Welcome to the family Madrigal!
You probably sang the first sentence, didn’t you? Disney’s Encanto has captured the world’s attention with its animation, music and storytelling. The music can show the problems within the family and how their “perfect” family is anything but.
The song “The Family Madrigal” is the introduction of the family to the audience after listening to the story Abuela Alma told young Mirabel about the miracle they were blessed with. Mirabel introduces the neighborhood kids to her “perfect” family and their gifts. The song shows the beauty of the family and their gifts, but also the family tension. You can hear how they don’t want to talk about Bruno except for Mirabel. The sisterly tension between Isabela and Mirabel can be felt as Mirabel said that Isabela is the perfect golden child. The pressure for Isabela and Luisa to do no wrong. The internal conflict for Mirabel to say out-loud that she is the only one of her family with no gift, making her the odd one out. Finally, the pressure of the whole family that “each new generation must keep the miracle burning,” according to Abuela Alma. Audience will see that next with 5-year-old Antonio worrying that his gift ceremony will fail.
Now with “Waiting On A Miracle,” the audience can hear the pain Mirabel feels by being left out in her family as they celebrate Antonio’s new gift and door. She has no gifts, but she wants to shine just like them. She wants to play her part in the family that all she needs is a chance and wants her abuela to “open her eyes” and let her. Ironic since it’s the first line of the movie when Abuela tells the story of the miracle to young Mirabel. Mirabel is ready for her opportunity and hopes that she’s not too late for miracle. It fits in with the next scene of the movie where a piece of the casita breaks, it starts shaking and the candle almost went out.
Let’s go into “Surface Pressure,” where audience can start learning about Luisa, the strong sister. Audience can start learning how Luisa carries all this pressure within her. Since her gift is her strength, she feels like she can’t be anything but that. She puts on a tough exterior but inside, she’s terrified. Her identity is consumed with her gift as Luisa mentions “who am I if I can’t carry it all?” She feels that she must carry the everything and be the strong one in the family. Luisa also wonders how it would be to finally relax and shake the expectations people expect from her. This something Latino kids can understand and relate to Luisa. As kids, especially the older ones, must live up their family expectations and be the strong ones. The scene continues with Mirabel telling Luisa not to carry so much.
A favorite among fans, “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” is a catchy song where audiences learn about Bruno, who can see the future. Audience gets a negative view of Bruno as it sounds like his predictions are all negative. First with Pepa’s wedding, the villagers, Dolores and now Mirabel. Except for Isabela, who received a positive prophecy from Bruno. In which she is promised that the life of her dreams will be hers and that her power will grow. Mirabel agreed she shouldn’t have talked about Bruno as she saw that she was in his vision with the house falling apart behind her. It takes a while for the next song to arrive, but audience learned that Bruno is deeply misunderstood as he loves his family. Everybody just deems the worst of him because of his visions. He stayed within the walls of the casita repairing it as much as he could when he saw the prediction of the house breaking.
The audience gets to see the pressure Isabela faces by being the perfect child as she is the oldest and the first grandchild. Isabela doesn’t do anything for herself, she does it for the family. Latinos understand this as the first child is deemed to be the perfect one as they are the new face of the family. They cannot disappoint the family. In the argument, that’s where a cactus pops up in Isabela’s room full of roses and “What Else Can I Do?” begins. Isabela wonders what other plants she can make as she found the cactus beautiful as its not symmetrical or perfect. The audience can see the bond of Isabel and Mirabel start to get closer as Isabela tells Mirabel that wants something true not pretty or perfect. She wants to express what she really feels and be herself, not perfect. Mirabel understanding that Isabela’s life hasn’t been a dream as she was internally struggling meeting the family’s expectations. Mirabel encourages Isabel to show the people what else can she do. They hug and that’s when film takes a darker turn as Abuela blames Mirabel for everything and Mirabel telling her that she is the reason why the magic is dying.
A heart-clenching song “Dos Oruguitas” gives the story of “two caterpillars” who fell in love and are inseparable during hard times. It follows that there will be a time that they need to continue their journey apart, create their own future and grow into the miracles they are. Mariposas. The film shows the journey of Pedro and Alma meeting on Dia de las Velitas which is celebrated on December 7th in Colombia and marks the beginning of the Christmas season. They met, fell in love and had 3 children. Not until tragedy struck and they were forced to flee their home due to either la guerilla or los paramilitares. Sadly, forced displacement is a real thing that has happened to many Colombians and it’s no different in the film as you can see the village being burned and people dying. Abuela finally address the trauma she endured when she saw Pedro sacrifice himself in order to save his family. Abuela admits that she was wrong and has forgotten the importance of family and why they were blessed with a miracle in the first place.
It ends with “All Of You.” The family are understanding one another more and more as they rebuild their home without their gifts. Abuela apologizes for holding on too tight and learns that the miracle is them, not their gift. Bruno gets his redemption as he apologizes to his sister for the wedding and tells Pepa to let out everything she’s feeling. Bruno still feels like he need to continue but his siblings are just happy to have him back. The community gives back to the family for helping them. Isabela, Luisa and Mirabel work together and they tell each other what they have learned. Luisa is able to let go and be free emotionally and physically. Isabela learns how to plant something new and watch it grow. Dolores finally gets noticed by the man of her dreams and he finally sees her. Abuela and Mirabel are okay with the house not being perfect because its home. It finally goes back to Mirabel, and everybody recognizes how bright and brave she is and that its time for her to open her eyes and say what she sees. She finally sees who she is. She places her doorknob and the casita is back to life. The front door has a picture of the whole family and they all have their gifts again but this time, they’re embracing who they are. They take a picture of the Familia Madrigal in all their glory, it’s not perfect but it’s them.
Encanto is available to watch on Disney+