OK for kids 8+
Mother-daughter princess tale has some very scary scenes.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Brave is pretty scary for a "princess movie," especially for kids under 7 and/or those who are very sensitive to peril. Several intense sequences involve a large angry bear that attacks the main characters -- which are even more so when seen in 3-D -- and (possible spoiler alert) a possibly disturbing but mostly comical transformation of a mother into a bear. A moment when the mom-turned-bear temporarily forgets she's human and growls at her daughter could upset younger kids. There's also a lot of brawling among the Scotsmen, who use both weapons (arrows, swords, etc.) and their bodies (fists, teeth) on each other. The first Pixar movie to revolve around a female main character, Brave does have a strong message about family relationships and open communication between parents and kids (particularly mothers and daughters). There's no romance for Princess Merida, but you can expect a few jokes about men being naked under their kilts; a couple of scenes even include quick glimpses of naked cartoon bums belonging to men and three young boys. Although there are no product placements in the movie, there's a ton of Brave merchandise available, particularly aimed at girls.
- Families can talk about what kind of princess Merida is. How does she compare to the other Disney princesses? How is her story similar to and different from theirs?
- Kids: Did you find the movie scary? How does it compare to other princess/animated movies you've seen?
- This could be the first princess movie in which there's no romance. What do you think of the shift in focus from love story to mother-and-daughter tale? Do you think that makes Brave more appealing to more people?
- Brave has strong female role models, but what about the men/boys? Which male characters do you think are portrayed as role models?
- Kids: What made you want to see this movie -- the story, or all the product tie-ins? Do kids want a product because Merida is pictured on it?
The good stuff
Educational value: Kids will pick up some stuff about Scotland: the culture, the clans, the ancient dress, the idea that noble girls were often forced to marry out of obligation and alliance rather than love. They will also learn a bit about Scottish lore regarding the druid witch and will o' the wisps.
Messages: The movie focuses on how an at-odds mother and daughter can mend their relationship and learn from each other. A mother is fierce when it comes to defending her daughter, and vice versa. The way that Merida and Elinor work together is a beautiful tribute to the bond between mother and child. The movie also teaches the idea that "legends are lessons" -- stories that can teach us all about follies like pride, greed, and selfishness.
Role models: Merida is strong-willed, stubborn, and smart: She wants to find her own way in the world, not be tied to a suitor for betrothal before she's ready for marriage. While she's independent and brave, she does make a misguided decision about how to deal with her disagreement with her mother. Elinor has many of the same qualities she has trouble dealing with in her daughter. She's a kind, intelligent queen with a strong sense of duty and how she must comport herself. During their shared ordeal, both mother and daughter learn to think more like the other, and, as a result, they each change for the better. Many of the supporting characters -- especially the clan chiefs and their warriors -- are broadly caricatured for the sake of humor; they brawl constantly, make rude noises, etc.
What to watch for
Violence and scariness: There are several intense/scary scenes in Brave revolving around a giant, frightening bear; some of them may be too much for younger or more sensitive kids. The bear attacks King Fergus in the opening sequence (viewers learn that it tore off his leg; he has a wooden stump), and later it rages against Merida, Elinor, and the entire congregation of Scottish clansmen. Possible spoiler alert: Elinor's transformation into a bear is mostly funny, but in one scene that could upset younger kids, she becomes more bear than mother and growls menacingly at Merida. Young kids might also be frightened when the men (including Fergus) take arms against bear-Elinor and are set on killing her. The climactic battle between the bears and the clan gets very tense, especially when it looks like Merida or Elinor will be hurt. Some of the scenes with the witch may also be scary for kids -- she's mostly harmless, but her hut is spooky, and she comes off as creepy herself. The will o' the wisps are eerie and a bit ominous. The Scotsmen fight constantly, using both their bodies (hands, fists, teeth, feet) and weapons (swords, arrows, etc.) on their opponents.
Sexy stuff: Fergus and Elinor are an affectionate married couple; he smacks her on the bum, and, later, when she's naked under a sheet (nothing is seen below her neck), he stares at her until she reminds him that others are around, too. The men are naked under their kilts, and in a couple of scenes, animated naked rear ends (both of adult men and young boys) are briefly glimpsed. A housemaid has ample cleavage.
Language: Not an issue
Consumerism: Although there are no product placements in the actual film, Brave already has much merchandise available: dolls, costumes, apps, storybooks, a soundtrack, video games, apparel, and more.
Drinking, drugs and smoking: The Scotsmen gather in the castle for a feast before it devolves into a brawl, and there are steins of drink, presumably some sort of mead or ale, but it's not referenced, and no one is represented as drunk.
