"Brave" Pixar’s new kind of fairy tale
**ATTENTION THIS POST MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS**
Last year at this time, awaiting its release, I wrote a blog post on the movie “Brave.” This year, I am writing a similar blog post on my review of Pixar’s newest film.
As I sat in the theatre awaiting the mid-night premiere of “Brave” I thought, Finally! A movie that I could relate to. A fairy tale that told my story (in a way). A part of me also thought that I might end up hating this film and critiquing it to no end. However, Brave surprised my feminist self and reminded me of a lot of my own childhood.
For starters, Brave is about a young princess, Merida, who refuses to follow her mother’s orders and begin her betrothal. In stead, Merida want to make her own decisions and be an archer. She is a talented archer and loves her freedom more than anything. However, Merida faces many challenges along the way, especially the relationship she has with her mother. Brave sends a touching message about the bond between a mother and a daughter, but it also sends many others.
This film sends messages to young girls, some being problematic in that this is very heteronormative and patriarchal. However, given the time period of the film and the Scottish culture, I really can’t harp on it too bad. But the overall message here that I think truly makes this film great is that, you should never give up on your dreams and stand up for what you believe. In particular this film reaches out to young girls and teaches them that life is full of possibilities and that girls can be brave too. Without a doubt, this film sends a feminist message - girls can be strong, independent, and brave too. Merida is a character with many different identities, not just the princess one. By no means is this film Women’s Studies 101, but its a step in the right direction.
I also read the other day that someone wrote on a blog that Brave wasn’t for boys. I call bullshit. This film is completely and totally for boys. Boys should also learn the same things from this film. No, maybe they won’t completely identify with Merida, but they certainly can take away a lot from this film. For example, the boy did not steal the princess’s heart and whisk her into the sunset - maybe it will help spark some reality into their lives. But also, boys will also learn that their fate is up to them as well.
Yet, the problem with this movie is fairly basic: this is still a Disney princess fairy tale.
Merida grows up in a land of which one day she will rule. She is beautiful, stubborn, and desperately wants a way out…sounds like your average fairy tale right? Except, Merida doesn’t want to get married. Merida wants to make that choice on her own terms. And, you know what else, the movie doesn’t end in a happy wedding. It ends with Merida riding off into their kingdom’s land.
Overall, I think this film is empowering. Empowering for young girls and boys, and all those folks in between. Be brave, and go see this movie.