Disney films tend to always contain a message of sorts, something to make you think about life all over again. With Brave, that message is a very unique one indeed.
Merida (Kelly Macdonald) is a headstrong and intelligent Scottish princess, but unlike the other Disney princesses you may be used to. She and her father, King Fergus (Billy Connolly), are like two birds of a feather; they both burp at the dinner table and tell stories of hunts and battles.
Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson), Merida’s mother, is very set in her ways in the sense that she wishes to follow traditions and customs; this means finding her daughter a husband.
When a festival of sorts begins, solely for other clan members to present their sons in trials of strength and other qualities, Merida can't find it in herself to even pretend to care.
As none of the men are impressing her, when the archery challenge occurs Merida steps up and walks past all the targets, hitting every single one perfectly; she wants to prove to her mother that she doesn’t need a husband, and can do everything by herself.
This argument continues from the grounds of the festival to Merida’s quarters, where the Queen throws her daughter’s bow into the fire; the one she’s had since she was a child.
Merida has had enough. She flees on her horse, Angus, and makes for the forest in order to get away from her mother. There, she meets someone she will come to wish she hadn’t…
A witch offers a life-changing wish and Merida jumps at the opportunity. The next day, Merida sees that her wish has caused a change in her mother, but not in the way she’d hoped.
The Queen has been turned into a bear. Yes, a bear; and Merida must work with her now beastly mother to turn her back to normal before time runs out.
This is where the film really shows how much heart it has; as the Queen is now a bear, she has no choice but to listen to her child and hear her concerns and hopes for the future, as opposed to shutting her down and not letting her live her own life.
As expected from a Disney/Pixar film, it looks stunning. The beautiful forest and streams are a perfect setting for Merida to prove her independence and headstrong personality to her mother.
They bond like they’ve never done before; Merida shows her mother how to hunt and catch fish, and they both have a wonderful time together, with no forced marriages or concerns about Merida’s less-than-feminine approach to that very subject.
This exceptional story proves that sometimes, you and your parents, or you and your kids, won’t always see eye-to-eye, but that an alternate perspective is all that's needed to smooth things over.
The tale wouldn’t be complete without some clumsy comedy, though. The Queen takes being a bear rather badly as you’d expect, but seeing her get to grips with walking on all fours and falling over again and again trying to catch fish is simply a laugh-a-minute.
Brave is an excellent film that, unlike many other Disney princess films, doesn’t focus on a guy saving the girl. That’s fine of course, but this film definitely sticks out above the rest as it focuses on family and how important it is; that’s what makes this Disney tale our Film of the Week.
Brave brings such joy and has a wonderful, strong and gifted main character whose fiery red hair is just as feisty as she is. It’s a wonderful film to watch with the whole family, or by yourself; either way, it’s a delightful story worth watching again and again.
Written by Melissa, who you can follow on Twitter @melissajournal
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