Brave: Not Your Mother’s Disney Princess

Me in Scotland in 2010

I was eagerly anticipating this weekend’s release of Pixar’s Brave. For one thing, what kind of person doesn’t love Pixar films (except for Cars 2)? Not to mention the fact that I lived in Scotland for a year and I’m a bit of Celt-o-phile. I was mostly excited because this is the first Pixar film to feature a female protagonist. Not only that, this princess is not searching for Prince Charming, she is actively trying to avoid him. Princess Merida loves archery and horseback riding. She’s not a fan of restrictive clothing, doesn’t want to be forced into marriage and her wild, ginger hair does what it wants.

Four-year-old Elizabeth, a young fan waiting to see Brave

Brave may not be the very best of Pixar’s films. Up and Toy Story 3 surpass it in terms of storytelling craftsmanship, but Brave is a solid effort. More importantly, it’s a story about strong women. A few months ago Mira Veda wrote a commentary about the Disney princesses and the subtle messages those characters give young girls. This film bucks that trend. Being rescued by a prince isn’t necessary if the princess can take care of herself. The central narrative focuses on the archetypal mother-daughter relationship between Merida and her mother. It’s a funny and touching film and girls of all ages should see it. If you can, go with your mom.