I just watched Brave and couldn’t wait to come home and write a review for it. I laughed, I cried and better yet, I considered what sort of message it was sending young girls.
Merida is a spunky wee lass who doesn’t take bull shit and wants to be in charge of her own life, even if that means upsetting the other clans in old Scotland. The movie revolves around the fact that her mother wants her to get married, a premise loathed by Merida. A competition for her hand results in Merida herself competing to prove the point that she can shoot better than the boys and thus through a loophole be her own suitor.
Going into it, I thought the movie would be about her scoffing at her male suitors, shooting arrows from her steed and huffing and puffing, complaining about having to “act like a lady”.
This movie ended up being more than a show meant to inspire young girls to take charge of their lives. It was a movie that, with a little humor, a few cute baby bears, and an arse wielding Scotsman is fit for the whole family and just happened to have a female lead.
This is why the movie people decided to name it Brave, and not Merida because they wanted to attract a male and female audience. I think everyone of every age and gender should see this movie. It has great values for everyone, stating that one has the right to make their own destiny’s regardless of their lot in life. Family is also thrust to the forefront, the lesson being that no matter how much you hate your parents, they will always be there for you.
I love the fact that this movie has a female positive message. Merida is a strong character who is sure of what she wants and even though she participates in “male” activities, still dresses as a female. I think this is important because often when girls are depicted as tom boys in movies, it sends the message that it is because she wants to be male or it is because she dresses like a male that she is able to enjoy “masculine” things.
Also, her mother was another important character. In the beginning she is very traditional, making sure that Merida was on route to becoming Queen and not a barbarian. When she is transformed into a bear, which I didn’t see coming, her transformation is more than a little extra girth and fur. She comes to realize that her daughter is very special in her own way and that it’s ok that she can shoot a bow and remain single until she chooses when to get married. I found it amusing that Merida ended up teaching her mother a few basic survival instincts, instead of the other way around.
Elinor is a strong female character in her own right, even if a bit traditional. I found it amusing that she did most of the speaking during the events for Merida’s suitor competition and even settled a few quarrels among the male clan leaders.
There have been criticisms that it is implied that Merida is a lesbian, just because she doesn’t want to get married. To this I say, piss off. What girl of her age wants to get married anyway? Merida is level headed enough to understand that marriage isn’t the fairy tale that most young girls believe it to be. She’s fun loving and doesn’t see the need to be tied down, and if she was gay, then so what. It would make a great sequel.
Overall, this movie was amazing. Just the animation alone deserves mad kudos. Brave has many great messages, and not all are restricted to gender. Young boys can learn the same message as girls about the value of family as well as finding one’s own path in life. More movies like this need to be made with more female characters connecting to audiences of both genders.
I think Brave may be one of the most important films of this generation.