In 2012, Disney, or better, Pixar released Brave and I can’t even explain how excited I am about finally watching this movie. Every time I saw stuff about this on tumblr, it made me really curious and it looked amazing so here I am, finally watching Brave. Yay.
The movie starts with shots of nature, there are lots of trees and mountains. As we get closer, tents are visible and a woman is looking for a little girl that is hiding under the table. The girl has red, unruly curly hair and we learn that it’s her birthday. A big guy, who turns out to be her father, appears, leaves his bow on the table and Merida, that’s the girl’s name, gets frantic. She wants to shoot the bow but her father one up’s her and gives her her own bow.
Happy as a clam, Merida goes to shoot her own bow. Her mother tries to argue that she’s a lady and doesn’t need to shoot bows and such but her father thinks it’s NBD and continues teaching his daughter.
When Merida has to fetch her arrow from where it landed in the woods, she encounters a blue light thingy that makes sighing noises. It’s a will-o’-the-wisp and Merida follows the lights out of the woods to tell her mother about them. Her mother explains those wisps lead the people to their fates.
Then there is a bear attacking the people, Merida’s father starts fighting it while she and her mother run away as fast as they can.
Title cards that lead to an older Merida filling in the blanks of what happened since we last saw her. She grew up a bit, her father lost a leg, she got three younger brothers and is now considered a princess which is why her mother keeps teaching her all the womanly things Merida doesn’t give any fucks about.
Every once in a while, Merida gets time off from her mother’s teaching. It’s when she takes her horse, Angus, to the woods for target practice and just being herself.
When she gets home that night, she sweeps in when her father is telling his sons about the time he lost his leg to the bear. A servant enters with three letters. As it turns out, it’s time for Merida to be betrothed by one of the other clan’s first-born. Of course Merida throws a temper tantrum about that because it’s a stupid archaic thing and she isn’t ready to marry yet and maybe never will be.
Merida storm soff to fight her bedposts with a sword. They look as if she has done this many times before. Her mother comes in to talk to her about it and tells her the story of the clans and all that jazz. It doesn’t make things any better.
Next up, we get a scene where the father tries to quiet down his wife. We see the argument play out between Merida and her mother but it’s cut from one to the other as the mother is arguing with her husband who is pretending to me Merida and Merida is venting to Angus. It’s a very nice scene.
Ships are arriving with people from the three other clans. Ho boy, those guys don’t look good, poor Merida. Oh well, the guys we saw so far aren’t the suitors but the real suitors don’t look much better. Just meh.
Like any good clans folk, the guys all fight for a while until Merida’s mother breaks it all up. Merida has to choose a subject for the highland games and she chooses archery, to nobody’s surprise.
At the games, Merida and her father make fun of the guys for being terrible at archery. Before, she has made a fuss about the dress her mother has put her in because she can’t move and all that. When all the guys are through, Merida appears and shoots for herself in order to win her own hand and so defy the archaic custom of being betrothed. Of course she is a much better shot than any of the guys and her mother is not happy at all.
Back in the castle, mother and daughter fight which ends with the mother burning Merida’s bow. Ouch, that was harsh, so Merida runs away.
As soon as Merida leaves, her mother realises what she did but it’s already too late. Merida rides through the woods, not knowing where she is going until Angus throws her off and into a stone circle. The horse seems very afraid of getting in there. Merida encounter more wisps who ultimately lead her to a cottage in the woods.
In it, she finds an old lady who makes wood carvings and such. But the old woman is also a witch which is perfect in Merida’s eyes as she needs a spell to change her mother because that the will change her fate. I’m sure it won’t be that easy but okay.
The witch is reluctant but when Merida offers her necklace, she agrees to make a thing with a spell. The witch hands her a cake which Merida offers her mother.
She eats it but soon after gets sick AND THEN TURNS HER INTO A MOTHER EFFING BEAR! Yep, that’s a thing that is happening. Merida keeps insisting it’s the witch’s fault, oh silly girl.
Merida takes her mother out of the castle because her father, the bear king, heard a bear and was looking for it. And also, she wants to make her mother turn back again. When she finds the cottage, it’s empty except for a cauldron from which she learns that the spell will stay permanent after two sunrises if she doesn’t mend that thread that was torn by pride or something like that. Merida isn’t sure what it means at first.
The two of them spend a night by the cottage and her Bear!Mother tries to make breakfast the next morning. Knowing next to nothing about serving in the wilderness, she makes a lot of mistakes and Merida has to teach her a thing or two. You can actually see them bonding and it’s nice.
The thing is though, the mother turns more into a bear and it frightens Merida. They see wisps again, this time leading to a torn place. Merida recognises the symbol as one of the witches other customers, who also wanted to change his fate. As it turns out, the guy is still there and he is also a bear but a mean one. Bear!Mother saves her daughter and ouff.
Merida draws parallels to her own life and gets an idea about what to do to mend this all back. She tore the tapestry her mother made and now Merida thinks that’s what she has to mend for her mother to morph back into a human. Off to the castle they go.
In the castle, she comes across her father and suitors and Merida holds an inspired speech. With the blessing from her Bear!Mother, she says they will break tradition and Merida isn’t going to marry any of the suitors. You can tell the mother being proud, especially when she hears Merida recap what she told her daughter a while ago about the archaic ritual and all. Maybe hope isn’t fully lost just yet.
Not everything is peaches though just yet. The father encounters the bear and doesn’t listen to Merida about it being his wife. Instead he hunts her down. Also, the brothers helped themselves to the rest of the cake and are now also bears.
Merida rushes to get the tapestry and tries mending it while following the angry mob. As if that isn’t bad enough already, the mean bear gets in there as well and Bear!Mother fights him off and eventually kills him. But when the sun comes up, and the tapestry is sewn back together, the mother still hasn’t turned back into a human and Merida breaks. She cries her heart out and actually, finally, says the right words about her mother always being there for her, loving her and this whole thing being Merida’s fault. It does the trick and turns the mother back. Everyone is relieved.
You can tell that both have learned a lot from this, mother and daughter. So the clans leave and Merida is still unmarried but that doesn’t matter. Instead, she and her mother go off on horseback into the woods and have a good time.
I really, really loved this movie! It was everything I hoped for and more. I really loved that it wasn’t just Merida or just the mother who changed but both and they grew closer together because of it. And I love that Merida didn’t marry, she didn’t have to chose any of the idiots presented and there wasn’t even any love interest there, not really. That’s a lot for Disney.
Merida is such a tomboy and I freaking love this movie. God, from all Disney movies, I think this is the best one from a feministic point of view because Merida is so strong and amazing. She can take care of herself.