Fan Reviews provided by
Brave is For Boys, Too: Entertainment Value and a Girl Power Message to Boot! by lawyer_mom
I took my three and a half year old son to see Brave opening weekend. His likes include cars, trains, dinosaurs, firefighters, space blaster guns, typical boy stuff, and he LOVED Brave. He sat through the entire thing without fidgeting, eyes glued to the screen. When it was over, he asked to see it again.
In addition to the entertainment value, I'm thrilled that he got to see a completely different kind of princess. Lately he's been saying things like, "girls aren't tough, like boys" etc. But after the movie, he told me "Merida's strong and smart" and "really good at swords and bows and arrows". Thank you Pixar for showing little boys and girls that not all princesses need someone else to rescue them.
Both my son and I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, and are planning on seeing it again!
A mother/daughter film with a lesson. by love-them-movies
I watched Brave 2 days ago with my 17 year old daughter. We are big Disney and Pixar fans, and we weren't disappointed! Finally a Disney movie without a Princess who needs a "man" to save her or make her who she is. Merida is strong, independent, stubborn, and continues to clash with her mother and her mother wants for her. However, at the end they come together, and her mother realizes that she must let go and let Merida be who she wants to be; Merida also seems to see things from her mother's perspective and respects her as a result. I think they both realize how selfish each was being and real mutual respect and acceptance begins. Vitually, the movie is beautiful. It's full of humor and of course sad moments (so pack your tissues). Needless to say ot does not disappoint, and certainly forces you to reflect on your relationship with your child. We also loved the end credits tribute to Steve Jobs and Lord Mcintosh thrown in the mix, whether or not it was for Mr. Jobs, it was great!
Stunning animation by HollyB117
The animation was amazing - the way that Merida's hair moves and her horse were extremely realistic and well done. The plot was good, even though it's been done (mom & daughter don't see eye to eye, crisis happens, mom & daughter reconnect emotionally) and the characters were pretty funny.
That being said, this is NOT a movie for small kids. IT IS RATED PG - I've heard several people comment that their 3 to 5 year old kids were scared. No duh, this movie is too much for kids that age. I would say elementary school age kids should be able to handle it with the parents, but pre-schoolers should not see this in the theater. It's too loud and scary at points, so wait for the DVD or for your kid to get a little older so they can handle it.
One of the BEST Animated Films I've ever experienced by bwci_dusty
This is a must see movie for all ages, both from the story, the virtual cinematography and the experience. I've never wanted to see an animated movie a second time in the theater, but this one is a must to see more than once on the big screen
We did not see it in 3D, and it was INCREDIBLE! We laughed, cried, jumped and just had a blast!
If you love animated movies or Disney movies, this is a MUST-SEE, and you will enjoy it so much.
If you don't live animated movies, this is still one to see, to experience what animated means with Disney and Pixar's latest movie, they are truly pushing the envelope!
Great movie for anyone, especially moms and daughters! by smithfam4
From the trailers, I was expecting the entire movie to be about a young girl refusing to be betrothed and possibly going up against a legendary bear. It is so much more than that!! I'm so happy that the previews left out such an important part of the story line and that we were all genuinely surprised by how much more there was to this movie! Moms must take their kids to this movie. It is one of few Disney movies where the mom plays a positive role in the child's life.It is definitely PG for a reason. Pretty violent for really little ones. The acting was spot on and the animation looked so real in parts. The scenery is amazing, so be sure to see it on the big screen. You'll be glad you did!
Fit for tweens too! by ShoTan17
Everyone loved this movie, from my husband to my youngest babe. The story was original, it looked amazing. There was just enough magic to make the story but the story wasn't bout magic but abut healing with understanding. It was awesome, take the WHOLE family. Everyone loved this movie, from my husband to my youngest babe. The story was original, it looked amazing. There was just enough magic to make the story but the story wasn't bout magic but abut healing with understanding. It was awesome, take the WHOLE family. <3
Brave is Bravo! by XJ9
BRAVE is a computer-generated adventure complete with beautiful landscapes, funny moments, and danger. Mothers and daughters will truly appreciate the underlying message in the story. And, the guys will appreciate the spunky and fearless princess who has great aim! It is a definite Must-See! Thank you, Pixar!
Brave by lynnebohman1
We all loved Brave! Ages ranged from mid 50's, 20's, 7,3 and 2 yr olds. We 'd watch it again & are looking forward to the DVD.
Not what we expected by wen_mom
My daughter came away with this, "The Mom never listened to her daughter so that's why they had to go through all the bad times". My husband didn't like the fact that though the daughter had complete disregard for her parents, she got exactly what she wanted. My 7 yr old boy was frightened a few times and said he didn't like. Not at all what we were expecting. It wasn't awful but wish we hadn't spent the tome and money.
Disney's Brave by momov_1
What a great movie. May not be just the right movie for children under the age of 5 though due to some scary scenes. Another Disney classic for years to come.