I’ve been spending some time with my family. As a married woman, I don’t get the time with my dad, step mother, and younger sister that I would like. In fact, I really haven’t spent much time bonding with my younger sister at all. I’m quite a bit older than she is and haven’t been in the house since she was about four! So, when the family decided to go see Disney Pixar’sBrave, I was more than happy to see a movie with them.
Being a longtime Disney fan, I wasn’t the least bit put off about joining my family for some wholesome, animated fun. Since seeing the movie, though, I have been left with the following thoughts:
1. The animation in Disney movies have come a really long way. They are becoming more and more lifelike, and it’s beyond amazing. As much as I respect the artistic talent and the advancement, I have to admit, there are times when I miss the old animated Disney movies– like The Lion King and Aladdin. I’m sure that’s more about familiarity and comfort than anything else, though.
2. Disney has been working really hard to embrace the diversity that makes up our beautiful world by including characters who are no longer the cookie-cutter curvy, culture-less females. Brave takes place in Scotland and shares bits of their culture with us, even if it does focus on the stereotypical kilts and games.
3. The plotline of this story is a little predictable and weak. The humor isn’t nearly as good as that found in Tangled. It’s certainly not my favorite Disney story.
3. But story aside, the main character may be among my favorites: Merida is a spirited, red-headed Scottish lass who rejects the idea of being betrothed to a prince, unlike many of the earlier Disney Princesses. There are lots of conjectures out there about what the intentions were when this character was created, and I’m sure some of these hypotheses are far more fascinating than my own observations. But this much I acknowledged: Merida cares little for fitting into the mold that her mother tries so desperately to shape her into. Not only does she use weapons and fail to behave as a princess “should,” she has no intention of marrying someone prescribed for her. Instead, she opts for true love– in whatever form that may come whenever that time arrives. This is probably the part that I like the most. Not only is she true to herself and insisting on her right to make her own choice about her marriage, but she is also showing that there is more to being a woman than marrying. Young girls need more characters like this to show them that there is so much more to life than waiting for prince charming to arrive– even one of your own choosing.
And I think it’s that last point that has left me thinking about Brave since I saw the movie a few days ago. I’ve spent much of my life trying to be who I’m “supposed to be.” I do what I’m “supposed to do,” and I try to behave in a way I’m “supposed to behave.” I like to think that I’ve made some choices about who I want to be in life, but I’ve never really rocked the boat too much. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Do I -want- to rock the boat? Would I be more “me” if I was more radical about my right to decide my own course in life? Furthermore, I have spent most of my life playing at Aurora or Snow White, waiting for my prince to come. But life has so much more to offer.
I’m not diminishing the importance of love. I find it incredibly important to have that one person in your life that sees you for who you are– flaws and all– and chooses to love you anyway, that person who is your friend, partner, lover, confidant, teacher, and rock. But if you are measuring your life by this love, you are neglecting a very important piece– YOU. The life you share may be a very important factor in measuring your success. But it’s only a piece of who YOU are. When you look at yourself outside of the equation of your relationship, who are you? What are you passionate about? What have you accomplished?
I’m not 100% sure I have the answers to some of these questions, which is likely why Merida has been bouncing around in my brain. That fiery redhead may very well serve as a catalyst for my own self-discovery and my mission to start checking off items on my Pint List.