Oscars 2022: Encanto

Disney’s animated film ‘Encanto’ is nominated for three Oscars this year – the best animated feature, the best original score and the best original song: ‘Dos Oruguitas’ (meaning Two caterpillars).

This film pays homage and feels inspired by the magical realism – a phenomenon known in Latin-American literature, and especially in the work of the Colombian writer, Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Just like in his ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’, we follow here a story of a remote Colombian village and its founding family. They live in a magical house in a place called Encanto that has magical powers and blesses all the members of the family with magic. Well, all except for one – Mirabel.

We do not find out why Mirabel didn’t get her own magic gift but there is a black sheep in every family. Though it looks like her gift is to help others to live up to their full potential. She walks Antonio to his door and she makes other members of the family realize they are more than their gifts. She understands that everybody has their problems. She learns that the members of her family are under the pressure put on them by their matriarch – Abuela.

Like in every other family, they are all dealing with their lives in their own way. Luisa is carrying all the family burdens. Isabela is always expected to be perfect and her whole self worth is based on her look. Julieta is the one who takes care of everybody’s health. Dolores is the moody, emotionally unstable one who needs to clear her thoughts to keep her balance. Bruno got blamed for all their failures so he became superstitious. And Mirable represents the new generation that wants to change things because Abuela became too stagnant in her attitude.

Mirabel is the only one who dares to stand up to her but when she does, the whole family house falls apart. However, after every thunderstorm always comes a sunny day. When they perceive the world through each other’s eyes, and see each other’s side of the story, they are able to conciliate. Abuela comes back to her roots, remembers how the miracle started, and Mirabel starts to understand the generational trauma. She is the one who can heal it – for herself, her descendants and her ancestors.

Now, when they understand each other better, the family stands strong together again. And they can reconstruct their house. In the beginning of the film Abuela said to Mirabel: “Open your eyes” and her mom said: “I wish you could see yourself the way I do. You are perfect just like this. You are just as special as anyone else in this family”. And in the end of the film Mirable finally sees herself the way her family does. “I see me. All of me” – she says. And the magic is restored.

The film finishes with the repetition of the song about two caterpillars turning into butterflies, symbolizing the world that never stops changing. And our job is to just adapt to it.


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