I know. I’m a grown up and clearly not the kind of person to cry at a kids’ film. Except “Toy Story 3”. And “Up” And pretty much any Muppets film. Oh and let’s not even mention the ugly crying I did over “Coco”. So maybe I am that kind of person. Maybe I’m the kind of person who puts the “Encanto” soundtrack on while the kids are at school and I’m working. Maybe I’m the kind of person who find themselves sobbing into their spreadsheet. But it’s totally logical and I’m going to tell you why.
There are two chief culprits here. Not even I could cry over a bunch of donkeys playing violins on the brow of the Titanic. But “Dos Oruguitas” is an obvious tearjerker and, slightly more obliquely, “All of You” too. Anything to do with Abuela and generational trauma, basically.
I’m going to break down the lyrics of “All of You” because that’s the one I can’t sing along to past the first verse or so. Grab your tissues and join me.
Look at this home, we need a new foundation
It may seem hopeless but we’ll get by just fine
OK, we’re starting with the very concept of “home”, which is what the whole of the Encanto is – it was created as a home when Abuela needed it most. It does a sight more than most homes do. In fact, I dreamt last night that our stairs turned into a slide first thing in the morning but guess what? Dreams don’t always come true, kids.
Anyway, a quick callback to “Family Madrigal” to start with. A bit poignant as this time round, the home is a pile of rubble but also optimistic. If I wasn’t busy hardening my heart, it’d probably get me on the first line.
Look at this family, a glowing constellation
So full of stars and everybody wants to shine
Callback continues, with a subtle shift of emphasis – everybody *wants * to shine, rather than everybody *gets* to shine. I told you dreams didn’t always come true.
But the stars don’t shine, they burn
And the constellations shift
A shift in every way at this point – thanks for the signpost Mirabel. After the major chords of the first few lines, we hear a G#m on the word “burn” and the optimism of the “shine”, “fine” and “new” just seems a little uncertain. And it gets even more uncertain as she hits another minor chord on “shift” which isn’t even on the first beat of the bar like “burn” is. It seems like Mirabel started hopeful but is wavering…or perhaps just getting philosophical. My eyes are still dry. Yes, they are.
I think it’s time you learn
You’re more than just your gift
Oh gosh, is that Luisa she’s saying that too? Like, she doesn’t need to carry all of that pressure any more? I think these lines speak very deeply to anyone who’s ever felt like people only appreciate them for what they can do rather than who they are. From Malcolm in the Middle to Margot Tenenbaum to Maddie Ziegler, this has gotta chime with a few people hasn’t it? It’s also interesting how the music changes again, shifting down from E to an out-of-key D# major chord on the word “gift”, almost like Mirabel is anticipating the seismic emotional shift that’s about to come as Abuela starts singing.
And I’m sorry I held on too tight
Just so afraid I’d lose you too
This is where I lose it every.single.time. Abuela is making amends for the hurt she’s caused and explaining that it was her love for the triplets that led to that hurt. Dagnam, I’m welling up now just thinking about it. I have a rule that when emotionally stunted characters -Giles, Dr Cox, Toby Ziegler* – cry that I’m allowed to cry too and I’m not making an exception for Abuela. Look how she strokes Pepa’s face in exactly the same way as Captain von Trapp strokes Liesl’s face after his own emotional breakthrough:
*No relation to Maddie
The miracle is not some magic that you’ve got
The miracle is you, not some gift, just you
The miracle is you
All of you, all of you
The same alloftheemotions as before only this time it’s even more so because a) it’s Abuela saying it and b) Bruno turns up.
If you hadn’t guessed from the Captain Von Trapp reference, family reconciliation always makes me well up. It’s the classic Railway Children “Daddy, oh my Daddy” moment isn’t it? I was reading “Curtain Up” to Eva a few months back and could barely make it through the last chapter when their father comes home at Christmas time. I know it’s a well-worn plot device but gosh darn, it gets me every single time. Just looking at Julieta and Pepa’s faces when they realise Bruno is back could probably start me off crying without even listening to the song:
Okay, so we gonna talk about Bruno? (That’s Bruno)
Yeah, there’s a lot to say about Bruno
I’ll start, okay
Pepa, I’m sorry ’bout your wedding, didn’t mean to be upsetting
That wasn’t a prophecy, I could just see you were sweating
And I wanted you to know that your bro loves you so
Let it in, let it out, let it rain, let it snow, let it go
OK, phew there’s a bit of a light relief in the form of some Camilo-Antonio-Bruno bantz. And a “Frozen” reference, obviously. The chords are all over the place at this point – mainly somewhere around the key of G but with a fair smattering of B Majors to keep it unpredictable. But all very upbeat and it means I can get my breath back a bit before some more family reconciliation stuff
That’s what I’m always saying, bro
Got a lotta ‘pologies I got to say
(Hey, we’re just happy that you’re here, okay?)
