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Brave Review Critics


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Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 60

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    This is less a film in the lustrous Pixar tradition than a Disney fairy tale told with Pixar's virtuosity. As such, it's enjoyable, consistently beautiful, fairly conventional, occasionally surprising and ultimately disappointing.

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  • 70

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Todd McCarthy

    Visually stunning and strongly voiced, but doesn't take any real risks.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    It's a lively, psychologically astute tale filled with humanity, wit and charming performances.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

    Merida may be a headstrong heroine, a feisty animated hybrid who calls to mind Katniss Everdeen, Bella Swan, and the neo-fairy-tale protagonist who faces off against her evil stepmother in "Snow White and the Huntsman." But she is also, for safety's sake, a nice girl in a pretty green dress who loves her family and believes in dynasty.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

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
  • educationalvalue true2

    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.

  • message true1

    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.

  • rolemodels true1

    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 false2

    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.

  • sex false2

    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 false0

    Language: Not applicable

  • consumerism false2

    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.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false0

    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.