cribbing from the Pixar playbook, especially in its opening stretch which tries its darndest to eke emotion out of the kind of eccentric set-up that we’ve come to know so well. It’s Havana, Cuba, and an elderly musician, Andrés (legendary Cuban musician Juan de Marcos González), performs in a local square with his trusty kinkajou, AKA honey bear, Vivo (Miranda). While Vivo’s sing-rap can be understood by us the viewers (even if at times we wish that weren’t the case), to the humans that surround him, all they hear is a squeak. But it’s a squeak with rhythm and the two make for an unusual yet effective pairing.

When Andrés’s old singing partner Marta (Gloria Estefan) gets back in touch after years of silence offering him the chance to join her onstage at her final concert in Miami, he sees an opportunity: to finally confess the feelings he was never brave enough to when they were young in the form of a specially crafted love song. But tragedy strikes and Vivo has to make the trek by himself to honour his old friend for the last time.

The opening combination of unusual dynamic and heart-grabbing tragedy, along with some dazzling animation, might be Pixar by numbers but Miranda’s earnest musical numbers edge us closer to old school Disney and as The Croods director Kirk DeMicco tries to coerce his film in the middle of a Venn diagram of both, he struggles to give it enough of its own personality. Like so many animated films, the narrative hinges on a manic quest (as Vivo heads to Miami with the help of an idiosyncratic young girl) but it’s not one that feels imaginative or exciting enough for us to get carried along with it. The locations are minimal, the stakes medium and the characters they meet along the way not quite amusing or distinctive enough. Even Vivo himself is just a standard-issue cute animal and Miranda’s energetic sing-rap mixed with his hand-on-heart show tunes is an acquired taste that would perhaps be easier to acquire if the songs themselves were that good (the final number, having been teased since the start, is frustratingly forgettable).

The eye-popping gloss of Vivo will probably lure in impressive numbers for Netflix (the animation itself is generic but impressive) but in a genre that promises so much magic, the spell cast by Miranda and co is a brief one.

Vivo is out in select cinemas on 30 July and on Netflix on 6 August

Most viewed

Andrés (voice of Juan de Marcos González) is a retired band leader. With his loyal animal companion, Vivo (voice of Lin-Manuel Miranda), a small golden kinkajou, he performs on the streets of Havana, Cuba. One day Andrés receives an invitation from his long-lost sweetheart and former musical partner, Marta Sandoval (voice of Gloria Estefan), to join her for her very last performance in Miami. Andrés dreams of going to Miami and finally telling Marta how much he loves her, but Vivo doesn’t want to leave Cuba.

On the morning of their departure, Vivo wakes to find that Andrés has died quietly in his sleep. In Andrés’s hand is a beautiful song he has composed for Marta. Vivo decides he must make it to Miami and fulfil Andrés’s wish to share the song with Marta before her last performance.

Andrés’s niece Rosa (voice of Zoe Saldana) and her quirky daughter Gabi (voice of Ynairaly Simo) come to Havana for their uncle’s funeral. Vivo hitches a ride in their suitcase back to America so that he can get to Miami on time. Of course, things don’t quite go to plan. Gabi, with much delight, discovers the stowaway kinkajou and insists on helping him get to Miami.

Together, the unlikely duo embarks on an adventure through Florida, including the wilderness of the Everglades national park and the glitzy boulevards of Miami. Here they hope to make it in time for Marta’s last performance.

Music; Latin music and culture; neurodiversity; endangered animals; adventure; death and death of a parent

Vivo has some mild slapstick violence. For example, Vivo throws things from a backpack at some girls riding scooters as he and Gabi try to outrun them on a bike.

Sexual references

Vivo has some romantic references. For example:

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

There’s no use of substances in Vivo .

Nudity and sexual activity

There’s no nudity and sexual activity in Vivo .

Product placement

There’s no product placement in Vivo .

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in Vivo , including ‘butt’.

Ideas to discuss with your children

Vivo is a fun and heart-warming musical adventure with an engaging plot and some very catchy songs. The animation is vibrant, there is great diversity in the characters, and Vivo the kinkajou is very cute. With some big-name Latin music artists involved, this movie is a great way for young children to experience the joy and complexity of Cuban music.

