Brave: A Flickcharter’s Review

Travis McClain

Bats: R, Throws: R. How Acquired: Traded for a player to be named later. I hold a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Louisville, earned in history. I have lived with Crohn's disease since 2005, and chronic depression since my youth. I bring into each film that I view a world view shaped by those and other parts of my background. I try to be mindful of the socio-political themes and implications of movies, intended or otherwise, and that surely shows in my blog pieces. I also love doughnuts.

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4 Responses

  1. I very much liked your thorough, honest review. I as seen only the previews before Marvel’s Avengers began on screen. Thought it was a kitschy, cute coming of age story of a girl exerting her independence from years of family tradition. I am enlightened by your review, on the depths of family complexities and raw honesty of such a complex nature. Also, I am taken aback by the statement of violent fight scenes, although realistic seem very much the opposite of slapstick comedy, which I understand is needed to allow parents, the growing age of Toy Story 3 fans, to enjoy and engage in, as well as keeping the cartooned nature to somewhat keep the little ones happy. The interesting note to me, is that it is distinctly over their heads. (The younger of our generation, Cars adoring audience). It is nice to see, that there is a family generated picture devoted to the adolescent and teen generations verging the end of childlike nature, and something fitting to fill the gap. This sounds like a lovely fit. The distinction between PG and G ratings should definitely come to discussion through the more serious themes, that connate PG rather than G. Thus, a discussion need to be had, reminding us indeed of why exactly there is a distinction between them, and they are not and do not qualify as one in the same on the rating scale. Thank you Travis for another enlightening review, letting the audience know this movie is far more than what it seems, in a depth of subjects and seriousness of battle, along with the absurdity of humor and slapstick, that most would enjoy, albeit a seemingly contradiction in the film. I now do and would enjoy seeing this film that I would have otherwise batted my eye at, and assumed it was too “young” for my tween and teen aged children.

    • Thanks for the kind words, Becky! I think parents of older kids may well leave the theater feeling they had found something to watch that may entertain their kids without delving into the kind of content that makes them very uncomfortable and it could go over well with them. I’m very apprehensive, however, of how parents of younger children (i.e., the Cars fans) will feel about this.

      Every parent has different values, of course, and every child has different sensibilities. It’s a mistake to assume that just because this six year old wasn’t fazed by the violence in Brave, for instance, that this mother will want her seven year old to see a group of rear ends as a joke. I think we tend to lump all children into one homogeneous group, and Brave invites us to reexamine that.

      Friends of mine have young children. I’ve waffled about which ones I think will approve of their children seeing this and which ones I think will be angry at me for not “warning” them ahead of time. Mind you, these are parents and children I personally know. I couldn’t even guess what to say to parents of young children I’ve never met. Maybe their children are more desensitized to violence than the children I know. Maybe they’ve been watching more “mature” content. Maybe their parents aren’t as tolerant of brief nudity, or maybe a thousand other things.

      There is also a tendency on the part of a lot of people to dismiss the whole thing and point out how much more mature were the movies they saw as youths, and to complain that we’re too soft on kids today. To a certain extent, I’m in agreement. I think children as a whole are more sophisticated than we as a society are willing to admit. We’re afraid of engaging them on their actual level because it’s often incompatible with the level their parents want to believe they’re on.

      That said, I also believe that a parent has an obligation to know his or her child and what he or she can handle, and I think there will be some who really just will not expect what they get with Brave.

      Or, put another way: It’s fine that many have come to see Pixar as a studio whose films “play it safe” (though I would challenge that characterization). There are plenty of other movies for the audience that wants something a little more sarcastic, crass, risque and/or violent. Pixar has been relied on by parents to provide the trustworthy alternative to those films.

  2. movieguyjon says:

    I quite liked the “How It Entered My Flickchart” section and found it an interesting evolution of the Reel Rumbles format that has been on other posts. Might have to use that for the AFI Fest later this year.

    Having read your review, I find myself even more interested in the film. All that stuff about the edgier and more crass content makes me curious. For me, Pixar has usually meant “safe” and if this is skirting some kind of edge, I’m game. :)

  3. movieguyjon says:

    Just got back from seeing the film a little bit ago. Ranked it at #234 on my Flickchart. Maybe it’s a little high and after some time it will even out where it should, but I REALLY enjoyed the flick. The theme was handled quite well and a lot of character moments resonated with me. Certainly haven’t gotten anything like this from any of those Freaky Friday films or even any of the other body-switching films. Merida was also quite the character and I found her to be one of the better “princesses” I’ve seen in a Disney film.

    I know a few people have mentioned that the ending wasn’t earned, but I’m not sure I buy that. Both mother and daughter went through the ringer and came out with a deep respect and understanding of each other.

    Maybe I mentioned liking the theme earlier? I’m sure I did. :)