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Every Character’s Gift Explained (& Why They Have Them)


Summary

  • Encanto tells the story of a magical family in Colombia, each member of which has a unique gift bestowed upon them by a magical candle.
  • The family’s gifts reflect their personalities throughout the movie.
  • Abuela Alma and Mirabel are the only family members without a supernatural gift themselves.



In Encanto, Abuela Alma’s descendants are blessed with supernatural gifts once they turn five years old, with each gift reflecting something about each character. After suffering great loss fleeing from danger with her three children, Alma was saved by a magical house and ever-burning candle, which granted each of her descendants their own special power. The Madrigals’ special abilities elevated the family and enabled them to better support their community. However, such high expectations also had burdens that each character had to overcome.

Their powers reflected aspects of their personalities, revealing something about each of them that they might have never shared otherwise. For example, Mirabel’s mother is intent on caring for everyone around her, and her power involves the food she makes having the power to heal. Antonio has always loved animals and is even gifted a toy animal by Mirabel right before his gift is revealed to be talking to animals. Every character’s gift in Encanto similarly reflects an aspect of their personality.



Abuela Alma

The Keeper Of The Candle

The Madrigal matriarch, Alma, technically didn’t have a power of her own, but without her, none of the other Madrigals would either. Alma was given the magical candle to raise her triplets and honor her late husband’s sacrifice to give them a better life. As the keeper of the candle that never burned out, which bestowed supernatural gifts on her descendants, Alma had the important role of protecting its flame and ensuring that the magic continued.


Because of Alma, her family in Encanto was able to support the community with their gifts as well as honor the Madrigal name. Yet, over time Alma grew so fixated on preserving the flame and its legacy that she stopped seeing anything else, including the ways in which she was actually hurting her family. Abuela Alma was as unchanging as the constant, endless candle.

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Pepa

Emotions Control The Weather

Pepa with a cloud raining over her in Encanto


Pepa, one of Alma’s three children, was given the ability to control the weather with her emotions. Anytime she felt overwhelmed or upset, a storm cloud would appear above her head, growing and shrinking along with the intensity of her feelings. This is reflective of Pepa’s own passionate and emotional nature.

From a young age, Pepa had to keep herself in check for the sake of everyone around her, never really able to fully unleash her feelings without facing very immediate consequences. In the song “We Don’t Talk About Bruno,” she revealed that she had to celebrate her wedding during a hurricane as a result of her powers going haywire. She has many go-to remedies for whenever her emotions are out of her control, such as stroking her hair and repeating calming mantras to herself, but they are rarely enough to properly tame the unpredictable weather.


Dolores

Has Superhuman Hearing

Dolores looks uncomfortable at dinner in Encanto

Pepa’s oldest daughter, Dolores, has the gift of superhuman hearing. Her gift allowed her to be the first to know any kind of gossip in the community, as she was able to hear just about anything – but Dolores’ magical ability also proved to be a burden, since she struggled to keep secrets. Dolores appeared to love gossip, which might be why she gained the ability in the first place, but the power proved that even someone who loves gossip could be burdened by it.

Being constantly focused outward on everyone else made it difficult for Dolores to look inward, preventing her from ever seeking things that she might want for herself. She admitted as much in Encanto and was resigned to her cousin Isabela marrying the man she loved instead of pursuing him for herself.


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Camilo

Shapeshifts Into Anyone

Camilo smiling while holding a tray in Encanto

Pepa’s second child, Camilo, gained the magical gift of being able to shapeshift into different people. His transformations were instantaneous, even changing his clothing to match the new look, and he regularly fooled his family with the trick. Camilo’s gift might not be as beneficial to the community as some of the others’, but he definitely took advantage of its entertainment capabilities as one of the more comedic characters in Encanto.


Camilo enjoyed playacting as other people, relying on quick wit and his sense of humor to uplift those around him. Of course, always pretending to be someone else could make it more difficult for Camilo to develop a strong sense of who he was. Sadly, Camilo was one of the least developed members of the Madrigal family, so little else is known about him other than his affinity for pranks. His shapeshifting, however, is not all that far removed from real-world actors, those who love to entertain and become someone new on every project.

