I know a girl like Merida–the strong-willed Scottish princess at the center of Pixar’s latest incarnation.
And because my children love going to the movies as much as the movies themselves, my family and I naturally ended up in theater seats last weekend, contributing to the $66.7 million box office success.
While Merida’s bouncy red mane, full of untamed corkscrews, is reason enough to spend money on admission tickets, the movie lost me.
What could have been the simple story of a girl, seeking an adventurous life beyond the precepts for a princess, unfortunately became a dark, complicated tale involving witchcraft.
It’s not that the storyline was hard to follow, it was just a bit superfluous.
Stories of empowered women are practically the trend right now, with popular movies including “Snow White and the Huntsman,” “Hunger Games” and ”Mirror Mirror.” The heroines in those movies succeed in taking a stand without manipulations or spells. In fact, in some cases, their inner beauty and strength were resistant to spells.
Though “Brave” isn’t teaching children to use spells to achieve success, the story does warn to be careful what you wish for.
Yes, ladies, you can manipulate things to get your way, but you rarely ever get what you want. And that truth is at the heart of what young Merida learns.
Despite a happy ending, Pixar still lost my applause.
Even if it wasn’t intentional, the movie somewhat implied strong women have to use tricks and manipulations to change their fate.
A bow-and-arrow toting princess, who didn’t want to get married, was enough of a novelty. The story didn’t need dressed up with witches and queens who turn into bears.
And though all the kids laughed at times, my sons both asked when we were going home long before the credits rolled. My 8-year-old daughter did seem captivated, but, really, the hair alone could captivate anyone.
It was visually stunning, but it didn’t send the message of strength I had hoped.
I’m longing for a screenwriter who can wield a story about a strong woman without making her manipulative, petulant or–especially–a vampire.
Now that would be brave.