Disney’s “Encanto” hits the mark when depicting sibling relationships

Avery Bogemann, Associate Editor

Encanto is Disney’s newest movie release. (Disney / free use)

Encanto is a new Disney movie that entered theaters November 24, 2021 about a special family blessed by a miracle hidden in the mountains of Columbia. They are the leaders of their community, and their town relies on the family and their gifts. Mirabel, the only member of the family without a gift, doesn’t feel special or needed. A lot of the times in life, we deem ourselves useless if we don’t have something another person has, when that’s furthest from the truth. Mirabel found her gift, her miracle, by not trying to be like everyone else. 

The biggest part of the story is the family and the relationship they have with each other. Abuela has an iron grip on the family, not wanting to lose the home she received when she had nothing, and it leads to her cruel treatment, especially to Mirabel. No matter how hard Mirabel tries, she’s never good enough for Abuela. No one in the family is, and that tears them apart. It causes drifts in the family, especially with Mirabel and Isabela. Isabela is perfect in every way, and she makes sure everyone knows it. This makes Mirabel resent her sister because everything Isabela is perfect in, Mirabel is unperfect in. This happens a lot with siblings, the feeling you’re less than, the feeling you aren’t as good as your sibling. It’s an issue a lot of younger siblings face, just like Mirabel. 

Encanto has a character for older siblings to relate to as well. Luisa, Mirabel’s older sister, feels the weight of the world on her shoulders. Everyone is convinced she can carry it, since she’s so strong, but she’s tired of that life. Because she’s older, and because she doesn’t show her true feelings, everyone assumes they can pass off responsibilities to her and it will all be okay. Older siblings get the brunt of the responsibilities in the family, and it can be hard for them to carry it alone. Luisa is an example of this scenario, and how it affects the child in question. 

The movie’s musical numbers are its selling point. With a score written by Lin Manual Miranda, this movie’s soundtrack can’t be anything short of amazing. It delivers: the music gets stuck in your head, and even if you’ve only seen it once, the songs will be on repeat in your mind for days on end. Each song tells a story and gives details just dialogue couldn’t. With inspiration from different genres of Colombian music, the songs show how characters are, or what people think they are. They subtly give you hints as to what’ll happen next. The score is beautifully written and beautifully composed. 

As the movie goes on, Mirabel finds herself and how to save her family. They all live happily ever after. It teaches you that you don’t have to be special to be special, you just have to be yourself. It tells you that family is complicated, but it’s something worth fighting for. At the end of the day, this is a movie about a realistic family, just in not so realistic circumstances.