Abuela Madrigal is Toxic. And we need to talk about Bruno.

*This is not a movie review, nor a psychology lesson. Read it at your own risk. Contain Spoilers. 

Gio Luna’s art – Image retrieved from Pinterest

Disney strike again. No mercy. They hit first and you spend the next year talking about a cartoon, singing the songs, and quoting the lines of the movie. My husband and I don’t have kids, and yet we watched Encanto two times this week. The songs are so very catchy.

Colombia te quiero tanto!

The movie talks about Maribel and her family Madrigal, the location this time in Colombia. A tragedy happened and Abuela was given a miracle in form of a house, which is almost the main character. A magical house with an important part in keeping the family together. As it gives every family member special powers, to keep the Encanto between the walls and each other. Spoiler alert – except Maribel.

During the first scene of the movie, Mirabel is singing about Familia Madrigal, she presents the family powers, like her sisters, cousins, aunt, uncles until she says “Bruno” being reprehended with “With don’t talk about Bruno”. She moves on with her song and the kids, who are listening to her, start asking what is her special power.

Ignoring your problems is a way to go.

Mirabel keeps pretending she is not listening, while the little boy with coffee goes crazy. The song is so upbeat and the scene so colorful, which makes you want to dance. Later that day, we find out why they were all getting ready and the house ready. Her little cousin will find out what powers he will have, and he is terrified of ending up like Maribel since she was the last one to be gifted with nothing.

A very emotional flashback scene showed us what happened that night. Mirabel didn’t get any special gifts and her door vanished. So abuelita started to treat her differently.

We all got gifts, but you are just an ordinary girl.

From this particular scene where the little boy is gifted the power of listening to animals, Mirabel finally catches all the feelings of not being perfect and having any abuela’s approval, whatsoever. She is the outcast, the random one, and the one who doesn’t seem to matter in abuela’s eyes.

What Mirable represents until now is a crack in the perfect house. The crack that might break the Encanto. So Grandma becomes very snappy with her, without seeing what Mirable is going through. No mercy.

The house cracks because of Abuela’s toxicity.

Disney is notorious for making us look at our own life while watching the movies and relating in many different forms. It’s no different with Encanto. The Latino culture representativeness in this movie is very real.

The toxicity of the older generations, which require us some level of perfection, tend to blame the younger relatives for not succeeding and push them over the limit of existence. Our culture always shows us that we have to be perfect in our family’s eyes, otherwise, we are going to end up like Bruno.

If you are Latino and you were never compared to some distant cousin, because they seem to have their lives together and you don’t, you are lucky. We are constantly overshadowed by someone that does it better when you just want to live your life without other relatives’ expectations of you.

It’s your life, make the most of it. Get out of the bubble of expectations about you

So what if you want to go to Cosmetology school and your cousin is going to be a doctor? Have you ever asked if deep down inside that’s something that she is passionate about, or if she is just doing because society and family things this is some type of status? We have a lot of that in Brazil.

I decided very early I wanted to leave my country. One, I wanted to go to Hollywood and be a child bride to Leo Dicaprio. Two at a very early age, I had to learn about expectations. I was not good at anything, except writing. I was not good with science, physics, or math.

I was terrible at school and my only way out to succeed in life was to escape my country. If I’m going to fail in life, at least no one will see it and yell about my mistakes in my face. I left because I didn’t feel like being judged about my choices and being made fun of. Much like Bruno, I had to find a way to live my life without judgment and meanness.

Abuela sent her own son to exile.

Abuela Madrigal made her point to exclude Bruno because she was scared that he would break the Encanto, as everything he was predicting was becoming true on different occasions, and they were not good things. So when the same thing starts to happen with Mirable, she freaks out.

Abuela has this protection for the house, she is so afraid to lose it, that she ditches people when they don’t turn out as she expects. Understandably, her whole life revolves around that house, to the point of excluding her son, for being afraid of losing the Encanto.

We have to talk about Bruno.

When we are finally introduced to Bruno, we start to realize what the heck happened for him to be exiled. By Abuela. Bruno seems to be ok where he is now because he also doesn’t want to disappoint his family, so he finds a way to be around, but not present.

He then explains to Maribel what happened and what needs to be done to fix the cracks in the house. Mirable goes after what he said, but the house still crumbles. So Abuela Madrigal, falling apart, in tears, finally reveals why she has been toxic this entire time.

It’s nobody’s fault what happened to you, Abuela, be nice.

She lost everything and she was afraid of losing it again, she was given a miracle and she wanted to keep it. Then finally realizes why she has been so snappy and like almost any matriarch from a Latino household, controlling and obsessive with something she won’t possibly be able to fix.

Giving her undivided attention and preaching to people that goes with what she is saying. With all that, we also have Mirabel’s older sisters, Luiza and Isabel. Luiza has the gift of being stronger and Isabel has the gift of beautiful flowers or perfection.

Abuela loves it and wants her to get married, in an arranged married, by Abuela. Isabel buys the idea, but then we see she is also not happy, she struggles to be perfect. She just doesn’t want to disappoint the matriarch and end up like Bruno. Luiza thinks her only worth is to be strong and help the family. She also struggles when she starts to lose her gift.

What you see is not always what you get.

The entire movie is based on the premise of “what you see is what you get”, when it isn’t. Some people live throughout their entire lives afraid of disappointing people, afraid of being judged by their choices, agreeing to be submissive just to get by.

A perfect house foundation crumbles when is all a facade. We all struggle with something, we all like to be better at something or to showcase our talents without being judged. We already have the internet and Twitter for that Abuela, you need to be a haven, not make it worse.

My family throws shade at me for different reasons.

I don’t have any siblings, so I cannot relate to the movie on this level, but I do face the guilt-tripping from my mom does for the fact that I’m the only daughter and I’m there to be by her side as she gets older.

This is my burden. Not being around my parents as they get older. My mom always throws some shades at me and tells me she wishes she had someone to go with her to doctor appointments.

It’s a movie for kids, but the main theme is not. It’s for grownups for sure. Kids will like the music and the colors, adults will cry and question why is Abuela so toxica and they are never good enough.

Let me know in the comments if you watched the movie and how can relate to it.

Happy New Year!

Stay healthy, stay safe.

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