Exploring the Powerful Messages and Themes in Disney’s Encanto Isabela

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Animated films play a significant role in developing a child’s self-identity and moral values. But in recent years, these films have become more common to focus on a broader audience, not just children. Disney, in particular, holding seven of the top ten spots on the list of highest-grossing animated movies in North America and worldwide, dominates this approach.

Disney’s latest animated feature film, Encanto, has captured the hearts of audiences worldwide with its vibrant characters, catchy tunes, and stunning visuals. It has garnered several nominations and awards, including three Grammy wins in different categories. Thus, making it an all-time favorite by many.

But upon closer inspection, it is evident that Encanto carries powerful messages and themes beyond the lively musical sequences that profoundly impact the viewers. Its relatability reaches further than its entertaining elements, touching on topics of identity and family values in a way that speaks to children and adults alike.

One of the standout characters in the film is Isabela, the eldest grandchild of the Madrigal family. What makes her story so captivating is her journey of self-discovery and growth. This blog post will delve into the various messages and themes in Isabela’s character arc and how they relate to the broader themes of Encanto.

The Importance of Self-discovery

Isabela from Encanto is a compelling character with a captivating story and worthwhile lessons about self-discovery. Although not the primary protagonist, she is integral to the plot. Through her younger sibling, Mirabel, Isabela learns to break free from her predetermined destiny as an heir to the Madrigal family and forge her path to grow into her own person.

Isabela’s Role in the Family

Isabela Madrigal is the first grandchild to reach adulthood in her family. From the perspective of the Madrigal family and the rest of the town, she is the perfect “golden child”. Her gift for making things bloom with her floral powers and beauty is seen by all and admired equally. She is the highlight of the Madrigal family and is expected to take on the role of leader as soon as she’s ready.

At first, she is seen to be a perfectionist and follows her family’s expectations without question. She is a loyal and dutiful daughter, putting her family’s needs before her own. But this changes as the film progress.

Discovery of True Purpose

Because of her talent and expectations, Isabela got betrothed to a good-looking local man, Mariano Guzman. Although she didn’t feel strongly about him, she agreed to go along with the idea of marriage. She got so caught up in being the perfect Madrigal daughter, she even tells her sister Mirabel not to interfere with the events. But when Mariano’s true intentions came to light, Isabela’s powers surged, and a different vine-like form appeared before her.

This epiphany leads her to a self-discovery of her true purpose. Isabela’s inner self knows her dream is far greater than the expectations set for her. She strives to break free from the perfect daughter and bloom into her own person.

Growing and Exploring Her Gift

During her journey of self-discovery, Isabela explores her gift of making things bloom and discovers how to use them in more powerful ways. She has learned to grow different plants besides aesthetically pleasing flowers and burst colors out of thin air.

Even Isabela’s dress changed as her growth and exploration progressed. She evolved from wearing the traditional purple dress to one with vibrant, colorful splashes that reflected her newfound freedom and strength.

Restoring the Home

During Isabela’s musical sequence, she is seen with Mirabel dancing around their home. Mirabel saw that the existing cracks in the family’s house were slowly fading, representing Isabela’s self-discovery process that has been repairing their family bonds. This is further emphasized by the candlelight going brighter and brighter, which shows that Isabela’s awakening is helping to restore the Madrigal family’s home.

This provides viewers with a powerful message that finding your true self is vital, and hiding who you are can be far more destructive than embracing it. It is a reminder that everyone deserves to explore their potential and discover what they have to offer to the world.

At the end of the scene, Isabela and Mirabela are laughing together. Isabela thanks her sister for helping her discover and bring out the true her. This further proves that it is essential to have the support of your family and friends in finding yourself.

The Power of Family

Encanto showcases the beauty of family and how each member contributes their own unique gifts to make it complete. Isabela’s relationships with her cousins, siblings, parents, and grandmother are central to the story, and it is through her connection with them that she learns to appreciate her worth.

Sacrifices for Family

Isabela’s story arc revolves around her struggles with being the perfect Madrigal daughter, the pressure from the townspeople, and her journey of self-discovery. Her love and respect for her grandmother and the rest of the family have pushed her to work on controlling her powers and submitting to her family’s expectations.

She is known to decorate their home and the town with her floral powers, and everyone admires her for it. Despite the picture-perfect image she projects, Isabela makes many sacrifices to keep her family’s legacy alive and protect them from harm. But this only turns out to negatively affect her mental and emotional well-being.

Listening to Your Inner Voice

During a pivotal argument with her sister Mirabel, her emotions flare, and her powers are released, leading Isabela to create a different type of bloom. Mirabel’s words resonated with her and sparked a flame, pushing her to be brave and listen to her inner voice instead of following the pattern set before her.

