Movie Reviews- Brave

We were able to head out with my 4 year old daughter’s clique of girls (she’s so much cooler than me and she’s four.  Just saying.) for a mother-daughter date night.  We had some delicious baba ganouj in the mall food court and then headed over to AMC 14 Potomac Mills.

We keep it classy.

Image Credit:

So, Brave.  (Spoiler alert- just as a general warning, I’m not great at knowing what people consider to be a spoiler, so don’t read this if you’re going to be ticked off I gave something away!)

Brave is the story of a family at the head of four Irish (Edit: Just had someone email me to clarify they are Scottish) clans.  The well-mannered and traditional queen and red-haired arrow-slinging daughter are at the center of a coming of age story that any of you who have a 13 year old, or ever were a 13 year old will probably understand.  Mom wants daughter to follow a pre-determined path, daughter thinks she knows better and wants to live her own way, arguments ensue.  Where the turn takes a decidedly fairy-tale twist is when daughter Merida follows a trail of will o’the wisps to a witch who offers her a spell to “change her mother”.

Plot twist! It changes momma dearest into a bear, which daddy loves to hunt, and Merida and her mom have 48 hours to change her back or she’ll be stuck as a bear forever.

What I loved about this movie was the message that even when you and your mom disagree (and/or you have her cursed to turn into a wild animal), she still loves you and will protect and defend you with her life if she has to.  I also loved that Merida realizes that she can be herself without completely alienating her mom, and her mom realizes that Merida can be herself without being a complete disappointment.

What you might not love about this movie is that there is a lot of fighting.  These Irish clans have some serious anger management issues and there is some punching and brawling.  There are references to drinking (“let’s go to the wine cellar and open the king’s private reserves) and there is some inferred nudity (old men flashing what’s under their kilts- you don’t see anything, obviously). The main protagonist is a giant monster-bear hybrid and he has a few old arrows hanging out of him in addition to enjoying attacking people.  Our three 4 year old girls did just fine with it, although there was one scene where my daughter crawled up in my lap, but she got back down 20 seconds of intense action later.  All of the girls loved it and to the best of my knowledge, there were no nightmares or monsters in the closest when we got home.

I also loved that while we went on a girls night, this is a princess movie you could definitely take the boys to.  There’s enough horseback riding, arrow shooting, monster hunting to keep even a manly-man pretty satisfied.

One other note, there is a death scene where the monster bear is killed by a falling rock.  Much like the Lion King death scenes, it’s done off-screen.  You see a rock start to fall and then see a clenched fist that opens.  Even with all the shooting and punching there is no blood.

This is definitely not a traditional princess movie, but I rather enjoyed it, and our group of girls all seemed to, too! Both girls in the car on my drive home gave it two-thumbs up.