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Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Life + Arts

Encanto is a colorful tale of family, has deep undertones


Juana Garcia/The Cougar

Encanto is the latest animated film to be released by Disney in November 2021. It’s a colorful tale of a matriarchal Latin family who inherited mystical powers after escaping persecution.

The protagonist, Mirabel, isn’t blessed with a magical gift like the rest of the Madrigal family, but when their power starts to fade, she must step in to help preserve the paradise they created.

The matriarchal structure of the Madrigal family is quite apparent from the opening song. Abuela is the crown jewel of their family dynamic, and everyone strives to earn her love and respect.

Unfortunately for Mirabel, Abuela’s love is heavily connected to each family member’s ability to help the village with their magical gifts. She often finds herself in trouble since she is the only one without the power to help.

Although the movie was made for children, the adult Latinx community expressed how much the film resonated with their familial experience online.

The film sparked conversations about representation in the media and necessary discussions about the Latin family structure. 

Women of the family are often burdened with the expectation of taking care of those around them while putting their own needs last. In Encanto, this issue is a common theme for each granddaughter.

Isabela is the golden child who is expected to graciously carry on the family legacy without a misstep, Luisa is the strong granddaughter whose feelings are often forgotten in lieu of her brute strength and Mirabel is stuck trying to prove herself without any magic.

This tale of women is inspiring. Each one represents a different role within the Madrigal family that someone out there can relate to and each woman is burdened with her own expectations.

Disney does a good job of packaging real-life issues in Encanto that’s digestible for children yet recognizable for adults. It’s refreshing to have a heroine like Mirabel who isn’t the most powerful character, but she makes the most impact when she saves her village and the house.

Despite the movie’s strong message and great representation, the ending felt rushed.

People on TikTok shared their feelings about the story’s conclusion and how there wasn’t much explanation for where the magic, an integral part of the storyline, originated. Essentially, the major conflict of the movie was solved with a hug.

Encanto is a movie that deserves attention. It’s a whimsical way of getting us to examine our own family structures while still being entertaining. The ending may not be the complex resolution one would want, but it’s a heartwarming tale.

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