(To make up for my most recent failure to update, I’ll be doing two posts a day for a bit. Later today, I’ll be featuring the most recent review of Mutt, so be sure to check back!)
The Internet is abuzz with columnists have nothing better to do writing articles about whether Merida, the heroine of Pixar’s new film Brave, is a lesbian. I was going to write about that, but given that it’s a painfully boring nonissue (her dislike of arranged marriage is the only information the film gives us on her sexuality either way), I’m going to write about the actual content of the film instead.
A friend and I went to see it a few days ago; beforehand, the sounds I’d heard surrounding the film online indicated that it was a good film but not quite on par with Pixar’s past few releases. I’d largely agree with that statement, but with a slight revision: it’s an excellent film, and if it pales in comparison to Pixar’s other recent work, that’s only because we’re comparing it to some of the best movies made in years.
One can think of Brave either as a simple but worthy addition to Pixar’s legendary filmography or as a progressive new entry in Disney’s princess collection. To me, it feels as though the film is a response to and commentary on the latter classification of films, in which “happily ever after” inevitably finds a young girl promptly wedded to a groom usually of noble birth and less frequently noble (as much as I love classics like Beauty and the Beast, I shudder to think of the types of relationships they’re modeling for young girls). In a terrifying future reality where I have children, Brave is a film I could happily show both my sons and daughters—without necessitating a long conversation afterward about how you probably shouldn’t date someone who treats you terribly/scares the living hell out of you.
It’s also a film that has something to say about family ties, conflict resolution, and valuing the people in your life the way they are. These themes are admittedly more common to children’s films than WALL-E’s dissection of American consumerism and environmental destruction or Toy Story 3’s existential crisis, and it would be hard to argue that Brave matches the depth of either. But the film is gorgeous, impressively patient in its pacing for a children’s affair, and still far more memorable than most non-Pixar Disney releases in recent years.
The wild lesbian sex scenes were great too, of course.