Antonio

Talks To Animals

Antonio holding his hand out to Mirabel in Encanto


The youngest Madrigal, Antonio, went through his candle ceremony at the beginning of Encanto. He was very nervous about doing something so significant, and so public, by himself, even pleading with his older cousin Mirabel to walk beside him. Unfortunately, his gift had to be bestowed on him alone. He was worried for nothing, however, since the ceremony blessed him with the ability to speak with animals.

As the youngest, Antonio often felt separated from the rest of the family, having only Mirabel for company in the nursery. Mirabel seems to be the only one aware of that, gifting him a toy animal to help him feel less alone. Perhaps because of this, Antonio’s gift ensured he would never feel alone again. He could make friends wherever he went, and animals regularly followed him throughout the rest of the movie.

Bruno

Sees Potential Futures

Bruno looking awkward in Encanto


Another of Alma’s triplets, Bruno disappeared after Mirabel’s failed candle ceremony. Bruno’s gift let him see the future, but most of his predictions were so ominous that they upset everyone around him. Such a depressing, even downright frightening, power did not work well with the image of the Madrigals that Alma wanted to promote, and Bruno’s predictions became such a problem for the family that he eventually decided to leave.

Bruno spent the next 10 years hiding within the house’s walls while the family refused to ever even mention him. His gift required a kind of complete, unflattering honesty that did not mesh well with the rest of the family, especially Alma, who strived for a more idealized version of the truth. Bruno’s gift also made it easy for others to blame him for their problems, even though his predictions weren’t actually his fault, but he selflessly took the blame anyway in order to protect those he held dear.


His gift frightening the family is actually a great way to perceive Bruno’s outsider status. He doesn’t quite fit in with everyone else, and he even sees in them things they don’t see themselves, much like his ability to see the future.

Julieta

Heals With Her Food

Julieta healing Mirabel in Encanto

Alma’s third child, Julieta, possessed the power to heal people with food. When an injured person ate any food she made, their health was quickly restored. In many ways, Julieta represented the ideal selfless mother in Encanto; her warmth and kindness soothed any who came to her for help, and she always did what she could to support others. She wanted to take care of people, and her gift allowed her to do just that.


Julieta’s gift also emphasized the importance of a home-cooked meal, especially one prepared and enjoyed by family, and sharing a meal is clearly important culturally in the Madrigal’s village. Food can bring people together, as seen by the Madrigals all gathering around the dinner table.

Her gift was an incredibly useful one to have, but also emphasized the sacrifices she made – as if Julieta constantly prepared food for others, when could she ever have time for herself?

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Isabela

Creates Perfect Plants

Isabela Madrigal swinging on vines of flowers in Encanto


Julieta’s oldest daughter had a gift as seemingly perfect as herself. Isabela could conjure beautiful flowers of all shapes, sizes, and colors, which decorated the floor at her feet and anything else she touched.

At the beginning of the Encanto movie, Isabela thought she could only make perfect roses and other pretty things, but later in the film she accidentally conjured a cactus in a fit of rage. Such a small thing brought her great joy as she realized she could make imperfect plants too, which meant that maybe she also didn’t need to be perfect all the time.

Isabela spent her life carefully monitoring her every movement, never able to feel fully free, and her gift represented that. By controlling her image, Isabela also greatly limited her potential, and Mirabel helped her see how much more she could create when she stopped trying so hard to achieve perfection.


Luisa

Has Superstrength

Luisa flexing her muscles in Encanto

Isabela’s sister Luisa also struggled with expectations, which she laid out in the Encanto song “Surface Pressure.”Luisa was blessed with super strength, which let her carry an unfathomable amount of weight with ease. Her gift meant everyone in the community turned to her for help with their heavy-lifting, and Luisa’s hardworking nature didn’t make it easy to ever say no.

Although her power prevented her from growing physically tired from all the work, Luisa became mentally exhausted from carrying the overwhelming expectations that those around her placed on her shoulders. Her gift made her strong, but Luisa always feared she wasn’t strong enough. Her willingness to keep carrying heavier and heavier loads reflected that same insecurity.


Mirabel is the only one to see just how much pressure her sisters are under, and as the movie progresses, she is the only one to see the burders that can come with everyone’s gifts as they hide them from one another.

