Capsule Movie Review – Brave (2012)
by HELEN GEIB
Brave advocates for female succession and women in the military and against arranged marriage. With the global reach of Pixar’s films, it will undoubtedly be seen in many areas of the world where those battles are ongoing. In its home country, its strongest feminist statement is more subtle, made as much by the pairing of audience and story as by the story in itself: a mass-market animated family film that is a girl’s coming-of-age story, where the central storyline is the growing pains in her relationship with her mother and the only romance is her parents’ marriage. The setting is a children’s fantasy version of Scotland. We know it’s Scotland because some of the characters have Scottish accents and/or names and there are tartans, will o’ the wisps, and a quite fine ring of standing stones. There’s also a deal of ethnic humor; the lazy comedy writing continues in the kid-friendly antics of heroine Merida’s little brothers, undifferentiated triplets running circles around hapless adults. All ages will enjoy the comedy arising from those universal, eminently relatable growing pains, and the relationship drama is sure-footed. Kelly Macdonald as Merida, Emma Thompson as the mom, and Billy Connolly as the dad are the principal and most noteworthy voices in the cast. The fantasy and quasi-historical visuals are rendered in remarkably realistic detail; Merida’s exuberant red hair is a marvel.
Double Feature It With…: Labyrinth for an evening of family-friendly fantasies counseling girls to be careful what they wish for