For sure by now, you have seen the new Disney’s animated film, “Encanto'' maybe twice or thrice in your house or condo in the Philippines and probably it won’t be the last time. Aside from the vibrant, groovy, and addictive music that makes you want to dance and stomp your feet from Lin-Manuel Miranda, who has also written Hamilton, it is amazing to see how colorful, detailed, and life-like the animations from Disney are in this film. Not to mention the inclusion and beautiful Colombian representation, Disney indeed did a wonderful job in creating this masterpiece with lots of valuable life lessons everyone can connect to.
Encanto follows the story of the Madrigal family who resides in a big magical house called Casita in an enchanted town hidden in the mountains of Colombia. Everyone in the family has been granted their own unique power. From insane super strength, controlling the weather, healing through food, and growing beautiful flowers, the family of Madrigal helps in keeping their small community afloat. However, Mirabel, the only member of the family who does not have powers, struggles so hard to fit in with her exceptional family. Like any other family, the Madrigals have their own secrets, and it is up to Mirabel to save the magic before it completely fades.
This film teaches us that no family is perfect, but family is the strongest foundation every member can rely on in critical and crucial times. Despite Disney honoring the Colombian and Latin American households, Filipinos also find themselves connecting to the characters more than ever. From the multigenerational family dynamics to issues of being pressured and trying to be as perfect as possible, Filipinos could not help but relate.
So let’s talk about Bruno, and all the valuable lessons you can take away from Encanto.
Your value doesn’t decrease even if you fail to deliver.
Luisa, a grandchild with superhuman strength as a gift, always correlates her worth with the assistance she offers and the weight she can bear. She sings in Surface Pressure, “I’m pretty sure I’m worthless if I can’t be of service,” a perspective we struggle to change in an age where productivity and efficiency are lauded. This scene from the movie greatly affects the first-born child or the only child in the family who often carries the majority of the responsibilities in the household. However, to all the Luisas, you do not have to become a problem solver, and you do not have to be powerful all the time. It's fine to admit that you are having difficulties.
Your value does not diminish by the things you can not do.
Whatever you do or make does not always have to be perfect.
For everyone out there who strives to live up to whoever's perception of themselves like Isabela Madrigal, this one's for you. Despite seeming calm, collected, and glamorous, she struggles to keep her picture-perfect facade up. Similar to Isabela, you might be so focused on how others view you that you are very nervous to be yourself. Whatever you do or make does not always have to be perfect; sometimes, it just needs to be yours. It is perfectly okay to just be whoever and however you want to be, and that will be beautiful in your own way, like the succulents, cacti, and vines Isabela created. Stop caring so much about other people’s perceptions of you and start creating YOU. After all, the people who truly love you will support you regardless. Condo design tip: furnish your place with succulents like Isabela’s to remove toxins in the air.
It is okay to be soft and vulnerable.
Oftentimes, people mask up their true emotions to be fine and strong. Even Mirabel shows a brave, and happy-go-lucky front when she is in fact beginning to feel left out being the only member that does not have a special gift. She sings in Waiting for a Miracle about her inner struggles and insecurities and how heartbroken she is. The good thing is: she admits that she is not fine at all. It is perfectly normal to feel negative emotions, and it is important to acknowledge these. It is okay to be soft and vulnerable. Showing emotional vulnerability is not a sign of weakness, and it does not make you less of a person. Like in the film Encanto, it is only when you begin to acknowledge your vulnerability that your true strength is revealed.
Let’s finally talk about Bruno.
In every family, there is always a Bruno — someone who probably thinks differently than the rest. Bruno is someone who considers themselves as the “black sheep” of the family. Bruno is someone who everyone thinks is a disappointment but has the greatest love for the family to the point that they will distance themselves to ‘protect’ them.
There is a need to face the fact that families can be toxic at times. Members tend to take it out on the Brunos for all their problems and mishaps, even if these problems and mishaps are out of their control like in the movie. Another toxic family trait is the fact that “they don’t talk about Bruno” like it’s as if he has become a taboo. However, these are essential things that every family should talk about and change.
But even though Bruno seems a bit different, he still is important and he completes the family. So, are you the Bruno of your family?
You can always rebuild.
At the end of Encanto, when Casita falls apart, they are able to rebuild. Together with the townsfolk, they were able to reconstruct Casita. This shows that after decades of service full of compassion, the town pays it forward by also showing compassion to the Madrigals and helping them recover. There is no other magic like Bayanihan, and that real magic lies in the relationship fostered. In condo living, if something breaks or cracks in your place, make sure to call maintenance and build a healthy relationship with them!
This is also a reminder that even though hardships, calamities, and destruction come, you can always rebuild and bounce back.
Encanto teaches us these hard-slapping lessons with colorful visuals and exciting music. This film is brave enough to send the message that there can be “cracks” and dysfunctions in a seemingly perfect family. However, the film also illustrated how openness to understanding and compassion can strengthen families.
Encanto reminds us that while no family is perfect, it is the most solid foundation on which each family member can fall in times of crisis.
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