Top 10 Things Only Adults Notice In Encanto
VOICE OVER: Emily Brayton
WRITTEN BY: Tal Fox
Only adults will notice these things in "Encanto." For this list, we'll be looking at the most notable jokes, references, and other moments that made this movie just a little extra magical for the grown-ups. Our countdown includes Pepa's anxiety-driven gift, "Wednesay!," Colombia's history, and more!
Top 10 Things Only Adults Notice in Encanto
Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Things Only Adults Notice in “Encanto”.
For this list, we’ll be looking at the most notable jokes, references, and other moments that made this movie just a little extra magical for the grown-ups.
Did you notice anything else that might go over a child’s head? Let us know in the comments!
#10: Pepa’s Anxiety-Driven Gift
Pepa's gift is tied to her emotional state in a way that differs from the other Madrigals. When she's upset, angry, or nervous, she can quite literally stress up a storm. After all, it was her jitters that created a hurricane on her wedding day. However, like another popular Disney character, she's often encouraged to conceal her emotions to avoid a natural disaster. Pepa's gift could be perceived as a relatable manifestation for those struggling with anxiety, and the character garnered plenty of empathy from older viewers. Perhaps Pepa helped some kids understand their own feelings too, but for many, she was probably just the angry lady who made it rain.
#9: A Nod to the 1990 FIFA World Cup
When Mirabel meets Bruno in his makeshift abode inside the wall, he shows her a trio of slides on his DIY entertainment set. Soccer fans will recognize one of them as a recreation of the Colombia vs. West Germany match from the 1990 FIFA World Cup. Thanks to Freddy Rincón's goal, the game ended in a tie. It quickly became a huge point of pride for Colombians, who hadn’t seen their country compete in the tournament since the ‘60s. And if you look closely, Bruno’s even included the famous "Birdman" fan, who became a staple at Colombian soccer games. Unless you're a hardcore fan from the ‘90s —or grew up with someone who was— you'd be forgiven for missing this small yet brilliant detail.
#8: Luisa Represents Female Empowerment
Back when many of us were kids, a character like Luisa Madrigal was unthinkable. A strong woman with muscles, who didn't need a man for heavy-lifting? There was no way we’d see that on our screens. With Luisa, we get a female character who proves you can be both vulnerable and strong. But the entertainment industry has tried to be more mindful of its female representation in recent years. So despite being revolutionary, Luisa’s nuanced arc probably feels less groundbreaking to young fans. Incidentally, her song "Surface Pressure" was inspired by Lin-Manuel Miranda's big sister, and identifies the burdens often placed on older siblings. It's hardly surprising that Luisa’s become "Encanto's" breakout character, helping women feel understood in ways they didn’t before.
#7: Camilo Helps an Exhausted Mother
Camilo is often seen using his shapeshifting abilities to play jokes on his family. However, during Abuela Alma's verse in "The Family Madrigal," we get a glimpse of how his gift benefits the community. It's a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it-moment, but Camilo comes to the aid of an exhausted mother with a crying baby. He shapeshifts into the weary woman so he can look after the screaming infant while she takes a nap — he even provides her with a pillow. This thoughtful gesture probably went over the heads of kids watching. But we have no doubt that many tired parents wished they had a Camilo in their life after seeing this.
#6: Mirabel’s “Gift of Denial” Is a Cover
Our protagonist's determined to show everyone that she's just as special as her gifted family. However, not everybody’s buying it. But who is she really trying to convince, the town kids or herself? Some older viewers might recognize that Mirabel's typically optimistic disposition veils her true feelings, and many of her actions are motivated by a desire to fit in. During "Waiting on a Miracle," she confesses that she would move mountains just to feel like a more integral part of her family. It's a sad undertone that was likely lost on younger audiences, but undoubtedly hit many grown-ups straight in the feels.
#5: The Drinks Are Strong
While everyone unleashes their inner party animal to celebrate Antonio's ceremony, Mirabel hides away for a powerful musical moment alone. After concluding her ballad, she soon sees the cracks forming in her beloved Casita for the first time. She runs back to the party to alert the family, arousing the attention of the partygoers in the process. But when everyone comes to examine the alleged fractures, there's no crack in sight. Alma does some quick damage control with a joke aimed at audiences above the legal drinking age — which, incidentally, Mirabel isn't. We imagine this isn't a joke parents want to explain to their kids quite yet anyway!
Even the film’s most diehard fans might be surprised by some of its finer distinctions. When Dolores overhears Mirabel and her father discussing Bruno's prophecy, Agustín responds in an interesting manner. If you remember your school Spanish, you'll know this literally translates to "Wednesday." However, in Colombia, it's also a PG stand-in for sh— omething we won’t say out loud. Apparently, this is quite common among Colombians looking for clean alternatives to expletives. In this case, we'd say that it probably wasn't just the kids who didn't get the joke. But now that we're in on it, it only makes us love "Encanto" even more.
#3: Luisa Knows Her Greek Mythology
Thanks to her superhuman strength, Luisa has a never-ending to-do list, But she never objects — at least outwardly. However, in "Surface Pressure," she reveals that she's burned out, and actually uses Greek mythology to explain her feelings. For instance, she wonders how Hercules felt battling Hades’ multi-headed hound, and there's a moment where she holds up the earth like the Titan Atlas. Obviously, we don't expect kids to be familiar with these references, and we wouldn’t expect them to pick up on the epic nod to "Titanic" either. They can just enjoy the song for the bop that it is, but we’ll never stop obsessing over these clever touches!
#2: Colombia’s History
While "Encanto's" timeline is deliberately vague, many believe it takes place in or around the 1950s. Although the location of their village is fictional, the story is presumably tied to actual historical events. It's widely assumed that the conflict from which Alma and Pedro were fleeing is the Thousand Days' War, a battle that took place between 1899 and 1902. By the time we meet the Madrigals, Alma's had the candle long enough for her kids to raise kids, so this adds up. The technology we see, like the gramophone and camera, provide hints about the potential time period as well. Kids today probably wouldn't even recognize those devices, let alone have enough knowledge of Colombian history to try and piece together a hypothetical timeline!
Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
Bruno’s Discolored Image on the Family Tree
The Madrigals Seem Pretty Determined to Erase Him From Memory Altogether
A Combination of a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy & Living in Solitude for So Long
A “Doctor Who” Moment
Time & Relative Dimensions in Antonio’s Bedroom
#1: The Colombian Culture
To make “Encanto”, directors Jared Bush and Byron Howard and songwriter Lin-Manuel Miranda spent time in Colombia with cultural consultants, immersing themselves in the land. The team spoke to many locals, and continued doing research after the voyage in order to recreate Colombia's sense of "magical realism" authentically. You can see this through their choice of flowers, wildlife, fashion, food, music, architecture, and even nods to the famous Colombian author, Gabriel García Márquez. They were so enamored with the vastness of cultures and regional landscapes that they also tried to portray the variety through Casita's various rooms. Children might not appreciate this attention to detail right now, but it certainly adds to the magic of the movie.