Brave – A Disney Movie for Moms

I took my 6-year-old daughter to see Brave last week. But because this movie turned out to be more for me than her, let’s say she took me.

I enjoy Disney movies for the most part. I think there are some positive messages. I enjoy the music. But the one thing that gets me in most of the Disney movies is that in order for the heroine to be happy, she must do one or two of the following things:

  • Fall in love and live happily ever after.
  • Run away from home and defy her parents (usually one parent as the girls come from single parent homes more often than not).

I much prefer the message of Princess Smartypants. I wish someone would turn that book into a movie. But I digress.

Don’t get me wrong. I am a hopeless romantic. I love the idea of falling in love and marriage. I love being married and being in love. But being in love or being married is not the end-all, be-all.

What I really liked about Brave is that it was a very different love story. One between a mother and daughter.

As a mother to a little girl, I can say with 100% positivity that my relationship with Scooter has the ability to provide me with the greatest sense of fulfillment but also disappointment. Sometimes, it’s like looking in the mirror and I don’t like what I see. Within her, are all my hopes and dreams for myself. Every morsel I wish I had known, I want her to know so she can be better than me. That is a lot of pressure.

The daughter, Merida, rebels against her mother and runs away from three dopey suitors. The mother wants them to compete for Merida’s hand and for Merida to be the perfect princess. After fleeing and out of desperation, Merida consults with a witch who conjures up a spell to change the mother’s mind, to not force Merida to marry at all.

If you haven’s seen it, I won’t reveal any more details. But it is this spell which ultimately reunites Merida with her mother. Her mother finally accepts that Merida may choose her own path and she does not have to be exactly like her mother. In my mind, the title, Brave, refers to both women: Merida for standing up to her mother and father and; for the mother who ultimately goes against tradition by not forcing her daughter to marry one of sons of the three rival clans.

While I sat impressed, my daughter was terrified by the scary bear scenes.

Maybe I shouldn’t be so worried about the messages in the Disney movies because all my daughter got out of Brave was that bears are terrifying.