Vivo is best suited for families with children aged 6 years and over. We recommend parental guidance for children aged 6-8 years.

The main message from this movie is that sometimes other people’s dreams are worth fighting for, even if it means we have to make a sacrifice. Another theme that runs throughout is the amazing power of music to create bridges between people.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include:

This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about the real-life consequences of risk-taking. For example, Gabi is a risk-taker and often doesn’t think much about the consequences of her actions. You could talk with your children about how Gabi could reach her goals without getting into so much trouble and danger.

‘Vivo’ Movie Review: What You Need to Know Before You Watch This Netflix Movie

Right from the get go Vivo had us smiling and tapping our feet. It’s a colorful story from Sony Animation Studios that had us laughing, crying, and begging for more. Originally planned for a theatrical release Vivo is going straight to Netflix and I really hope it’s one families don’t overlook especially because out of the animated movies that have come out so far this year, this one is one of the best. Here’s our spoiler-free Vivo Netflix movie review that should help you decide if it’s worth a watch for this week’s family movie night (hint, we think it is!).

It gave us vibes from Soul, Us Again, and a dash of Princess and the Frog. All bound up in a new love story.

movie review of vivo

I’ve been dying to see a new animated musical, and where Raya and the Last Dragon let me down (where was the soundtrack?!) Vivo picked up the pieces. With an excellent soundtrack by Lin Manuel-Miranda, Vivo has catchy songs we will all be singing along to for years to come. And perhaps my favorite part about it is the variety of musical genres and styles from Latin to Hip Hop, R&B and Pop. The breakout performance from Ynairaly Simo was incredible and I’m sure we will be seeing much more from her in the near future.

Vivo Netflix movie review: Here's what to expect

What We Loved

It’s a captivating story that hooks you from the start. It’s a family movie that I won’t mind watching with my kids over and over again. Though it didn’t have the emotional and story depth that we saw in Spider-Man Into the Spider Verse (currently on replay in my house yet again). It’s a cute story that’s easy to follow along with. There isn’t one big scary villain (though there is a python appearance that my son loved) but a fun journey with obstacles along the way. 

We all had several laugh out loud moments which to me is a big indicator of how much the movie drew us in. The relatability of the mother, the beautiful culture from Havana to Key West to Miami, love and friendship were themes we all enjoyed. 

The cast and characters were all a delight. From fluffy fun Vivo to the well-intentioned but frustrating Sand Dollar troop.

Mom in Vivo Netflix movie review

The Downside

There are moments of peril that could be upsetting for little ones. Ty got really upset at one minor part that I wouldn’t have thought was upsetting. No spoilers in this review but shoot me a message if you want to know what that was. 

The cast is fantastic and even my oldest daughter right away said “that’s Hamilton!” when Vivo began to sing. It was a little challenging not to see Lin Manuel-Miranda’s face behind some of the dialogue, and especially in some of the songs, it didn’t take away from the story. 

My kids had a lot to say after screening this movie and we even watched it again later that day. Here’s their kids review of Vivo. 

Vivo movie review

Vivo Netflix Movie Review by a 11 and 8-year Old

What did you think of the movie.

J: I like it because there was a lot of music. 

T: I liked it. Because they were in the forest and jungle and I like animals and there were animals in it. 

What was the funniest part to you? 

J: I think the funniest part was when he went back into the girls room and didn’t realize.

T: I thought the funniest part was the shusshing iguana. 

Would you recommend it to your friends? 

J: I would probably recommend it as a movie to watch with your family for movie night. 

T: Yes, I would recommend it to my friends because I think they would like it. 

Bright an colorful characters in Vivo

What lesson did you learn? What message was the movie trying to get across?

J: I don’t think there was a huge lesson but I think there was a lesson in having each other’s backs.

T: I learned that a python is never that huge. 

Who was your favorite character?

J: Vivo because he was a cute little monkey and I liked that his voice was Hamilton. 

T: The snake, Lutador because I like snakes and I have a pet snake. 

