In Disney’s 2021 film, Encanto, the magical house Casita fails to protect the primary protagonist, Mirabel, even when Mirabel goes on a quest to save Casita from falling apart. Casita isn’t thoughtless or careless, though, and has good reason for not helping Mirabel at certain points in the film. Mirabel, a young woman who doesn’t get powers in a family where every member receives a special gift on their fifth birthday, wants to prove herself worthy to her family. The family resides in a sentient house, lovingly nicknamed Casita, who often helps Mirabel throughout the film. However, when Mirabel is exploring Bruno’s hidden room and the walls that he hides behind, Casita’s help is noticeably absent.
When Mirabel is on her quest to figure out what is making Casita crumble and why her family is losing their magical powers, she sets off to find Bruno, her uncle. When Mirabel was younger, he left the family to protect her because he received the gift of prophecy but Bruno’s visions always seemed to be bad news. Each member of the Madrigal family has a special room tailored to them that Casita creates for them when they get their magical power. Throughout the film, only two rooms besides Bruno’s are seen and both times Casita is able to use its magic within the bedrooms. When Mirabel was in Bruno’s room, it was full of sand and hard to navigate, but Casita offered no assistance, even when the room started to collapse. Casita also fails to protect Mirabel when she nearly dies while chasing Bruno inside the walls of the house.
Casita is concealing a secret, Bruno, and the hidden spaces within the house provide an opportunity to conceal that secret. Because Bruno has stepped away from the family, the light on his door is dim, indicating that Casita’s magic doesn’t work in there anymore. Just like any other room, though, it was once enchanted and Bruno’s room may serve as a metaphor for the heartbreak he endured trying to protect Mirabel. Much like any other member of the Madrigal family, Casita has its own pressures and desires. Casita is bound together by the Madrigals’ love for one another and relies on their unity to stay alive, much like they rely on Casita for its magic. Casita also doesn’t hesitate to knock some sense into them when they are misbehaving. For example, Casita lets Mirabel walk into a pole early in the film after she snaps at her sister. When Casita sees how the Madrigals, especially Abuela, are treating Bruno it makes the decision to conceal Bruno by dismantling its own magic and giving Bruno a safe place to retreat.
How The Theme Of Family Secrets Ties Encanto Together
Each Madrigal family member has their secrets from Dolores’s secret love to Luisa feeling as though she must carry it all and never ask for help. The theme of family secrets extends to Casita as it helps Bruno hide and live a life of relative safety instead of being forced to live outside the protective house. One theory suggests that Casita knew exactly when it would die and that its magic wouldn’t be strong enough to carry the Madrigals forever. This means that much like Bruno, Casita can see the future and plan for it. Casita made the choice to conceal Bruno so that when the time came, Mirabel could find him and restore the family’s bond before Casita crumbled.
Casita’s ultimate goal throughout the film is to protect the Madrigals and even though it seems like sometimes Casita is absent, there was a greater plan in the works. Just like the family dynamic improves when the Madrigals all reveal their secrets at the end of the film, Casita can only be rebuilt when Bruno finally rejoins the family and is no longer an outcast. Encanto is not only a fun, whimsical film, but it is grounded in the very honest aspect of difficult family dynamics and the desire to live up to expectations.