Why I Think We All Should See Disney/Pixar’s BRAVE

Tori and I got to see Brave a couple of weeks ago at a sneak preview, and we LOVED IT.

LOVED IT. LOVE LOVE LOVED IT.

I’d been waiting for what felt like FOREVER for the movie to come out, since I first started seeing previews for it last year. It appeared in the previews to be a Disney movie with a great central character that is a girl. And even better? It appeared that her mother WAS ACTUALLY ALIVE.

I know, right?

The movie lived up to all my hopes. It turned out to be a different plot in many ways than I expected because (for once) everything wasn’t given away in the previews. It’s also not a musical, which was kind of nice, and it involved some of the most beautiful animation I’ve ever seen.

I wasn’t going to write a review about it, but in the last few days (the movie came out officially on Friday of last week) I’ve seen a bunch of various reviews that have complained about everything from objections to the magic in the movie ( I am trying to understand why a fairy tale with magic conflicts with Christianity, but I’m sorry, I simply don’t get it – no one thinks the magic is real, you know?) to complaints that the male characters are “thinly sketched badly behaved idiots” to which I say, WELCOME TO BEING THE GIRL AND HERE’S THE TINIEST FEMINIST VIOLIN PLAYING FOR YOU BOYS.

I haven’t seen enough reviews talking about what it’s like to take a six year old girl to see the movie, to see her light up inside as a result of seeing such a cool girl on the big screen or how she now wants to learn archery or how she wants to go fishing and learn to ride a horse.

I think those things are important  – hell, CRITICAL. Having a brave, smart, accomplished young woman in a movie for my daughter to see is a joy. A brave, smart, accomplished young woman who also has a MOTHER is a joy. A RARE joy; in her lifetime, there have been TWO; Brave and The Secret of Arriety.

But this is the very first movie she’s seen that explores a complicated mother and daughter relationship, including taking a girl that is fairly spoiled and helping her learn to be empathetic of and respectful to her mother while her mother also learns to unbend and trust her daughter to know who she is.

And this is why I want you all to go see it. Because it was the #1 movie at the box office last weekend, and if we can continue to spend our money on this movie, THEY WILL MAKE MORE LIKE THIS.

I think that is important. And maybe next time the complaints about magic or silly male characters will be addressed. I don’t know. It’s a fucking CARTOON after all, someone has to be silly.

One last point: there is some violence and some scary parts (the movie reflects the reality of the time in which it’s set, which includes Celtic warring tribes, and there are some moments where Merida’s life is in danger). I would say this movie is right on par with How To Train Your Dragon in terms of scariness; I don’t think I would have taken a child under age four/five to see it, frankly. Hence the PG rating.

I’m going to post Tori’s video review below, but be aware that it includes spoilers. :)

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Comments

  1. Cindy says

    I loved loved loved the movie too and I was so happy that the mom was not dead!! Merida so reminds me of my youngest daughter.

  2. Crysi says

    I loved brave too! The story didn’t feel as polished as most Pixar movies, but it was still gorgeously done & enjoyable. My 5yo daughter absolutely loved it. It was a toss up for me 3yo twins. One loved it, the other thought it was too scary. They all loved the triplet boys though.

  3. says

    I too loved the movie for many of the same reasons you mentioned above. Honestly I feel a tad sorry for those that sit and nit pick at the movie solely for the fact that there is magic in it or because of the male characters.
    One of my favorite things about seeing the movie was looking over and seeing my daughters perma-smile plastered on her face & we will be purchasing the movie when it’s released on DVD.

  4. Melissa says

    If you’re hankering for more strong female types, I’d recommend Spirited Away — my favorite, Howl’s Moving Castle, My Neighbor Totoro (all Miyazaki, who did Arrietty as well). Tokyo Godfathers is excellent too, but might be too intense. Has she seen Secret Garden?

    We took Ruth, who is 4, to Brave. I think it was a little too intense for her so we spent some time after discussing emotions. We’ll re-watch when she’s older, I think.

  5. says

    I really appreciated all the points you mentioned, but was quite disappointed with how under-developed the plot was. Gorgeous animation, great female characters/relationship, poor storyline.

