Themes in Encanto and Wadjda

byAkela Leach

In this unit students will analyze the films Encanto and Wadjda. They will compare and contrast elements of the films and their overall thematic ideas. In order to accomplish this, students will first gain an understanding of the characters’ motivations and of the plot development. Students will recognize how elements in the films such as lighting, music, and shot angles help audiences understand the feelings and underlying motivations of the protagonists. Students will participate in gallery walks and character analysis activities.

Encanto is a Disney animated movie about a young girl who is part of a magical family. Each family member has a role and magical gift except for Mirabel. The family’s magic is weakening and Mirabel tries to save the magic and feel accepted by her Abuela, the family’s matriarch. Wadjda is a live action movie from Saudi Arabia. Wadjda a 10-year-old girl who desires to buy and ride a bike, which girls are not supposed to do in Saudi Arabia. She is defiant against cultural norms for girls and finds ways to earn money to buy her bike. Both films explore themes of family, roles in society, coming of age, and overcoming obstacles.

(Developed for English Language Arts, grade 5; recommended for English Language Arts, grades 4 and 6)

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