Who would you recommend this movie to? 

J: Young families. Lee Lee.  

T: All my friends. 

Do you think it’s for older kids? 

J: Older kid who like musicals and people who like Hamilton music. 

T: I don’t know you’d have to ask them.

A python in the everglades features in Vivo Netflix

Did you think it was scary?

J: No. I think Lee Lee might be a little scared.

T: No. I think it might be scary for babies. 

Would you want to watch it again? 

J: YES!! 

T: YES! Because I liked it. Maybe 3 or 4 more times. 

movie review of vivo

How would you rank it compared to other movies? 

T: I liked it more than Into the Spider Verse. I liked it more than Jungle Cruise. About the same as Boss Baby 2. I liked it more than Wish Dragon. It’s a tough one with Luca.  

Q: What was your favorite part? 

T: When they were in the bayou 

What would you rank it out of 10?

T: 6 or 7 and 4 stars out of 5.

When and Where to Watch

Overall I give Vivo 4 out of 5 stars. You can watch it on Netflix starting Friday August 6th.

Are you going to give Vivo a watch? Let us know what you think!

And do you love watching, rating and reviewing movies with your family? Check out our Family Movie Night Journal . Bringing families together one movie at a time!

\'Vivo\' Movie Review: What You Need to Know Before You Watch This Netflix Movie

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Tags: kids movie reveiw , movie review , musicals , netflix

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I love animation with music, such as Sing, Frozen, Soul… Thank you for the review! I didn’t know there is a new movie!

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movie review of vivo

A kinkajou named  Vivo  must deliver his musical partner Andres’ last song to Andres’ love interest, Marta Sandoval, before her last performance in Miami. Traveling from Cuba with help from a human girl named Gabi,  Vivo must overcome his own fears to deliver the song in time.

Dove Review

Vivo  is a colorful, rhythm-filled animated musical that will make audiences tap their toes and sing along. Much of the music comes from  Vivo  himself, played by Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miranda, with a delightful blend of sung lyrics and spoken words. 

Vivo  has no desire to leave his beloved Cuba, having made music with Andres for years. But when Andres discovers that his beloved Marta is performing in Miami one more time, he prepares to leave Cuba, until tragedy strikes.  Vivo  is left to take Andres’ last unheard song to the United States so that Andres’ dream can be completed. Thanks to a new human friend, Gabi,  Vivo  discovers that he is not alone on his mission, even as they attempt to outsmart three animal rights-crazed Girl Scouts and a python who hates noise. 

Family friendly in terms of language and wholesomeness, the film has some adult themes (like Disney’s Up ), but it’s not because the topics are inappropriate. Instead, families can focus on the way that the film shows how people who are different can make beautiful music together, and the importance of music in giving us opportunities to share feelings and emotions that we can’t always put into words.

Given the emotional loss of Andres and  Vivo ’s tangling with the python, Dove Awards approval for Ages 12+ to the film.

The Dove Take

Vivo delivers colorful beats in terms of its variety of animation styles and the songs of Lin-Manuel Miranda. The importance of friendship – and music – are clear, and families will enjoy the wild adventures of the little kinkajou that the film is named after. 

Dove Rating Details

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Vivo review: Lin-Manuel Miranda's rapping kinkajou movie could use a little less rapping kinkajou

Darren Franich

Forget pirates. Vivo takes place in the modern Caribbean, all neon waves and pastel clothes, with Cuban beats echoing across the Florida straits all the way to Miami. The musical adventure (streaming Friday on Netflix) stars Lin-Manuel Miranda as the voice of Vivo, a kinkajou who works as the animal half of a street-performing duo. The opening number takes place on the streets of Havana, with a tune that lets Miranda mix his chatter-rap version of Broadway with a generous helping of local musical flavor. Non-animated Havana has lately been the sight of vast anti-government protests. Your mileage for a cheerful cartoon in that setting may vary, and even second graders will find the politics rather hazy.

