Disney and Pixar bring another movie about a princess to the screen. “Brave” is the story of Merida (Kelly Macdonald), the daughter of King Fergus (Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson).
Merida is at the age to be given over in marriage. This is an arranged marriage, and Merida wants nothing to do with this.
Merida is not the typical princess. She is more drawn to bows and arrows, riding in the forest and other tomboyish pursuits.
Elinor tries to prepare her for what is to come, but Merida resists. Merida is too much a free spirit to be saddled with a husband. She wants to continue being the tomboy that she is rather than become the kind of princess her mother expects of her.
Fergus does not help Elinor. He dotes on Merida’s outdoorsy attitude. She is more a reflection of him than Elinor.
When the issue of giving her hand in marriage is presented, Merida does the unthinkable. During a contest of archery to see who will wed her, she bests all those who shoot for her hand.
Elinor chides Merida, but she runs off into the woods. There she encounters the will-o-wisps that lead her to an old, broken-down cottage.
Within is a witch (Julie Walters). Merida makes a deal for a spell that is to change her mother. There is a big problem with the spell. It does change Elinor, but into a bear.
The problem of her being a bear is made worse by the fact that a bear bit off Fergus’ leg. What follows is Merida and mother seeking the means of breaking the spell and returning Elinor back to being human.
I have a friend that has triplet girls. When the girls learned about “Brave,” one said she was glad that there was a movie about a princess that does not have to have a prince.
My reason for that statement is based on many critics’ view of this movie. Some have said the story is “dull” and not very deep in terms of feeling.
What I got from the movie was this was a very female story. It is a movie about the problems between a mother and daughter.
The story deals with how hard it is for mothers and daughters to understand each other. We see the dynamics of how the parent and child of the same gender have problems relating to each other during the child’s teenage years.
And I think that story is a bit harder to grasp for males.
My wife went with me to see this movie and she loved it. My impression of it is based on her thoughts.
My wife was like my friend’s daughter. She liked seeing a movie that dealt with being a female not in need of a male to validate herself. That is what “Brave” tells us.
I wonder how differently this movie would be received if it was a teenage boy that rebels against his father’s wishes for him to marry the one chosen for the boy? I think it might be seen in a more positive light.
I liked “Brave.” It is a movie that tells us that our families are important centers of learning, but the wishes of the family do not have to define us.
We can be the people we feel led to be without carrying the baggage of tradition and expectation.
MPAA Rating: PG for scary action and rude humor
Directors: Brenda Chapman, Mark Andrews and Steve Purcell
Writers: Brenda Chapman, Mark Andrews, Steve Purcell and Irene Mecchi
Cast: Kelly Macdonald, Merida; Billy Connolly, Fergus; Emma Thompson, Elinor; Julie Walters, The Witch; Robbie Coltrane, Lord Dingwall; Kevin McKidd, Lord MacGuffin; Craig Ferguson, Lord Macintosh
The movie’s website is here.
Michael Parnell is pastor of Temple Baptist Church in Raleigh, North Carolina. He is married and has two boys. His love is for movies, and he can be found in a theater most Fridays.