Today was sensory-friendly screening day at our local theatre and I took the boys to see Brave. We've gotten better since our earliest outings. I brought a paper bag full of bread bits for Alex, since he won't tolerate popcorn. We showed up less than ten minutes before the movie started, so neither of them had time to get bored. And most importantly, I knew the movie would be a good one. Pixar has figured out the magic formula to keep both children and their parents entertained.
Brave is no exception. A nice bit of Scottish pride. They even got the Mackintosh tartan right (at least to my admittedly inexpert eyes), although the clan standard didn't look like anything I'd recognize.
I enjoyed how they switched around the coming of age story. Merida doesn't spend the movie on her own, trying to solve her problems. Instead, she and her mother have to work on solving their problems together. And it wasn't a unidirectional mom-learns-to-reject-her-fuddy-duddy-ways-and-embrace-youth. Merida learns to appreciate her mother's gentle ways and wisdom instead of just her father's flashy warrior prowess. But she still gets to remain an independent and vibrant young woman.
The story could have easily fallen into boring and offensive traps but the writers navigated the thin line between cliches. I think the only one they failed to avoid was the inept husband constantly being rescued by his wife and daughter. And even then, I still liked it. The story was about the women. Not everyone can be a multidimensional character.
Billy Connolly does a hilarious job as Fergus, the bold yet clueless father. And my other favourite Scotsman, Craig Ferguson, is Lord Macintosh.
It's well worth seeing. I wish it had been out for Mother's Day, since it's such a perfect mother and daughter bonding story. It's rare to have a mother-daughter story where one doesn't get swallowed up by the other. Often either the mother dominates and the daughter is broken into conventional paths or the daughter convinces the mother to reject everything. To see a daughter learn respect for her mother's point of view while the mother does likewise is fabulous. It allows the daughter to draw on her mother's experience and wisdom without being flattened by it.