Vivo sort of delivers as an energetic caper, moving from one colorful locale to another. Vivo's owner, elderly guitarist Andrés (Juan de Marcos), gets a letter from his long-ago near-love, the now-famous singer Marta Sandoval ( Gloria Estefan ). Flashbacks to the glory days of Andrés and Marta play out in dreamlike 2D, with animation that's romantically jazzy and anti-realistic on purpose. It looks lovely — and makes the rest of the film feel a bit bland, despite the lush coastal environments. (The film comes from director Kirk DeMicco, who also made The Croods ; rude to always say "Pixar looks better," but, well.) Vivo sets off to bring Andrés' lost ballad to Marta in time for the superstar's last Miami show. That requires a stopover in Key West — and a partnership with Andrés' grandniece Gabi (Ynairaly Simo). Their trip cuts through the Everglades, so that's four vacation locales in one brisk, 96-minute runtime.

Charismatic newcomer Simo makes Gabi a breakout character, con­fidently aspirational in her eccentricity, with a drum obsession that masks a sorrowful loss. Her shout-pop anthem "My Own Drum" is a kid's bop any adult can enjoy. Like all the tunes in Vivo , "My Own Drum" is an original Miranda composition. It's the most obvious lark. With the other songs, you feel the mind behind In the Heights and Hamilton working hard to integrate the legacy of Cuban music. Juan de Marcos is well-known internationally for his work with the Buena Vista Social Club. Estefan is, well, Estefan. Vivo digs deep into Cuban cultures across two countries. And this was originally a Sony production, which means nobody in this version of Florida even talks about theme parks.


Still, if you're at all skeptical of the lately controversial Miranda... well, the rapping kinkajou in a fedora won't change your mind. Vivo doesn't do its main character any favors by setting itself in a neither-here-nor-there version of a talking animal adventure. We hear Vivo's voice, but humans don't, but Gabi always seems to understand him, so weirdly Vivo doesn't even need Vivo to talk. And then, at the midway point, a bunch of other talking animals suddenly show up in the Everglades, possibly just so Miranda isn't voice-acting into a vacuum. The sudden-onset supporting cast includes Brian Tyree Henry and Nicole Byer as lovelorn spoonbills. Their way-too-brief appearance seems to come from a much zanier tropical-species ensemble film. Meanwhile, Gabi lives in Key West, but although there are a couple extensive sequences on the island, there's no sign of any drag shows: Missed opportunity!

I assume the youth will find fuzzy Vivo himself very cute, if a bit plastic-looking. Throughout, Miranda makes a valid attempt to merge mambo, hip-hop, and a bit of EDM with his trademark leafblower-of-lyricism flow. That sums up the movie's melting-pot clash of Cuban traditionalism and American-born Gen-Post-Z anarchy. Have tissues ready, and thank Vivo for teaching the little ones a valuable lesson: Do not go into a swamp alone, or you will meet a tree-size python who sounds just like Michael Rooker . B 

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Netflix’s ‘vivo’: film review.

Lin Manuel-Miranda voices the title character and contributes original songs to this animated film set in locations including Havana, Key West and the Everglades.

By Frank Scheck

Frank Scheck


Forget Alexander Hamilton. As the new animated musical Vivo makes clear, Lin-Manuel Miranda was born to play a kinkajou.

A rainforest mammal also known as a “honey bear” but more closely resembling a monkey, the kinkajou is not exactly cuddly in real life. It’s known to be easily startled and aggressive. But none of that will matter to the small fry who will be demanding stuffed versions of the adorable title character voiced by Miranda in this charming effort, to which he also contributed 11 original songs.

Release date: Friday, July 30 (theaters); Friday, Aug. 6 (streaming) Cast:  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 Director: Kirk DeMicco Co-director: Brandon Jeffords Screenwriters: Kirk DeMicco, Quiara Alegría Hudes

It’s a shame that Vivo , premiering Aug. 6 on Netflix after a limited bow in theaters, isn’t receiving its intended theatrical opening for more audiences, because it boasts gorgeous, eye-popping visuals that would have benefited from the big screen. Two-time Oscar-winning cinematographer Roger Deakins ( 1917 , Blade Runner 2049 ) served as visual consultant, a task he previously performed for such beautifully designed animated films as Wall-E and the How to Train Your Dragon trilogy.

