Were you among the hundreds of thousands of people who flocked to the theaters to see Disney*Pixar’s Brave this weekend? If so, you helped position it as the #1 movie of the week with a crazy gross of $66 million at the box office. We were certainly there because my girl was so impatient with expectation that we couldn’t wait any longer.
We were not disappointed at all and beyond excited that Disney and Pixar gave birth to such a strong and real heroine like Merida. The whole movie is based on the mother-daughter relationship between Princess Merida and Queen Elinor which has become tense and always a battle. Elinor has focused all of her attention in raising the perfect Princess, and in the process forgotten what her daughter’s wants are. Merida has become obsessed with going against her mother´s wishes because they are not her own. In the end, they both just want to be heard and accepted.
During an interview I got to participate in with Brave’s director, Mark Andrews, he shared with us that the storyline and characters were created by Brenda Chapman, who originally spearheaded the film. Mark told us that “it came out of her [Brenda Chapman] being a parent and her trials and tribulations with her daughter.” We wondered if such a female topic made it difficult for him to relate to, but Mark believes that “as a storyteller, it’s always about the universal relate ability of the story,” and creating characters that are strong, passionate, and a role model for children regardless of their gender.
Children like Mark Andrew’s own daughter who can now, in his words, “go into a movie and see Merida, another strong female character.”
While I was sitting in the theater watching Brave with an arm around my girl, I could definitely relate to the power struggles between mother and daughter and to those outrage moments I call a Mamá Meltdown which can leave a mark. The scene in which Elinor throws Merida’s arc into the fire in a moment of impotence and rage, followed by a realization of the intensity of what she had done, was so well executed that I could feel her emotions as mine. Why? Because I’ve been there. It’s relatable.
Mark Andrew’s reminded us that those moments in the movie are for fathers and boys as well, because “this story’s about a parent and a child. I’m a dad, right? I have children, I was a child. So I can relate to all of it. And it’s those moments that I want to try and create in the story, so that anybody watching this will go, ‘I get it.’ You know, I went right through that same, same thing, you know. I went through that same process, that same arc.”
And that’s what parents will find in Brave: a high action and emotion-packed film with much to relate to.
Will your child be scared? Not any more than with any other Princess and witches Disney movie. It will, though, evoke strong feelings in her that will certainly bring up discussions that you want to be ready to listen to, lest be turned into a bear!
Let me know in the comments: Have you and your kids seen Brave? What was your reaction to it?