Julieta is the best. No, Felix is the best. I really don’t know but yup, just weeping straight through this bit
Come into the light, the triplets all reunite
And no matter what happens we’re gonna find our way
And this bit.
Yo, I knew he never left, I heard him every day
Oh Dolores….always gotta have the last word. You never thought to mention this before? I guess they don’t talk about….who now?
What’s that sound? (Oh, oh)
I think it’s everyone in town
Just when I’m starting to get myself together, here’s another trigger. Everyone pulling together to rebuild a home. It’s like those feelgood news stories you see after disasters when you have to…yknow….look the saints in the aftermath of tragedy. Oh gosh, I’m off again.
And it’s like…EVERYONE in town. Gut man, Mariano, all of them. No one is cross at the Madrigals even after they’ve been hit on the nose by falling debris. They all appreciate what the family have done for the town and now it’s time to give back. Waaaaahhhhh
Lay down your load (lay down your load)
We are only down the road (we are only down the road)
More stuff on not putting so much pressure on yourself (are you listening Luisa?) and letting others help you. This reminds me of “Once More With Feeling” where Buffy thinks she has to fight the demon all by herself and then all the Scoobies turn up to help her (“Quick Tara, Anya…she needs back up”). After two years of Covid, we’re all carrying so much emotional baggage and have felt like we’ve had to just struggle on for so long that having an entire town turn up to tell you to lay down your load is really quite….affecting. And I gotta say, whenever we’ve needed the HP community to spring into action when while we’ve been isolating, they have been just as marvellous as the Encantoians.
We have no gifts, but we are many
And we’ll do anything for you
You see, they really want to help. It’s not all about being gifted, it’s about community. Sob.
It’s a dream when we work as a team (all of you, all of you)
Oh the three sisters are friends again too…even though we never really knew that much about the Isabela/Luisa dynamic so not sure whether they needed any kind of reconciliation in the first place. It’s all good though. And nice callback to Isabela’s theme.
You’re so strong
Yeah, but sometimes I cry (all of you, all of you)
So do I
ME TOO, LUISA.
I may not be as strong but I’m getting wiser
Yeah, I need sunlight and fertilizer
Come on, let’s plant something new and watch it fly
Straight up to the sky, let’s go
All of this is pretty jolly. OK, I’ll be fine. Nothing but good vibes from here on in.
The stars don’t shine, they burn
The constellations glow
The seasons change in turn
Would you watch our little girl go?
She takes after you
Alright so…parental pride in a child that’s always felt a bit neglected. …kids growing up and becoming independent…all that might potentially set me off again if we don’t move on quickly.
Hey Mariano, why so blue?
I just have so much love inside
You know, I’ve got this cousin too
Have you met Dolores?
Okay, I’ll take it from here, goodbye
You talk so loud
You take care of your mother and you make her proud
You write your own poetry every night when you go to sleep
And I’m seizing the moment, so would you wake up and notice me?
Dolores, I see you (and I hear you)
Yes (all of you, all of you)
Let’s get married (slow down)
This bit is sweet. I’m not overly invested in Mariano’s heartache. Happy for Dolores but it’s all registering mild on the wibble-o-meter.
All of you, all of you
Home sweet home
I like the new foundation
It isn’t perfect
Neither are we (that’s true)
OK, let’s finish this song reallll soon before I start again.
Just one more thing
No, not one more thing
Before the celebration (what?)
No we’re good. Feel free to start celebrating
We need a doorknob
We made this one for you
They got Antonio to do this line. Why would you do this to me?
We see how bright you burn
We see how brave you’ve been
Oh gosh, now we’re channelling Lily Potter at the end of Deathly Hallows. Not.enough.feels.in.the.world
Now, see yourself in turn
You’re the real gift, kid, let us in
Aw, even Bruno is getting slushy now? Wahhhhh once more
Open your eyes
Abre los ojos
Unintentional Vanilla Sky reference?
What do you see?
I see me
All of me
Fade to black and repeat “it’s only a kids’ film. It’s only a kids’ film….”
But just in case you think I’m alone in this, here are some randomly selected YouTube comments from this song. I’ve removed usernames as they might not want to be associated with this ridiculous piece of overthinking. But if you spot yourself, do wave!