Mirabel

Is Not Given A Gift By The Candle

Mirabel smiling nervously in Encanto

Julieta’s youngest daughter was also seemingly the only Madrigal family member without her own supernatural gift. Mirabel tried to make up for this and prove to herself and her grandmother that she belonged, but she still felt like she could never actually do enough to make her Abuela proud. She worked hard to support each and every member of her family at all times, and was the only member of the family to truly connect with their magical home, Casita.


By Encanto‘s ending, however, it was clear that Mirabel’s faith and love for her family were what empowered them. Only when she truly lost faith in herself did the house start to crumble, and her support was what helped her family’s gifts shine once again. Mirabel might not have had an obvious supernatural gift, but it’s clear that her own support was a gift to her entire family.

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There Are A Lot Of Theories About Mirabel’s Lack Of A Gift

Picture of Mirabel talking to two kids from Encanto


Mirabel is not granted a gift during her ceremony, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have a gift, as many fan theories have speculated that hers is more subtle. Mirabel appears to be following her grandmother’s footsteps throughout the movie, despite Alma blaming Mirabel at one point for the family appearing to lose their magical gifts. Though there are many fan theories about Mirabel’s initial lack of a gift, the consensus is that Mirabel is the one holding the family together.

Mirabel is the one who best understands Casita, and in fact, is instrumental in bringing the magic back to the house. Once the house is rebuilt, it’s Mirabel who brings the doorknob to the house and seemingly “unlocks” the magic of the house once again.


Mirabel is also the one who actually engages with each of her family members and realizes how much their gifts actually weigh on them. She sees that Luisa doesn’t feel she can tell anyone no, that Isabela feels she must always make beautiful things and exemplify perfection, that Dolores knows everyone’s secrets because she can hear even the smallest of whispers, and more. Mirabel is the one who understands the hardships that come along with those gifts.

It is also Mirabel who doesn’t shun Bruno and welcomes him back, bringing the family together again. She rallies them all to work together. She is constantly trying to help everyone around her, even though she doesn’t see herself as “special” like the rest of her family. Mirabel appears to be the person who will step into the role Abuela Alma has occupied for decades.

One key piece of evidence that fan theorists like to point out is how the clothing of the characters isn’t just reflective of their personalities, but also of their gifts. Mirabel’s clothing has the same butterflies on it as the very candle that grants the Madrigals their gifts. She is a gift to her family in Encanto.


Everything We Know About Encanto 2

Mirabel alongside an image of the entire Madrigal family in Encanto

Given the resounding success of Encanto, it’s not hard to imagine a sequel eventually entering production. Encanto 2 has yet to be officially announced, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen. Six years passed between Frozen and Frozen II, Disney’s other biggest animated franchise of the past few decades, meaning it could just be a matter of waiting for Encanto 2 to get the green light. Lin Manuel Miranda is confident that an Encanto sequel will work, and many members of the original cast would also be willing and eager to work on Encanto 2.


Encanto 2‘s story could see Mirabel taking over Abuela’s role as matriarch of the Madrigal family, the family coming into greater contact with the world outside of Casa Madrigal, a twist in which more family members lose their powers, or all of the above. Regardless, any sequels or spinoffs to Encanto are sure to be met with plenty of anticipation should they be announced.

Encanto

Encanto tells the tale of an extraordinary family, the Madrigals, who live hidden in the mountains of Colombia, in a magical house, in a vibrant town, in a wondrous, charming (and enchanted) place called an Encanto. The magic of the Encanto has blessed every child in the family with a unique gift from super strength to the power to heal—every child except one, Mirabel (voice of Stephanie Beatriz). But when she discovers that the magic surrounding the Encanto is in danger, Mirabel decides that she, the only ordinary Madrigal, might be her exceptional family’s last hope. Mirabel will seek out her missing cousin, Bruno, to discover the truth that Abuela has buried away for all of their lives.

Director
Jared Bush , Byron Howard , Charise Castro Smith

Release Date
November 24, 2021

Writers
Charise Castro Smith , Jared Bush

Cast
Mauro Castillo , John Leguizamo , Carolina Gaitan , Rhenzy Feliz , Diane Guerrero , Wilmer Valderrama , Jessica Darrow , Stephanie Beatriz , Adassa , Alan Tudyk , Angie Cepeda , María Cecilia Botero , Maluma

Runtime
99 minutes

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