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Disney’s ‘Encanto’: How Filipino Families Relate to the Madrigals

Disney’s ‘Encanto’: How Filipino Families Relate to the Madrigals

Though Filipinos associate engkantos with creepy beings, the 2021 Disney animated film ‘Encanto’ is anything but grim.

Following the tale of an extraordinary family, the Madrigals live hidden in the mountains of Colombia. Residing in a charmed place called Encanto, its magic bestowed each child in the family with a gift except Mirabel.

When their magical house starts to crack, Mirabel makes it her responsibility to save their miracle. Throughout the story, we can observe their family dynamics and values.

Despite Disney paying homage to Latin American households, Filipinos also find themselves relating to the characters more than ever. Here’s why Encanto hits Filipinos close to home:

(Note: The article contains spoilers)

Family-Oriented 

Notice how everybody was still living in the same household? Technically, Bruno was residing in the walls for the whole time.

As Filipinos, we know how tightly-knit our families are, which is why our gatherings are huge during the holidays. Honestly, it gets to the point that there are so many relatives you can’t tell who’s who. Surprisingly, your parents seem to know each one!

Mirabel leading Antonio to the magical door

On the day of getting Antonio’s gift, they had the whole neighborhood over. As you may know, Filipinos love to host large gatherings, serve food and provide entertainment to everyone on special events! Does anybody care for a lumpia

Family Expectations

After they were saved by a miracle, Alma, the head of the Madrigals, swore that they should serve the community to prevent losing their magic. As she was afraid, she became fixated on maintaining a perfectly functional family. 

As for Filipinos, we are aware of how our parents tell us, “Wag kang tutulad sa anak ni ano.” Moreover, they often tell us what to do and expect us to follow through. 

Mirabel’s fight with Alma or Abuela

Along the way, she drives Mirabel away as she does not possess a gift, blaming her for the “cracks” in their casita. However, she does not see how she’s causing pain to everyone by trying to control them.

The Family Member Who Knows Everyone’s Drama

Whether it’s your tita or tito, there’s always a family member who knows everyone’s dirt. Due to her enhanced hearing gift, Dolores knows even your deepest secrets.

Dolores spilling what she heard from Mirabel

Regardless, she is not synonymous with a Marites (a gossiper) as she appears much quieter. Despite that, she snitched on Mirabel after overhearing her talk about Bruno’s vision. In the end, Mirabel got exposed during the family dinner.

Superstitious

In this household, we do talk about Bruno! As the “black sheep”, his family believes that his gift of vision only brings suffering.

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Bruno knocking on wood

He had no way to alter the future, but that did not stop them from isolating him. Even if his gift was not at fault for the misery it supposedly brought, he would knock on wood to ward off the bad luck. Likewise, the action is also a popular superstition among Filipinos to prevent unfavorable situations from coming true.

The Pain of Being ‘Ordinary’

If you are the Mirabel in your family, you know how much it hurts when parents compare you to your “amazing” siblings. For Filipinos, even distant cousins.

Surrounded by a family with gifts, it’s bound to make Mirabel insecure. Clearly, we don’t have magic in the real world. However, our family judges us by either academic standings or careers. “Buti pa yung anak niya nakapasa sa bar exam.”

Abuela blaming Mirabel for hurting the family

Sometimes, we can’t help but think that we disappoint our parents by simply being who we are. Unfortunately, life is not a Disney movie where every family admits to their mistakes as Abuela did at the end. Most of the time, we just sweep our problems under the rug.

On the other hand, Encanto reminds us that we can be the key to a happy and healthy family dynamic. 

Watch the ‘Encanto’ trailer below! Full movie is available at Disney Plus.

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