Movie Review: Brave

Celebrating Women’s Rights through “Brave”

Movie Review: Brave

   “Brave” is an animated Disney movie released in 2012. The movie is set in 10th century Scotland. Merida, the main character, is a young princess who grows up with many expectations placed on her. They all relate to the idea that she is a woman of higher status, and this means she makes little decisions on her own about her life. Also, I will be discussing the movie’s relevance to women and women’s rights to celebrate Women’s History Month.


    She starts off by reflecting on her responsibilities and waiting for the day she can change her fate. However, this is challenged when her mother announces that other clans will offer up their sons to compete in games for Merida’s hand in marriage. She is upset with this because she has no choice about who she wants to marry, and she’s very unprepared.


   Merida and her mother don’t see eye to eye. They both want to make each other understand their point of view but don’t think the other person is willing to listen.


   Merida gets to choose the competition, so she decides on archery, a passion of her own. However, after all three sons have gone, she decides to compete for her own hand. Her mother continually tells her to stop, but she hits several targets right in the middle. 


   Afterward, Merida and her mother argue again. Merida opens up that she doesn’t want to be like her mother, and she tears a tapestry, separating her mother from the rest of the family. Her mother burns her bow, but after she’s left, she quickly pulls it out of the fire in regret.


    Merida is led to a witch, and she buys her wood carvings and a spell by giving away her necklace. Merida wants a spell to change her mother, which will in turn change her fate, or so she thinks. 


   Merida gives it to her by putting it in food. Unexpectedly, it turns her mother into a bear. They have to hide that she is a bear from everyone in the castle. They go back to see the witch to see if she can fix it. 


   She reveals that the spell will be permanent unless Merida can mend the bond between her and her mother. They spend time together, and Merida follows her into the woods. But her mother almost attacks her as she begins to fully change into a bear.


   They stumble onto an abandoned castle that reminds them of an earlier tale that her mother told her about. Merida finds out that the spell has happened before because there’s a split on a wall depicting a family, just like the split in the tapestry Merida made.  


   Merida realizes they must go back to the castle and fix the tapestry before it’s too late. Additionally, they see all the men about to fight when they return, meaning they must hurry without being seen. 


   Merida brings them together, understanding what her mom was trying to teach her. She knows she caused the rift. Her mother encourages her to say that she will be breaking tradition, and she will only marry for love, which the other kingdoms agree with.


   They have seen eye to eye, and they end up trying to fix the tapestry. But then her dad finds the bear, trying to kill her. They hunt her, but Merida aims a bow at her own father to protect her mom. 


   Her mother saves her from a different bear from legends. They watch as she hugs her mother and cries, admitting she wants her back. 


   The tapestry was stitched, and her mother turns back into a human. Her mother says they’ve both changed, marking the end of the movie.


   It’s a sweet movie, and Merida’s character is very important. She fought against tradition that was placed upon her for being a woman. She gains more autonomy through her own decisions. To connect this movie back to Women’s History Month, which we celebrate every March, “Brave” is a movie with a strong female protagonist that young girls can look up to and relate to.


   I think that this movie holds up pretty well even for its older age because the story is simple but conveys the message well. It has magic and fairytale elements, which makes it more of an exciting adventure. The visuals are also beautiful, as is the standard for Disney.


   It stands out to me because Disney seems to have made their movies more musical in recent times, where the main character has at least one musical sequence if not multiple. “Brave”, however, does not, making it stand out more. 


   Merida’s character even stands out for being so defiant of the standard for princesses. Though marriage mostly isn’t a concern for most young girls in America these days, it’s nice to see a womana Disney princess at thatfight for her own freedom. I would recommend checking out this movie for its sweet lessons and strong female protagonist to celebrate Women’s History Month.