Brave Teaches Women How to Change Their Fate
Latest offering from Disney/Pixar is first to feature a female lead.
Like so many Disney/Pixar classics, “Brave” is a love story, but is unusual because it is the story of love between a mother and daughter and the quest by the daughter to change her fate. “Brave” begins with a film score reminiscent of those before it. Set in the highlands of 10th century Scotland, a beautiful red head, tomboy, and skilled archer named Merida learns the life of a princess, complete with a litany of what a princess will and won’t do. It is on the rare days when she “doesn’t have to be a princess", though, that Merida, whose voice is provided by Scottish actress Kelly Macdonald, is most complete and happy.
As the eldest daughter of King Fergus and Queen Elinor, she faces an age-old custom sacred to the three lords of the land, to wed one of their sons. A competition is staged and in typical Disney fashion, Merida aces the competition. Her plan is simply to win and therefore to avoid the traditional arranged marriage.
Merida's mother, Queen Elinor, voiced by two-time Oscar-winner Emma Thompson, is a respected, formidable, poised, lovely woman who summarily rejects any option but that prescribed by tradition. An altercation ensues during which Merida says, “I want my freedom!” To which Queen Elinor replies, “But are you willing to pay the price your freedom will cost?”
With those words, Merida "escapes" into a magical forest despite her mother’s protestations. In the forest, Merida meets a "witch" who represents the dark side of life/choices when faced with crisis. Even knowing something is not right, Merida is looking for some outside power to save her. Merida makes a rash decision and the witch's spell changes her fate by turning her mother into a bear. To truly change their fates, the two learn they must repair the bond which has deteriorated under the pressure to meet the standards of both tradition and others. They must "mend the bond, torn by pride." Merida soon understands that the life she is after is something she must forge for herself. And instead of a magical spell, she needs to rely on her own internal strength and her mother’s help.
Travelling these past nine months with the Palladian View, the most commonly asked question by young professional conservative women, is: "Can I have what I want?"
“Brave” is a beautiful animation that speaks directly to this query, through its multi-dimensional message about challenges that many women face. Like Merida, fate is something every individual controls. Though there will be sacrifices along the way, to stay true to whom and what we are, we must be brave.
At the conclusion of the film, the narrator offers sage words: "Our fate lives within us - You only have to be brave enough to see it."
Karen Floyd, former chairwoman of the South Carolina Republican Party, is the Publisher of www.palladianview.com, a digital magazine for the conservative Republican woman.