Rated: PG

Distributed By:

Walt Disney

Directed by:

Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman (The Prince of Egypt) and Steve Purcell

Starring:

Voices of Kelly Macdonald as Merida; Emma Thompson as Elinor; Billy Connolly as Fergus

Adapted From:

Plugged In Online

Brave

Snow White's stepmother wanted to kill her. Cinderella's wanted to lock her up. And Princess Merida? Her mother wants her to be a bride.

Every day, Elinor trains Merida in the finer points of ladyship: how to stand, how to eat, how to talk, how to walk. "A princess strives for, well, perfection," Elinor says. And only perfection is good enough. With each new rule, Merida feels as if her life's not her own. When she finds out she’ll be forced to marry the winner of an archery contest, she decides that enough is enough.

Merida competes for her own hand and wins, enraging the men and infuriating the queen. But Merida's not done. Back at the castle, she slices through the family tapestry—literally cutting her mother out of her life.

"You're a beast!" Merida shouts. "I'd rather die than be like you!"

The argument grows uglier, and Merida flees from the castle. She finds herself in the cottage of an old, mysterious witch. The heartbroken princess makes a magical deal. "Change my mom," Merida says. "That will change my fate."

Merida and Elinor’s difficult relationship lies at the heart of Brave. We see a mom's need to prepare her kids for the real world, and a daughter's desire to make her own choices. There are no villains here: only two strong, caring women who, in spite of their differences, love each other very much.

The film is set in pre-Christian Scotland, in the days of the druids. Dark magic rules this world; a mysterious, dangerous force.

Continuing a recent trend, we see several shots of partial nakedness played up for humor.

The lords fight against fearsome bears, which may scare young children. But usually, the lords are too busy fighting each other. In a slapstick scene, we see them hit, bite, kick and poke before being dragged away by the ears.

We've come to expect a lot from Pixar. The studio has dazzled us with some of the finest, most family-friendly movies ever. Brave doesn’t quite live up to Pixar’s best work, but the animation is amazing and the lessons learned by both mother and daughter are more than magical: they're inspiring.

Copyright © 2012 by Focus on the Family. Used by permission. Clubhousemagazine.com