  6. Dianne says

    I agree wholeheartedly! My five year old daughter loves the Disney princesses to death. But this was the first of them (except for maybe Rapunzel) who could kick some serious ass. I personally loved that she had curly hair (as none of the princesses do) that was untamed and wild. As a straight haired person myself, until I had my curly headed daughter I never really recognized that heroines (and princesses) never have curly hair. Whenever my daughter draws pictures of herself, you can always tell which one is her because of the wild mess of curls on top of her head. When Merida went to go beat the boys in archery and her hair was all wild and crazy curly, my daughter gasped and said, “Mommy, look at her hair!” and the huge smile across her face told me that she saw something of herself on screen. Still tear up just thinking about it. Powerful, powerful stuff.

    Thank you Disney/Pixar and John Lasseter – you rock.

  7. says

    Saw it last night. Only regret was we went to 3D. I’m not a huge 3D fan but my kiddo totally wanted to – so I gave it a shot. The glasses are annoying! But I tangent enough. ;)

    I loved it. I do agree w/your note and think it’s a good disclaimer. My child isn’t afraid of much and was totally 100% fine. I know people who couldn’t bring their 5/6/7 YOs because of it, though.

    I loved it. I love her mom. Her goofy dad, too. And those crazy brothers. The whole thing was fantastic and I <3 your review, too!

  8. Tine says

    That’s the third glowing review I’ve heard from women whose opinions I value. I’m in — even willing to pay full price at the first-run theater for this one. Yay for a great girl movie!

  9. Tine says

    P.S. I too am totally digging Merida’s crazy curls. I’ve got a crazy curlyhead here myself, and I’m constantly looking for reasons she can think her curls are cool and not want to flatten them out.

  10. Jean says

    I liked the movie a lot, and I loved that it, for once, had a female protagonist and a living mother. The animation was, as always for Pixar, amazing. However, I thought the story was not up to par for Pixar. Compare this to Finding Nemo, or the Toy Story movies, and their complexity of plot and character, and it falls short. It is head and shoulders above most children’s/family movies, but I was a tad disappointed that it wasn’t even better. In the end, it was a fairly conventional fairy tale, although, thank goodness (spoilers ahead) the princess didn’t find happiness by finding romance, but rather by bonding with her mother. I thought it was a little sad in a way that the only way Pixar could figure out to tell a story about a girl was to make her a princess.

  11. says

    Oh hell to the yeah. We need more positive female role models in film, even if it is a cartoon.

    I’m hoping to take my two nieces, age 8, to see it in a few weeks if their mom, my sister, hasn’t already. Plus, their dad is from Ireland, so there’s a whole Celtic tie-in thing for them, too.

    I can’t wait to see it–with them.

    Jules

  12. says

    Wish Disney had made movies like this when my girl (now 14) was 6. Me pointing out all the negative messages about girls and women and the stupid messages about romantic love in the ones she saw spoiled some of the fun for her. She’s growing into a strong, resourceful, kick-ass young woman, so it wasn’t all bad–but I wish she’d had some of this.

  13. Alvinia says

    My husband and I took our almost 3 year old daughter to see Brave. While one part of the movie did startle me (I jumped), my daughter didn’t seem to have any problems. In fact, she watched the movie the whole way through without any complaints. I should probably add here that it was her first time at the movies, so it was even more special for us.
    The only complaint I have about the movie wasn’t a problem with the movie itself. My daughter wouldn’t keep her 3D glasses on through most of the movie, and the theater we went to only played Brave in 3D for some reason. Ah well, we all enjoyed it. My daughter and I more-so than my husband, but he liked it well enough.

  14. Kathy C. says

    She is PRECIOUS !! Oh, God, I loved watching this. She’s so animated and beautiful and just EMOTES ! What a little doll.

  15. Jen says

    I wanted to mention the Disney movie Mulan. My now-11YO daughter loved that movie, and we did too. Mulan doesn’t get rescued by men. She is strong and brave. Wish there were more movies like that. Avoid the disastrous Mulan II. EEEK! Can’t wait to see Brave. My daughter’s been at camp this week & we’re all chomping at the bit to go!

  16. Dana says

    While I liked the move ok, and both my kids (boy aged 10 and girl aged 7) really enjoyed it, I found myself thinking “It’s Brother Bear, with kilts.”

    The imagry and music were stunning, and I did like the strong female characters, but the plot? Lamesauce. I went in expecting something as good as, if not better than, How To Tame Your Dragon, and I was sorely, sorely disappointed.