Can “Brave-ry” be Over the Top?


The “wee bairn” Merida, is a Scottish medieval princess who is irresistible as a tyke, romping with her parents, yet sadly morphs into a Disney-esque stubborn, roughneck runaway teen who wants to remake her queenly and gracious mother Elinor.

Rejecting the ridiculous suitors, that according to clan tradition, she must choose from, Merida flees into the woods on her gigantic horse, shooting arrows from her bow as a cowboy would shoot rounds into the air.

I was frustrated with the triteness of the plot and the heavy-handed feminism until Merida’s wishes come true and she finds a way to change Mom. Then, things got interesting, and a bit less dogmatic.

Brave is a traditional fairy tale story, with dark woods, wisps, and witches, crafted with a Tangled-like modern edge. But Merida is  missing Rapunzel’s charming blend of boldness and vulnerability. She’s too bristly and brash to be likeable, even if she is a redhead. Bravery as a character trait is overplayed and ends as a tragic flaw.

Perhaps Merida’s willowy, tender mother, Elinor is the truly brave character.

Interesting discussions will ensue between mothers and teenage daughters who see this together, and for this I thank Pixar. You don’t have to condescend to women, since we can enjoy wearing our dresses and riding horseback — just not at the same time. Dramatic highland scenery, and a fair-to-middling soundtrack don’t make up for the fact that there is not one decent-looking man in the film who is sober and can shoot straight. Merida’s father Fergus is given shabby treatment as a boorish oaf, but the man-bashing is rescued by a good-natured parody of Braveheart. Sorry, Mel, you had it coming!

It might not be for under age seven set. They have higher standards for princesses and those are some terrifying bears! They might want to wait till it comes out on DVD.

Hyperactive little brothers add a few welcome moments of levity in a somewhat dark film with an acceptable ‘lesson’. But it “coulda had a wee bit more class, than to show the cleavage on the servant woman, ya know what ay mean?”


About Author

Married for 19 years to Francisco, raising three daughters, Gabriela, 17, Isabella, 13 and Christina, 9. It was Christina's Down syndrome inspired Leticia to stop teaching English at a local college to full time freelance writing and media advocacy for children with Down syndrome You can find her work all over the web, and in print in National Catholic Register, Canticle, The Alhambran, National Right to Life News, Celebrate Life, and Faith and Family magazine. Leticia has been a guest on several radio shows and podcasts. She was recently interviewed about her advocacy group KIDS Keep Infants with Down Syndrome on EWTN by Teresa Tomeo at the March for Life and she will be appearing as a guest on their show, "Faith and Culture" shortly. She has contributed stories to "Stories for the Homeschool Heart", "Letters to Priests" and, is about to publish a collection of stories from Catholic Special Need Parents entitled, "A Special Mother is Born" with WestBow Press this spring. She is a popular speaker on family issues and the spiritual life.