And there *it* was...
The dreaded love story.
But, to my deep satisfaction, Brave did not go where EVERYONE ELSE BEFORE HAS GONE.
Two roads diverged into the woods and BRAVE TOOK THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED BY...
And that made all of the difference in my movie going experience.
Brave is not your typical "Princess is unhappy with her life, Princess meets a man, Man bothers Princess/Princess bothers man, Princess succeeds in her life while simultaneously falling in love" story.
In fact, our protagonist Merida (Kelly Macdonald) does quite the opposite. When Merida's mother, the Queen Elinor (with the awesome voice of Emma Thompson), promises Merida to one of the four clans' first born based on winning a competition, Merida finds the loop hole (she is her own clan's first born) and wins her own hand in marriage.
You go girl, right?
Well, it's just that simple. The story, the love story part...doesn't drive this movie. The engine of this movie runs on a conflict between a mother and her daughter and the daughter's desire to change her fate.
And the movie grabbed me with this storyline.
As a daughter myself, very different in so many ways from my mother, I felt for Merida. I understood her struggles of being misunderstood. Of wanting to be appreciated for who she was...not for who her mother thought she could be. I aligned with her desperate desire to just be herself, to be left alone, to be strong and fierce and...well...brave.
But the story is so much more than that, too!
As a mother myself, I saw so much in my struggle to understand four little people. I gave birth to four little people and I cannot begin to understand half the things they do/thinks they think/reasons they do or think those things. And sometimes, I am scared that I never will.
The poignant parenting moments are almost trumped by the slapstick comedy, the sibling relationships and the pure joy with which this movie is designed.
Simply put...I simply loved it.
Moving forward, Merida is my Princess of choice with Disney/Pixar. A girl who followed her dream, not for love of a man but for love of self, for passion of life and in the end, got the Mom.
Excellent work, Disney/Pixar. And to everyone else...follow the wisps to the treasure in your life...