Sunday, June 24, 2012

Movie Review: Brave (2012) [PG]

"Our fate lies within us.  You only have to be brave enough to see it."

Love the final quote of Brave.  There will be some spoilers in my review, so if you don't want to know what happens, please don't read any further.  I am also writing this review from my own Christian beliefs, so that will be reflected as well.  There were parts of the movie I liked, and parts I didn't.  I am just going to make a fun little list that will make it easy and simple to sift through.  Okay?

What I liked:

I liked that the animators for Brave chose a female character for the lead.  Merida  is a fiery young girl, with flowing red hair, who doesn't want to have her path chosen for her and be a princess, but would rather choose her own path. She is energetic, brave, and skilled in archery

 I liked the setting.  The setting is in Scotland and the animated scenery is breathtaking and beautiful. 

I liked the family chaos.  There is a mother and father who are the king and queen, Merida who is the oldest, and three little boys who appear to be triplets.  The boys are a little mischievous, which is sort of cute and very realistic. 

The soundtrack is gorgeous.  I might buy it and listen to it.  I need to check out some of the song lyrics first.

I liked the some degree.  There is a conflict between mother and daughter, which is not unusual for Disney. It is about a young girl longing to find her way and be who she was meant to become.  Merida is very brave. (Conflict between a mother and daughter is not always a good thing, but it does have a happy resolution in this case.)

 What I didn't like:

 I didn't like the mysticism in the movie.  There are these little things Merida occasionally follows which always get her into trouble called will-o'-the-wisps.  They "lead" her into bad stuff.

I didn't like the witchcraft.  They made the witch kind of gnarly, which is good, but she was funny, which made her appealing, which I didn't think was so good.  Merida is led to the witch and decides to employ the witch to help cast a spell on her mother to change her mother's mind about her fate.

Brave is a little too scary for little kids.  There was a little girl behind me who became frightened frequently and hid her eyes.  The bears are very vicious and large.  I even jumped at one point during the movie.

There was a lot of talk about destiny and fate which is common among secular movies.  They are all referring to something they cannot see, but lies within the heart of everybody, because God has a plan for us all.

A few final thoughts....

Although I didn't like the witchcraft in the movie, it did have very severe repercussions for Merida and backfired on her, which taught a lesson.  I am not sure of the age of Merida, but she is old enough to be given in marriage, but still a young I didn't know how this would be appealing to little children, even though it is a cartoon.   There are also other elements to the movie which I didn't really go into surrounding a curse and the kingdom.
Brave was unlike anything Pixar has done up to this point.  I have enjoyed a lot of their movies in the past, as have my children.  I probably won't let my children watch this one for a while.  It is a little too dark and scary and I want to be certain they understand when I explain to them about spiritual things of this nature.   If you are a believer, and you want to teach your children from a Christian point of view, then Brave will lend itself to some lessons for you.  The quote I began my post with was a final quote in the movie, which I thought was brilliant and very scriptural for the believer.

 If you want to read a more in depth review of the movie, go to or

For another perspective on the movie Brave, please check out my friend Heather's post here at Upside Down Homeschooling.

Have you seen the movie?  What are your thoughts?


  1. Beth,
    Although I see many of your points regarding this movie, I also see many meanings beyond what you posted. I would also like to preface the remainder of this by stating that I burst into such a deep emotional sobbing at the point at which her, as the bear, runs away into the forest to escape her own possible fate.
    Now, the deep meaning of a mother thinking that she is doing right by her child and submitting to tradition goes way back in history, but as with most mothers she eventually sees that her daughter's strong will, bestowed upon her by her own mother, is like that of her instinct to protect her child as that of a mother bear (symbolism). The protection mode in the mother is transferred by nature to her child as she shows that when telling the father "don't hurt my mother" as he wields his sword. At that moment, the love of a mother outweighs any pain she may cause on her child due to unconditional love reciprocated, and shown in it's full depth. Merida and the witch were needed to show how outside influences can hinder and breakdown a deep love even of that in a mother and child. It was less about witchcraft and more about those attachments and bonds that could be easily broken just by believing that things arent worth our efforts anymore. Our lives are only restored with faith, and that our choices impact the lives of others in sometimes negative ways, and in many situations, that results in a path so horrific (the ferocious bear living in darkness and sadness) it results in the death of a human life.
    Beth, I could go on for days, since no "kid" movie has ever impacted me so deeply that I felt it merited a blog post.

  2. Thanks for your comments Monica. And I agree with you. If you look back at the bottom of my post you will see a link to a review by my friend Heather at Upside Down Homeschooling. I think you will enjoy it very much.

    As a parent of small children, I look at each of the specific elements of a movie. While there were many lessons in this movie, there were some elements that gave me pause as far as what my own children should be allowed to see. You and I as adults can look back and see the positive themes and lessons that can be learned. But small eyes may see differently than we do, and I thought I would just share with parents what their children would be seeing when they viewed the movie.