"Brave" (2012/rated PG): Before we went to see this movie, I had no idea where its title came from. I just assumed that the fire-haired arrow-shooting princess Merida (pronounced "MERRY-dah"), would be a warrior who shatters the often-maligned Disney princess mold. The plot soon revealed Merida to be a teenage princess who was still an adept archer but not a soldier of any sort. Instead, Merida was engaged in the age-old battle-of-wills that so many princesses throughout history have had with their moms. Still, in the back of my mind I wondered what the point of that title was.
Then, after an emotional reunion with her mom where they both realize they were misunderstanding each other throughout the whole movie, Merida narrates the lines I quoted above just before the credits roll.
Brave. Here I thought it was going to mean she was a fighter, like Mulan. But no. It means she fought, not with a weapon, but for what she believes in.Her values, her desired fate, her future. She didn't want to be betrothed to someone. Her mom insisted that's what princesses do. After an encounter with a witch and a scary bear, turns out princesses don't have to do it that way.
I wanted to bring Peanut to this movie because of her current fascination with princesses, since Merida is brave and strong. My suspicions were right. Merida is a wonderful role model who, while she has issues with her mom, takes a stand for her family. Her love for them is evident throughout, even when they are in conflict. Oh, added bonus: Merida is a princess who has two parents throughout the entire film too.
Disney and Pixar outdid themselves with the animation and the message. And even though Peanut was afraid of the mean bear, I would recommend this movie to children her age. A little warning: there is a bit of nudity. Yes, nudity. Some quick, humorous mooning. And there is a bit of violence. (Thus, the PG rating.) Overall, the film has some funny and heartwarming moments. And the end gave me goose bumps, made My Director cry, and left Peanut smiling and clapping. It's also a great mother-daughter movie.
Brave gets three very enthusiastic thumbs up from the DKL family.
For more on Peanut's princess fascination, click here to see which ones we tracked down on our Disney adventure.