Last night we attended a special screening of Disney’s “Encanto” – an animated movie. I could not help but think of and make associations to the Corona virus pandemic.  As disastrous as it has been, we have also had individuals, teams, companies, various organisations and countries all over the world adapt and make changes. We stretched our targets and our minds – we became more innovative. We discovered new skills that we didn’t know we had, we discovered new markets through new ideas. Watching this movie last night has highlighted many issues for me…let me share some of them with you in this post…

Firstly, “Encanto”– in Spanish means charm, spell or enchantment. To me it simply means there’s something alluring or enchanting about someone…something magical. Almost like that X-Factor.

If I had to some up the entire movie, the biggest lesson would be that Encanto aptly communicates the point that there is magic in all of us. No, this isn’t a spoiler, you’ve got to see it for yourself.

One of the things that has stood out for me, is how Disney has depicted diversity in more than one way; through the fashion, the type of hair and the various skin tones within the family, to name a few. Although I am not familiar with the Colombian culture, I can assure you that as a South African, this movie hit home in so many ways!

In almost every family, there’s a black sheep. Someone who is “different” or not as successful as the rest in the family. This person is usually taken for granted and often looked down upon. Because they don’t have a qualification or a high-paying job, their opinions are often disregarded. It’s not nice but it’s real and if you have never personally experienced someone making you feel inferior, you may not understand this.

Perhaps YOU are the outcast amongst the bigger family or community. Maybe you didn’t receive a family inheritance. Maybe you have not as yet discovered your talent or your calling. Does this mean you’re less of a person or that your opinions should not matter or that you’re incapable of great achievements? 

It can be daunting, like for the main character Mirabel, to be surrounded by family members who all have precious gifts – except her. In addition to and because of the precious gifts her family has, others expect her to have some gift as well. She seems to handle it well but what does she really feel like within? What we do know and can see is that she has a spirit of determination and her charismatic approach draws people to her. Will the love for her family and her mindset be enough to save them as she see’s her family is in danger?

This movie depicts how important change is. If we going on doing things in the same manner that we used to and/or because it is what’s expected of us, will we achieve all that we can or should we test boundaries? Should we ask questions when things don’t work the way we want them to. If our circumstances change, be it due to micro or macro influences, what can we do to adapt to make those circumstances favourable to us and those around us?

We all have potential but sometimes we just need a trigger to dig deep to find the magic within. 

When the customs and the norms of life are no longer the way they used to be – what can we do? We ask why…why…why…and then we find ways to work around it, some to the extreme that break away from the norms as we knew it to create the new normal. But if that’s what it takes, that’s what we got to do. It may not always be easy to see ourselves doing new things but how can we expect change if we do not make significant changes?

I have to add that I didn’t leave the cinema with a catchy song in my head. This was disappointing because whenever I watch a musical, I like when the song/s stand out. Here, I have nothing to remember. No catching lyrics played in my head all the way home. It’s sad because this animation is beautiful and I truly feel that it was lackluster in terms of the musical aspect.

So whilst there is no villain in this Disney movie, the characters are a mix of people that to me, are more realistic and relatable. We learn that even the strongest have weak moments and those that appear perfect all the time are not always as perfect as we think of them to be. We learn that anyone, regardless of shape or size, has the potential to do phenomenal things that most importantly make a positive difference in the lives of those near and dear.

Mirabell with her spectacles, curly hair and Colombian fashion gives us a lot to think about. I think it will hit home if you’ve felt inferior in comparison to others who seem to have “more” than you do. I do believe it’s an excellent movie with the perfect timing (during this pandemic) to remind us all, young and old, that there is something special within each of us and sometimes it’s not very clear to us…we need people, circumstances and an open mind to explore and find the magic that lies within.

On another note – Kayden who hardly ever sits through an entire movie at a cinema, watched from start to end, even though he was very sleepy – so for a just over 5 year old, it was an enchanting movie which certainly captured his interest!

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Disclaimer: We were hosted for this special screening. As always, all opinions are my own.

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