Grammy came over to watch the little one while I took my six-year-old and her friend to see Pixar's Brave. Since I have girls, I am always overjoyed when kids' films are released with strong female characters who have goals other than being skinny, wearing the prettiest dress, and landing a prince. Pixar has never had a girl-driven film!
Here's what you usually get in kid movies with female protagonists:
Name one Disney princess whose mother isn't dead.
The only ones I can think of who have mothers are cursed with evil stepmothers (Snow White, Cinderella) or evil adoptive mothers (Tangled).
Mulan is the only one who had a mother, am I right?
This brings me to the Number One thing I loved about Brave. Merida, the heroine, has a mother who is very much alive. They have a complex, nuanced relationship and finding peace with each other is the main plot point upon which all the drama hinges.
Merida's mother, Queen Elinor, is traditional and conservative. She tries to teach her daughter to uphold the traditions of their society. With good reason, she believes, since the peace of the realm is far more important than any one person's individual desires.
Merida, on the other hand, doesn't see it from her mother's perspective. She doesn't want to marry any of the scions presented for her hand in marriage. And who can blame her? The talent pool is pretty darn thin!
Merida decides to defy her parents and invoke the help of the friendly neighborhood witch to "change her fate." I won't give away the ancient curse and how Merida and her mother work together to save the day, but ya'll I CRIED! I was a little bit disgruntled that Merida's part in reversing the curse mostly had to do with stitching an old tapestry back together. That was a minor complaint though. For the most part the ladies do their share of kicking angry bear ass.
The six-year-olds I was with did not cry. In fact, I think the tender tale of two women cooperating to reverse an ancient curse and save the realm pretty much went over their heads. When I asked them what they liked about the movie, Aislin said "naked bums!" And her friend said "The archery!"
BRAVE! A film with something for everyone!
I will say that there is some intense scary stuff in Brave. Mor'du, the killer bear makes a couple of appearances and he is terrifying. There is medieval-style fighting with swords, fire, and hatchets. (Similar to How To Train Your Dragon).
This in one we'll definitely be seeing again.
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