I haven’t been able to get the songs from Encanto out of my head and I know I’m not alone. But besides the catchy songs and interesting characters, Encanto snuck in some pretty big life lessons. Here are some gems from Encanto that we all can benefit from.
1. Check on the strong one of the group.
Luisa’s song Under the Surface struck a cord with so many people. Either it made you realize how much pressure you’re under or how much responsibility someone else has. Whether it’s an older sibling, the head of the family, a parent or a friend, or even yourself —check on the strong one. Every family or group has at least one. Luisa’s song reminds us all that no matter what, we all need some help sometimes.
2. We should talk about Bruno.
As much as everyone in Encanto tried to avoid talking about Bruno, it was impossible. In fact, We Don’t Talk About Bruno is one of the top songs right now. Had the Madrigal family had a real discussion about Bruno, a lot if not all of the issues they had would not have even happened. Not talking about Bruno highlights an issue that a lot of families have—avoiding tough conversations or pushing things to the side in order to keep the peace. Avoiding the topic of Bruno only lead to miscommunication, fear, and eventually divided the family.
3. Family trauma is passed down.
The tragedy Abuela had to endure was unimaginable and heartbreaking. I don’t want to spoil the movie so I won’t go too much into it. Abuela shifted all of her energy into the blessings the family received. And she unintentionally passed on her trauma onto the members of her family because she never processed her grief. Each generation became obsessed with their gifts and being perfect in order to satisfy Abuela. Focusing on the gifts each family member had been given distracted Abuela from remembering the tragedy that occurred in order for the family to receive those gifts.
4. We’re more than a title.
Everyone has one—-a talent, a quirk, a career or hobby. We’re all categorized at work, in our family, even among our friends by one of these. Either we’re known for our talent, occupation, or a personality trait. Someone is the funny one. There’s a family doctor or lawyer. Someone is the creative one or the one that can fix anything. Someone is the black sheep and so on. In the movie, each character of the Madrigal family is known for their gift or in Maribel’s case the lack of one. It becomes their whole identity. And the pressure becomes too much. We’re multifaceted and our identities are way more complex than we want to admit. Being known or expected to just be one part of our identity is hard and suffocating.
This movie taught me to tap in to all the parts of myself instead of trying to make my identity more digestible and easier to understand. I always struggled to explain my occupation because I have so many jobs. You ever heard or the saying “Jack-of-all-trades, master of none”? That’s kind of how the characters in Encanto start off, trying to master their gift and only focus on that. And I can totally relate to this idea that I need to focus on one thing or find “my thing”. However, the complete original quote is “A Jack-of-all-trades, a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one.” So feel free to throw away this idea that we must find one thing, stick to it, and master it. We can be many things.
5. Representation matters.
One of the best parts of Encanto is the representation. The characters of Encanto are diverse. Encanto has characters with various skin tones and hair textures. And some sources claim it’s the first to touch on Afro-Latinas and Latinos of Columbia. Many are coming forward sharing stories on how it feels to be represented because they can relate to a character or because they finally see a character that looks like them.
What did you learn from Encanto?