Encanto is the latest animated hit from disney, which has already been a huge success. The animated film and its soundtrack have already managed to break records previously set by Frozen, adding to his impressive accolades. Despite premiering in November 2021, Encanto managed to become the highest-grossing animated film of the year, beating another Disney film, Raya and the last dragon. Her charming story of family, self-confidence and forgiveness carries the narrative. However, these light themes are also joined by darker themes of trauma, ostracism and the often bitter reality of immigration.
Encanto follows the Madrigal family who have all received a magical gift, which they use to help their small Colombian community. Their family home is equally magical, aiding the Madrigals with their own powers while containing secrets forbidden to others. Of the large family that resides in the Madrigal house, Encanto focuses primarily on Mirabel and the audience discovers the family through her eyes and the interactions she shares with them. Mirabel is a notable personality within the Madrigal family, as she is the only member of her family who has not received a magical gift.
Without a gift, Mirabel is the notable outcast of the Madrigal family. Some of her family members openly treat her differently because she has no gift, while others try to make her feel too loved despite this. As if to further prove her imperfection in the eyes of her family, Mirabel is also the only member of her family (apart from her father who married into the magical family) who wears glasses. This small addition to his character is useful, serving as a physical reminder of the magic he lacks compared to the rest of the Madrigals. As important as it is to note that Mirabel has glasses, the color of her glasses is even more significant.
Mirabel is not the first member of the Madrigal family to be treated differently, as his uncle Bruno disappeared many years before the events of Encanto. Unlike Mirabel, Bruno was treated differently because of the gift he had, not the lack of it. Bruno has the ability to see into the future and many people have challenged his visions of their future. He had no control over what he saw but as a messenger he took the blame when they were unhappy (a classic shoot the messenger situation). This is on full display in the record-breaking song, “We Don’t Talk About Bruno”, which recently reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. Bruno’s sister Pepa, her husband Felix and their children Dolores and Camilo sing about Bruno and why the family never talks about him. A few townspeople join in, singing about the unhappy visions he had of their future coming true.
In the song, the shape-shifting Camilo transforms into Bruno. Through Camilo’s performance as an uncle, Bruno is seen in a green poncho with light hourglasses printed on the fabric. All members of the Madrigal family wear outfits that reference their gifts. For Bruno, it is in the color of the poncho as well as the emblems of the time on it. When Bruno is having a vision, his eyes glow a vibrant green hue and the images of his visions are a matching hue. The poncho reflects these gifts while making it clear that green is the central color of Bruno’s character.
Bruno is not the only character to wear green, it is also the color of Mirabel’s glasses. His glasses are lime green, giving him a subtle connection to his uncle. Both Bruno and Mirabel are outcasts within the Madrigal family in their own way. For Mirabel, it’s because she has no gift. For Bruno, it’s because of the gift he has. Their qualities make their family members and various townspeople look at them differently, and it becomes difficult for both of them to bear throughout their lives.
The color green works to unite both Mirabel and Bruno as family outcasts. It has both positive and negative connotations that could influence how the characters are perceived. Typically, green is a color associated with growth and even healing, something Mirabel and Bruno bring to the Madrigal family in the end. They ushered in a new era for the family where many members who once relied on their gifts now realize they are much more than that. Isabela is no longer limited by her family’s idealized perfection and Luisa has learned that she is more than her strength. Abuela reflects on her choices over the past few years and realizes that she may have been too hard on some family members in her efforts to protect what they have. The Madrigals got closer thanks to Mirabel and Bruno.
Green can also be associated with a more negative concept, such as envy. Bruno and Mirabel’s own use of the color green might suggest that they are jealous of their family members who are valued and adored more than them. For Mirabel, it could be jealousy because she has no gift. For Bruno, it could be how others perceive his gift compared to other members of his family. Envy could also be a reflection of how their family members view them. Given Isabela’s disdain for having to be perfect all the time, she might resent that Mirabel doesn’t have to worry about maintaining an image the way she does. Likewise, Luisa feels confined in her gift of strength and might hate the freedom that Mirabel enjoys.
Mirabel’s glasses not only set her apart from her family, but are used to bond her to her uncle, who was also ostracized by the Madrigals. Mirabel and Bruno both prove their worth in the end and help the family realize that while they possess a miracle, that’s not all they are.
Encanto is now streaming on Disney Plus.
MORE: 5 Things We Love About Disney’s Encanto
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