We Do Talk About Bruno


Olivia Downin, Staff Writer

We don’t talk about Bruno, but what we do talk about is Encantos heartfelt and deep-rooted message that caught the attention of cultures all over the world. This is just the movie the world needed to bring everyone together after years of discrimination and harassment of minority communities. Mirabel, the female Columbian protagonist, was the epitome of the middle-child stereotype. From being the only Madrigal with no gift and also having perfect older siblings, she knows what it is like to be overlooked and unwanted in the one place you’re supposed to feel at home; your family. 

Though the story and the soundtrack are on constant replay, a closer look reveals some flaws with the film. Unfortunately, another topic people are reluctant to talk about is the underlying sexism portrayed in the family Madrigal. 

Encanto tells the story of teenager Mirabel living in the family Madrigal with cousins and aunts and uncles and sisters with magical gifts. Their family provides for the town and protects them using their magic. The life of the citizens depends on the magical gifts of the family.

The family Madrigal starts with Abuela and Pedro. Unfortunately, Pedro greets death while fleeing from home with his children. Pedro heroically sacrifices himself so his wife and three children can have a future. Pedro’s death scene sent a shock through my heart, the theater, and the world. 

The loss of a strong leading Colombian male role reflected the pain many migrant families experiences as they flee their home for a better life. But, with Pedro’s great sacrifice introduced the magic to the family. Followed by Pedro’s death scene, the candle guiding their way illuminated and sent sparks into the air, turning the valley they were located into a magical village for their home. This is how the Madrigals got their gifts. 

First bestowed with a gift is Pepa, (in my eyes, it is a curse). Her emotions dictate the weather. If she is happy then it is a sunny day. But when she is upset and sad the skies turn gray and thunder roars through the protective mountains of their village. Next is Julieta, she has the gift to heal anyone who is ill with food. Finally is Bruno, who has the ability to see into the future. 

With the two oldest female Madrigals having powerful and great gifts, we need to recognize the underlying sexism of their gifts. Julieta, a woman, has the gift of cooking and healing. A traditional stereotype of women, that they can only cook and nurse others. Pepas’ gift shows how women with emotions impact everyone. For, if Pepa is feeling sad her feelings affect everyone with rain, assuming women are overly emotional and intrude in other’s lives. Whereas Bruno, the only male child has the gift of seeing into the future, a gift that is deemed powerful, so much so that he is shunned from the family. I won’t argue that the treatment of Bruno is cruel, but he is the only sibling that received a strong powerful gift that tends to be more aligned to the masculine stereotype. 

While this is disappointing, there are still so many good sides to this record-breaking movie, Encanto. 

With the next generation comes new opportunities to rid stereotypes and make room for change. I could see this happening with gifts in the Madrigal family. With the first generations of Madrigals the gifts fit gender stereotypes, the next generation broke boundaries and made change. Most noticeably with Luisa. 

Luisa breaks down doors, literally. She has been given the gift of strength. Which you would think would be given to a man, but no. Luisa is here to show everyone that no matter who you are you can still achieve your greatest potential. But they do so with nuance; we see her strength, but also see the pressure she faces to live up to the family expectations. With Luisa, we get one of the most balanced characters of the film.

Along with the message of female empowerment, Encanto also contributed to showing diversity in films. 

In my opinion, Encanto provided representation to the Colombian community that would have never before been seen in popular American audiences. What other Disney movies focus on a Colombian protagonist? None. Encanto is the first of its kind and I have a feeling that it will not be the last. 

While watching the movie, my heart broke for Mirabel. Every day she wakes up and starts her day by saying “make your family proud.” This line hit hard. Having to impress the people that were supposed to love you unconditionally is hard, especially for a teenager. She shouldn’t have to be magical to be loved and accepted. 

In my mind, the message of Encanto sent shock waves through the world. To me, what the film was trying to convey was, you do not need to be perfect or powerful to be special and loved. 

This film deserves the world, and I believe it got the world with its over 1.5 billion minutes of viewing time. If you have not seen the record-breaking, heart throbbing story that is Encanto I strongly urge you to watch the movie, which will leave you crying with joy.