~ HHHHHH Yes so. It’s easier to hide behind anger to not let true feelings flooding, especially when you have emotions and communication issues... And Pepa didn’t allow herself to think about Bruno much, the grief was too intense and a possible threat for the village weather-talking. Love you Pepa ( + Julieta being a comforting angel as often )
I just realised yet another little detail that symbolises so much in the story!
During Dos Orugitas, we see a young Alma Madrigal that seemed to be cheerful, playful and even a little clumsy. The braided hair, the frilly dress and the big smiles help create an image of her as a sweet, carefree young woman who was not afraid to just be herself.
Once the tragedy with Pedro happens and the miracle is born, Alma immediately takes shelter in casita and we see her alone, silently processing the events of the evening; looking extremely weary, lonely and traumatised. She looks down at her babies. Her Julieta, her Pepa and her Brunito, and her expression changes. She knows she needs to be strong for them. She’s resolute, but there’s a sadness in her eyes that says she knows what this means for her, too. She can never go back to the woman she used to be.
The next time we see Alma, she is putting on a black cloak and leaving the room. This room was the cocoon where she transformed into a new person, leaving her old self behind. She's become different. Her smile doesn't quite meet her eyes anymore. She looks tired, somber. Older, even.
There's a shadow, a trauma she's carrying that soon takes form in the perfectionism and control that eventually hurt her loved ones. This event shapes the way she deals with challenges from this moment on, and she is always in fear of the family losing their home once again.
She became harsh. Strict. Everything has to be perfect in order to protect and earn the miracle the love of her life granted their family with his noble sacrifice.
This is an incredibly strong woman who has been through hell and came out alive, for her family's sake. This black cloak follows her from her young years to her old age, and becomes a constant throughout the movie. It represents the weight and the burden of the grief she silently carried ever since that moment, and will continue to carry for the rest of her life. It represents the change she had to go through, putting her emotions last in order to become the strong matriarch her kids and the village needed. It represents the loss of not only her beloved Pedro, but also of her innocence, her youth, her laughter and her smile.
From the moment young Alma Madrigal and her children were gifted a miracle, she became the one responsible for the whole village. She, as the only one blessed with the magic and the one whose gift repelled the enemies, was naturally placed in a position of power and leadership in the worst moment of her life.
It's likely she was the one everyone immediately looked to for directions right after the miracle happened, and that she had to leave her feelings behind to help other lost and grieving people rebuild their lives and their homes, creating what the village of Encanto eventually became. She put everyone else first. She was extremely selfless.
Alma Madrigal is such a complex character. There are so many layers to her personality. This is why you guys can't just write her off as a villain or as a horrible person/grandmother. It's not so black and white.
Encanto major spoilers alert!
I’ve noticed a theory going around that Mirabel will inherit Abuela’s position as candle-bearer, and although this is an interesting idea, I would like to point out that there actually might not be a candle at all anymore.
At the start of the movie we see the magic spread out from the candle creating the enchanted Casita.
But at the end of the movie after the family have rebuilt the house with the help of the villagers, the magic spreads out from the doorknob Mirabel takes hold of.
The carvings on the door don’t show Abuela or anyone else holding the candle anymore.
And I watched closely and although there were normal-looking thin candles in the new house here and there, there was no ‘magical’ candle anywhere to be found.
The doors were also in that sparkly state of flux for the ending, so the carving with Abuela holding the candle that was on her door earlier in the movie wasn’t visible either. Perhaps it will never return and isn’t meant to.
So the magic the family has is no longer from the candle that originated from Abuelo’s sacrifice and Abuela’s desire to protect her family, but is now from the family’s acceptance of one another and themselves in all their imperfections, especially in how Abuela embraces Mirabel as just as special as the other family members even without a magical gift.
Perhaps Abuela carrying the candle around at times was symbolic of her carrying her worries about the magic one day disappearing if she and her family couldn’t stay worthy of the magical gift. She wanted to keep it close. She wanted to keep it safe.
So there not being a frail flame for her to carry around anymore could very well symbolize how she is no longer burdened by the fear they will lose their magic. None of the Madrigals are, because together they know their worth, their courage, and their family bonds don’t come from a magical candle. They simply exist. So they’ll be just fine.
fun fact: these two frames were a reference to some original sketches and ideas that didn’t make it into the movie as they were planned.
mirabel was supposed to play the accordion, it was her favourite object and she carried it around all the time. they eventually dropped this idea though.
and then there was camilo, who used to whip his poncho dramatically like a magician’s cape before shapeshifting. in the above frame, camilo whips his poncho and strikes a pose for the family picture!
Source: The Art of Encanto, 2021.