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Brave - The First Female Pixar Heroine

Reviews
by Melissa Silverstein
June 21, 2012 1:54 PM
10 Comments
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brave

The first time you see Merida's red curly hair flowing in the wind as she rides atop her horse going full speed at the beginning of Brave you immediately know that this is not your typical Pixar film.

And to that I say Hallelujah.  Not that I have anything against Toy Story or Cars.  But it's seriously about time that our friends at Pixar have gotten around to creating a film with a strong girl at the center.

Hopes were very high for this film, probably too high, as the trailers have portrayed Merida as a perfect heroine for our time -- a girl who fights stereotypes, shoots arrows (interestingly, this is the second film this year with a strong girl with archery skills) -- mixed with a dose of spunk and fun.  The character does live up to expectations though I have to admit that the story went off on an unexpected course that was at first jarring, and now with reflection, I realize the twist is kind of brilliant.

Merida (voiced by Kelly Macdonald) is a princess who needs to marry to keep the kingdom stable.  Her mother (voiced by Emma Thompson) is doing her best to reign in her spirit and prepare her for her princess responsibilities.  But, Merida wants none of it.  She doesn't want to and is clearly not ready get married.  She doesn't want the responsibilities attached to her title, and most especially, she does not want to become her mother.  In her mother she sees a woman besieged with responsibilities who cares more about the kingdom than her own daughter's happiness.   She makes her feelings clear and deeply hurts her mother.

(SPOILERS AHEAD)

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10 Comments

  • riksworld | June 29, 2012 8:27 AMReply

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  • Kat | June 29, 2012 8:00 AMReply

    "Instead of growing up and becoming independant"

    She's a child, and she's living in a clan in medieval times. Hello? Clans live all together. There is nothing wrong with being independant in a small way, knowing when to fight and when to let something go.

    There is nothing wrong with being a character who lives with her parents. She's an amazing role model for all people.

  • Jacki Zehner | June 23, 2012 3:33 PMReply

    Thanks for the great review. I cannot wait to see it with the whole family. Finally a PIXAR movie where the lead character is a GIRL!!! It took long enough. Let's hope it does GREAT and they will learn something. Could Wonder Woman be next?

  • Bes | June 23, 2012 12:40 PMReply

    Oh WOW! There is a mother in the movie! I am also pretty sick of the Disney dead mother genre. Can't wait to see it but can't fit it in until next week.

  • cindy | June 23, 2012 1:00 AMReply

    I never ever go to the theater to see animated films...but this looks kind of cool. Just the wild red hair and the character alone seem interesting.

  • Becbec | June 22, 2012 2:34 PMReply

    I saw "Brave" today and I loved it! I didn't know I would like it as much as I did but my boyfriend was the one who wanted to see it more than I did! I found it to be one of the best mother-daughter stories I have ever seen. I cried, I laughed and I am going to see it again with a bunch of friends soon. I made sure to see it opening wknd (I actually saw the very first screening of today, Friday) thanks to Women & Hollywood for reminding us that if we want more movies about women & girl then we have to get out and support them early!

  • Carmen | June 22, 2012 10:39 AMReply

    The first time I heard about this film on IndieWire, the writer basically positioned this film as worthless & the worst possible project released by Pixar because of it's girl-centered story line. Thanks to your article, I have another perspective. Although, I'm less than thrilled that this film is about a "princess," your article has persuaded me that this is a Pixar film to watch because of a good story line we don't get to see often in animated films: the tumultuous mother-daughter relationship. Oh, and wanting to play with bows and arrows doesn't mean we want to be boys, it means we want to play with bows and arrows.

  • Signe | June 21, 2012 11:16 PMReply

    "Brave" was more about Mom than about the girl. The end of the story was truly disappointing - instead of growing up and becoming her own independent person, Merida stays with her parents. Is this what children in 2012 are expecting to do? NOT a good role model, not at all.

  • Bes | June 21, 2012 3:38 PMReply

    "Merida is a great character because she is an awesome role model who speaks her mind and fights for her beliefs. She does it fully clothed and doesn't need a guy to save her"

    And she didn't get her strength and life purpose via violent sexual abuse Sucker Punch and Girl With the Dragon Tattoo style. That male guilt genre pisses me off. I can't wait to see Brave.

  • James | June 21, 2012 3:13 PMReply

    I'm very excited about this one, glad to hear you loved it!

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