I saw Brave last week with my mother, sister, son, two nieces, and nephew. It was a fairly wild crew, but fun. Much like Merida’s family in Brave, we all have our moments.
I’ve actually read mixed reviews of the movie, which surprised me. I think people have come to have such an exalted view of Pixar that nothing but perfection will do for some. I loved Brave. Was it perfect? Probably not, but I’m having a hard time pin-pointing things I didn’t like. The plot was compelling, the characters—particularly Merida and Elinor—were relatable, and it was technically brilliant.
So, without further ado, here are Five Things I Love about Brave:
- The hair. Call me shallow, but I’m a curly girl. I’ve had curls sprouting from my head since I was a baby. Not tame, soft curls. We’re talking mane-like thick curls with a mind of their own. Straightening works… oh, for about three hours (yes, professional straightening) so I don’t bother. And really, I don’t want to. These curls have become a signature that I love, so I’m very happy to say that FOR ONCE, a princess does not have luxurious softly waving tresses. Merida has HAIR. Bless those curls.
- The setting. Ah, Scotland. The movie is visually arresting partly because of the wild setting the Scottish highlands are. It’s gorgeous. If you’re a person who debates seeing things on the big screen or waiting for the DVD, take my advice, see this one in the theater. You’ll be glad you did with all that scenery.
- The family. Like most Pixar films, this movie has family plastered all over it. No character exists in a vacuum, especially not Merida. She has a clan of loving and diverse people around her. None of them are perfect, but they love each other anyway. The relationship between Merida and her mother, Elinor is spot on and captures the particular tension that exists between mothers and their daughters on the verge of adulthood. Well done there, writers!
- No romance. For you die-hard romantics out there, you may be a little disappointed, but I don’t think so. It’s refreshing to see a female protagonist in a children’s movie not end up with a suitor at the end. Frankly, it’s become commonplace to insert romance into movies aimed at all ages and it doesn’t need to be. I love romance. I write romance! But it doesn’t need to be in everything, and it was refreshing to watch a story about a teenage girl that didn’t focus on her love life.
- Merida! She was… a brat. She was bold. She was reckless and passionate and fearless and real. She was a girl who started the movie in one place that often (from an adult perspective) made me roll my eyes, and she ended the movie in a different place. She grew and matured through her adventures. She was forced to see the consequences of her actions and view her world in a broader context than she had before. And growing that way is brave.
On a kid note, every one of them was riveted. Don’t tell me that little boys don’t like movies with female protagonists, they love them if the characters are more than cut-out princesses who take up space on the screen and twirl. Go. Take the kids. Take the husband for a date night. Pixar makes family films, so everyone in the family will enjoy this one.
And if you have curly hair, wear it bravely.
P.S. I’ve posted the new cover and synopsis for the first short story in my new series, Cambio Springs, here if you want to take a look. The short should be out at the end of this month if all goes according to plan.