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The story begins in Havana, a city so charmingly picturesque and brightly colored that it already seems animated in real life. There we meet aged street singer Andrés (Juan de Marcos González, of the Buena Vista Social Club) and his kinkajou partner, Vivo, who spend their days playing music to appreciative audiences in a crowded urban square.

Their lives are upended when Andrés receives a letter from his former musical collaborator, the now-famous singer Marta Sandoval (Gloria Estefan, another example of canny casting), who invites him to her upcoming farewell concert in Miami. The night before he’s supposed to depart, Andrés, who has been secretly in love with Marta, dies. It’s thus up to the intrepid Vivo to deliver his owner’s farewell message, a love song, to the woman who never told Andrés that she loved him as well.

To make the journey, Vivo enlists the help of Gabi (Ynairaly Simo), the tween daughter of Andrés’ niece (Zoe Saldana), who smuggles him into the States in one of her bags. Arriving in Key West, Gabi advises Vivo to keep a low profile. “If anyone asks, you’re my emotional support animal,” she tells him. It’s but one of many amusing lines in the screenplay co-written by director Kirk DeMicco ( The Croods ) and Quiara Alegría Hudes ( In the Heights ). Another is Vivo’s bemused reaction to the state’s trademark flamingo lawn ornaments: “Plastic birds? Florida is weird!”

From there, as with so many animated films, Vivo becomes more than a little frenetic. The duo attempt to make their way to Miami through the Everglades and get into numerous death-defying misadventures with a pair of helpful spoonbills (Brian Tyree Henry, Nicole Byer), a ravenous giant python (Michael Rooker, born to play villains even in animation) and a trio of rambunctious Girl Scouts (Katie Lowes, Olivia Trujillo, Lidya Jewett).

All that mayhem is certainly lively, but the film’s real pleasures stem from its touching storyline and Miranda’s terrific songs encompassing Latin rhythms, hip-hop, pop and Broadway-style ballads. Animation seems the perfect form for Miranda to deliver his rapid-fire rapping, much like it provided a hilarious visual correlative for Robin Williams’ stream-of-consciousness comedy routines in Aladdin .

The hyperactive Vivo bounces from one end of the screen to another, his frenzied physical movements happily keeping pace with the torrent of rhymes emanating from Miranda’s vocal cords. It doesn’t hurt that the pint-size animal character is so appealing, his furry little body topped with a straw hat perched jauntily on his head.

The film’s computer-animated visuals, vividly rendering such locales as Cuba, Key West and the Everglades, are consistently arresting. But the joyous musical numbers and sentimental but never treacly tale at its center are what make Vivo such a winning effort.

Full credits

Distributor: Netflix Production companies: Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Animation Cast: 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 Director: Kirk DeMicco Co-director: Brandon Jeffords Screenwriters: Kirk DeMicco, Quiara Alegría Hudes Producers: Lisa Stewart, Michelle L.M. Wong, Rich Moore Executive producers: Lin-Manuel Miranda, Laurence Mark, Louis Koo Tin Lok Original songs: Lin-Manuel Miranda Composer: Alex Lacamoire Cinematographer: Yong Duk Jhun Editor: Erika Dapkewicz Production designer: Carlos Zaragoza Casting: Tamara Hunter

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  11. Vivo Netflix Movie Review: What You need to Know Before You Watch

    Vivo picked up the pieces. With an excellent soundtrack by Lin Manuel-Miranda, Vivo has catchy songs we will all be singing along to for years to come. And

  12. Vivo

    Vivo delivers colorful beats in terms of its variety of animation styles and the songs of Lin-Manuel Miranda. The importance of friendship – and music – are

  13. Vivo review: Lin-Manuel Miranda's rapping kinkajou movie could

    Vivo doesn't do its main character any favors by setting itself in a neither-here-nor-there version of a talking animal adventure. We hear

  14. Netflix's 'Vivo': Film Review

    The film's computer-animated visuals, vividly rendering such locales as Cuba, Key West and the Everglades, are consistently arresting. But the