I hope you all enjoyed having regular posts throughout Lent. I enjoyed writing within a larger theme for a series of posts, rather than a more popcorn-style posting method. I think I’m going to roll with it for a little while and see how it continues to work with the Holy Spirit’s inspirations. So, for the Easter Season, I give you – Encanto!
For those without children or grandchildren under age 12, Encanto is one of Disney’s newest films. Set in rural Columbia, Encanto follows the story of the Madrigal family, specifically the character Mirabel. I’d like to say up front that this series of posts WILL include spoilers for the film. I’ll try to avoid them for this post, so you’ll have at least one week to watch the film if that interests you before we crack more deeply into the story.
The story begins by introducing the audience to the family Madrigal. The family was fleeing from what appears to be Spanish conquistadors. At the last moment, when hope seemed lost, Abuelo Pedro (Grandfather Pedro), while standing in a river, turns and sacrifices himself in an attempt to slow down the horses to allow his wife, three infants, and the rest of their village, escape to safety. From his sacrifice, a magical candle appears and creates an enclosed valley, an Encanto, that protects the villagers from harm. It also creates an anthropomorphic house and bestows gifts on the family members. A quick run down of the characters and their gifts:
- Abuela Alma (Grandmother Alma) – The miracle of the Encanto and the safety of her family
- Tia Pepa (Aunt Pepa) – Mood controls/affects the weather – one of Abuela’s children
- Julieta – Can heal you with food, especially arepas – Mirabel’s mother and one of Abuela’s children
- Tio Bruno (Uncle Bruno) – Can tell the future – one of Abuela’s children
- Camillo – Can shapeshift into other people – son of Pepa
- Dolores – Can hear the smallest sounds from a distance – daughter of Pepa
- Antonio – Receives his gift at the start of the movie – son of Pepa
- Luisa – Super strength – daughter of Julieta
- Isabela – Can make flowers out of nothing – daughter of Julieta
- Mirabel – Does not appear to have a gift. During the ceremony when she was supposed to receive it, nothing seemed to be bestowed. She has not displayed any particular gift aside from being able to communicate extremely well with the house.
There are some major themes to be discussed from this movie. Ben and I keep circling back to it, partly because we cannot escape the soundtrack which plays at least twice a day in our home presently. But also because there are some rather convicting messages to spend time with. Here’s a preview of what’s to come in this series. I plan to tackle one theme each week:
When a gift is freely given, does it need to be earned after the fact? Or, to put it another way, do you need to prove yourself worthy after receiving a blessing?
What are the dangers of perfectionism, especially when it is imposed from others? How can unrealistic expectations harm both individuals and relationships?
To quote a line from Luisa’s main song, “I’m pretty sure I’m worthless if I can’t be of service.” How many of us resonate with this feeling? What sort of pressure do we put on ourselves that is unrealistic or unhealthy?
What is beauty? Is it based in the opinion of others or ourselves? How can being told your life is perfect affect your understanding of happiness?
The elephant in the room that everyone is talking about but no one has authentic conversations about.
What is Mirabel’s gift? What can we learn from it?
I hope you are excited about the series. I promise that for those of you unfamiliar with the story, I’ll try to make things as clear as possible so that you can also glean some wisdom and insights from this film. For this week, if you really want to dig into this series with me, think about the questions above. Even without previously seeing the movie, they ought to have sparked some kind of response or emotion from you. I’m looking forward to sharing the movie’s perspective, my own, and hopefully hearing yours.