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Monday, December 11 2023

Encanto: “A gift just as precious as you”

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Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Encanto, directed by Jared Bush and Byron Howard and co-directed by Charise Castro Smith, tells us a tale about a Colombian family that receives magical powers after surviving a tragedy.
The movie focuses on the realistic magical life of the Madrigal family, where Mirabel, the protagonist, goes on a mission to save her family and the magic inside their Casita (house) when the family’s magical abilities are threatened. While at it, Mirabel learns more about herself and her family in an attempt to preserve the magic.

The family’s matriarch is Abuela Alma Madrigal. Abuela receives a miracle that bestows the town’s residents with the power to protect their haven. She constructed “the Encanto” as a barrier to shield herself from the agony of further loss. Unfortunately, Abuela’s gifts cause her to unknowingly treat her family badly. As Abuela’s children mature, they receive “gifts” to support the community and the family as a whole. Every action taken with the gift by each person serves to prevent further harm to the family and village.

Children adopt rigid, specialized duties in order to support the family. This family tends to disintegrate, and they eventually end up playing their part perfectly but not living it, which is depicted in the movie based on their gifts. Instead of feeling that they must earn their worth by their skills or deeds, children need to understand that it comes from who they are and is closely linked to their individuality.

Abuela stares at young Mirabel with such love in her eyes as she is ready to accept her gift. The flame flickers as soon as Mirabel’s door closes, and so does Abuela’s affection for Mirabel. The statement “a gift just as precious as you” is one of the main objectives of the movie, and this contradicts the protagonist. Abuela makes her family feel valuable by linking their gifts to their self-worth, which makes Mirabel feel as if she has nothing to contribute.

Abuela allows her fear of losing the house and the safety of their Encanto to be stronger than her love for her own granddaughter. When Mirabel approaches youth, Abuela constantly reminds Mirabel to stop helping, to take a backseat, and to allow the rest of the family to take care of their own business.

In the end the actual miracle was the healing of the trauma and the breaking of the generational cycle in the conclusion of the movie. The trauma broke down when Mirabel used her lack of a gift and her proper place in the family to heal herself and her family. She then rebuilds a healthy, strong family, one where everyone has the opportunity to participate in the family structure in their own unique ways. The benefits of their talent remain with them, but they no longer identify with their fixed roles.

Despite her strength, Luisa is occasionally permitted to take a rest. Pepa no longer has to conceal her emotions. All of them have been endowed with skills and talent as a result of their trauma. But now that they have recovered, they are no longer constrained by those identities. Isabella, Mirabel’s sister, who has the ability to make flowers grow whenever and wherever she pleases, was gifted with being the “ideal, golden child.” It is at this turning point in the narrative that she decides to be herself rather than maintain the appearance of perfection. Her attitude of tenacity serves her well since it enables her to develop into the most authentic version of herself.

Bruno was the scapegoat of the family. Though he had visions that foretold them, he was held responsible for everything that went wrong, even though it was never his fault. He was also the only one who had the power of vision and was misunderstood by the family. They now “don’t talk about Bruno” because he left to protect Mirabel, but of course the narrative evolved to say that he didn’t care about the family. As Mirabel undertakes the difficult task of discovering why “we don’t talk about Bruno,” she comes to the conclusion that this reason is insufficient to expel Bruno from the family. She tries to welcome him back, aware that her family is opposed to the idea.

Agustin Madrigal did not have as much screen time as other characters, but when he did, he won our hearts as a doting father to Mirabel. As he watched his daughter struggle with her self-confidence and insecurities, he expressed empathy and assured her of the family’s love and acceptance of her. Outside of the movie and in society, this remark made by him, “Surrounded By The Exceptional, It’s Easy To Feel Unexceptional,” holds true.

This animated movie tops them all when it comes to its soundtrack and visuals. It was a package of animation along with a musical. The visuals of this movie are expertly designed. The plot is straightforward and beautifully narrated. Encanto is a film that strongly resembles a comeback for Disney. And to understand the value of individuals in the family, this is a must-watch.

Numerous accolades and nominations have been given to the movie and its soundtrack. At the 79th Golden Globe Awards, it received three nominations and won for best animated Feature Film. The movie was nominated for three Oscars at the 94th Academy Awards, including Best Original Score and Best Original Song (for “Dos Oruguitas”), and it took home the trophy for Best Animated Feature. Encanto has also been chosen as the year’s top animated feature picture by a number of critics.

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Afrah Erfan

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