Through this encounter, she was able to embrace her true identity and accept herself for who she is. She started questioning what else she could do with her powers, and it was through this newfound self-awareness that she began to explore her capabilities. She realizes she can’t be bound by what others want her to be and later learns that there is so much more she can do with her gift only if she listens to her inner voice.

happy kid

Accepting Mistakes

Being the favorite grandchild, Isabela was often favored by her grandmother, which added to the pressure of being the perfect Madrigal daughter. This has limited her growth, but she is eventually able to move past it with the support of her sister.

Although her grandmother initially disapproved of Isabela’s choices, she later saw how this transition was a necessary part of her growth and accepted it. Her grandmother’s acceptance and understanding of her change showed how family members must listen, understand, and let others do what makes them happy. It also encourages viewers not to put too much pressure on themselves or family members and to accept their unique gifts. In the end, Isabela was able to establish a new path that she loved and made her family proud.

Families Must Stick Together

Encanto sends a powerful message about the importance of family and standing together even in times of difficulty. When the Madrigal home started falling apart due to the family’s conflicts, everyone was there to help rebuild it. The family worked together to restore their home and make it even better, a testament to the power of family unity despite hurdles and misunderstandings.

All these messages together form a timeless, meaningful tale about the power of family and being there no matter what.

Overcoming Adversity

Ultimately, Encanto’s story celebrates resilience, courage, and the power of family. It recognizes every person’s hurdles at some point in life and serves as a reminder that whatever you face, there is always a way to make it through.

The Pressure of Being the Perfect Madrigal Daughter

Isabela faces several challenges throughout the film. Although these moments were difficult, she persevered and overcame her struggles with the help and support of her family. Through her journey, she has gained the ability to be true to her identity and understand her worth. This shows that it is possible to overcome even the most challenging obstacles with determination and a positive attitude. 

Fear and Doubt in Her Powers

Isabela wonders what Tio Bruno said about her powers, how they would grow like grapes on a vine, and whether she could use them to make a difference. But she’s holding on to her image as the perfect Madrigal daughter and is afraid to explore her powers. Throughout the movie, she gradually begins to understand that taking risks and exploring what she can do is okay. She knows it’s essential to rise and use her powers to make a difference, even if it means stepping outside her comfort zone.

Never Giving Up

A Notebook Beside Silver Trophy

The film also highlights how the Madrigal family never gives up, no matter how tough the situation. Isabela and her family have to deal with various obstacles, including losing their magic, the pressure to live up to expectations, and the threat of losing their home. However, they never give up and continue to work together to overcome these challenges.

Encanto’s message of resilience and perseverance can inspire viewers to keep pushing forward, even in the face of adversity. Problems may arise, but with the right mindset, it is possible to get through them and become stronger. This can be a valuable lesson for viewers of all ages.

Embracing Diversity

Encanto celebrates the diversity of Latin American cultures and highlights the beauty of differences. Isabela’s family exemplifies this, as every member has distinct talents, beliefs, and personalities.

Isabela’s Costume in Encanto

In the first part of the movie, Isabela’s dress is a purple gown traditionally worn by Latin American ladies during special occasions. It features Colombian flowers that represent her heritage. Later, when she starts embracing her powers and discovers her true identity, her dress changes to a more vibrant one full of colors that represent her true self. This transformation serves as a visual representation of her growth and understanding that it is okay to be different.

Strong Family Ties

Family Taking a Group Photo

The Latin American family values and customs in Encanto give viewers a glimpse into Latin culture and its emphasis on tight-knit families. This is exemplified by the Madrigal family’s strong bond, which allows them to overcome life’s obstacles and stand together no matter what. It also serves as a reminder of the importance of being there for the family in all circumstances.

Latin American families are known for their warmth, closeness, and loyalty. Encanto encapsulates these values perfectly and encourages viewers to appreciate the unique beauty of each family’s culture.

Uniqueness Isn’t a Bad Thing

Encanto doesn’t just celebrate family and diversity, but it also highlights the importance of being unique. Isabela’s character arc is about her understanding that being different is okay and that making the most of her gifts is the key to embracing her true identity.

She breaks away from the traditional role of a daughter and learns that it is okay not to conform to societal expectations and norms. This message is essential for young viewers, as it encourages them to embrace their uniqueness and be true to themselves no matter what.

Other Latin Representation

The movie also showcases other Latin American cultures in subtle ways. Its musical numbers and the language spoken by some characters are all examples of Latin representation in the movie.

For instance, the characters call their grandmother “abuela” and their home “casita.” These terms are commonly used in Latin American cultures, particularly in Colombia. The musical sequences incorporate traditional Hispanic instruments and rhythms. A Latin American ballad even accompanies Isabela’s transformation. This further reinforces Encanto’s embrace of cultural diversity and its message that every culture is beautiful, unique, and worth celebrating.

Isabela’s character in Encanto embodies many vital messages and themes relevant to audiences of all ages. By embracing her identity, relying on the support of her family, and overcoming adversity, Isabela sets an example for viewers to follow. Furthermore, Encanto’s celebration of diversity and Latin American culture makes it a timely and essential film that will resonate with audiences for years to come.

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