The minute I saw a preview for Brave, I knew I would love it. I was so excited to see a Scottish princess added to the Disney pantheon.
Brave is, at it's core, the story of a rebellious teenager with a free spirit at odds with her position as a princess. Marida questions her mother's plans to turn her into the perfect queen, especially when she is told that she will soon be betrothed. When she encounters a witch, Marida asks for a spell that will change her mother--and thereby change her own fate.
The most wonderful thing about this story is that it didn't feel the need to stay inside the usual Disney princess box. There's no shoe-horned in love story. In fact, it's more of a mother/daughter tale than anything else, and the relationship is so true to life and so easy to relate to. I was very, very impressed by the fact that Disney gave Marida two loving and supportive parents (though her father is a little more wacky).
If you look at Disney's other portrayals of rebellious teenagers, you'll notice that the movie usually takes the teenager's side. We all felt like Ariel's dad overreacted when he destroyed her collections. We sympathized wholeheartedly when Jasmine refused an arranged marriage and wanted some time outside the palace. And didn't Cinderella have every right to rebel? Well, this movie does something a little different. It shows both sides of the argument so that we see that neither Marida nor her mother are entirely in the wrong. Sure, I wanted Marida to be allowed her freedom and for her mother to listen to her. But I also felt the mother's pain when Marida took her defiance to a hurtful level. Teenage girls do that--I know, because I was one just a few years ago. They hurt their parents in an effort to break free, and only after the fact do they realize that loving mothers are the most valuable guide you have in your life. That is what this movie is about.
Marida is awesome, because she knows archery and horseback riding and rock climbing. In a dress. Seriously fantastic.
The movie itself is beautiful in appearance, with it's green landscapes and towering waterfalls. The music sets the tone with it's celtic melody and soft feminine voices. Of course, in true to form Disney style, they did seem to feel the need to throw every Scottish thing they could think of into this movie. Clydesdales. Names like Angus and Hamish. Stone circles. Kilts. Haggis. But it's a kid's movie, and it's all in good fun.
I recommend this movie to all Disney fans and fantasy fans. And Highland fans. But most especially, I'd recommend it to mothers and daughters, because it's such a touching portrayal of that relationship. Happy watching, everyone!