FRED Watch Quickie Film Review: Brave (2012)


I’m a Fulya Kantarmaci and welcome to FRED Watch, where we review everything from the mainstream to the obscure. Today’s Mother’s Day film is Disney Pixar’s Brave

Walt Disney Pictures / Pixar Animation Studios

A princess disregards an old custom and wreaks havoc in the kingdom. Her mother, the Queen, will not have this and pressures her to do as she is told. Her father, the King, is just stuck in the middle of it all…

Brave tells the story of Merida (Kelly Macdonald), the courageous daughter of Scottish King Fergus (Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson). Merida is a talented archer and a very messy princess, much to her mother’s disapproval. One day, Elinor tells Merida that the first-born sons of the allied clans will be arriving to compete in the Highland Games for Merida’s hand in marriage. But it may harm their clan Dunbroch if she fails to consent to the betrothal. Elinor reminds Merida of the legend of the prince that would not follow his father’s wishes; pride ends up destroying his kingdom.

Being the first-born child in her own clan, Merida decides to participate in the archery tournament and beats her suitors with ease. After a very heated argument with her mother (not to mention ruining the family tapestry), Merida runs away into the forest. She is then greeted by will-o’-the-wisps, which lead her deeper into the forest to a witch’s hut. She makes a deal with the witch to create a spell that will change her fate. The witch gives her an enchanted cake. Once she leaves the hut, the witch is left standing on her own trying the think of the one important thing she forgot to tell Merida about the spell. Of course, there’s a consequence. Who didn’t see that coming?

Merida arrives back at the castle, prepares a “peace offering” with the cake for her mother. But when Elinor eats it, she starts to feel ill and, to Merida’s shock, turns into a bear. This is NOT what she asked for at all! Merida takes her bear-mum back to the witch’s hut but the witch is no longer there. She did, however, leave Merida a message in the form of a bubbling cauldron that acts like a medieval automated message:

‘Fate be changed, look inside. Mend the bond torn by pride.’

This story is definitely one for the mothers out there. The relationship between a mother and her daughter is sacred. I am one of those daughters who loves her mum very much and when the sad scenes played through, I could feel an ache in my heart. Emma Thompson is wonderful as Merida’s mother. Her voice has the elegance of a queen and even though she is voicing a Scottish character, I still love it! Kelly Macdonald is amazing as Merida. You can hear the strength and teenage angst that makes her the perfect voice actor for this role. And did I mention how awesome Billy Connolly is? His comedic timing makes King Fergus a hilarious character, but when it comes down to the hunt of a bear lurking in the castle, he is all business and you can definitely hear that in Connolly’s performance.

The fact that this film takes place in the Scottish Highlands makes me feel so good because I travelled to Scotland in April 2018; I fell in love with the country and its people. Rewatching this movie after my holiday allowed me to pick out all the wonderful things that make Brave so authentic. The scenery is almost life-like, the animals (mainly the highland cows or ‘coos’, as the Scottish call them), the music, and the story itself all brought me back Scotland. (On a side note, if you haven’t been, I highly recommend visiting Edinburgh and a trip up to the highlands. So much history that doesn’t disappoint!)

Brave has a beautiful aesthetic and the cinematography is just fantastic! There are a few scary moments but nothing that kids can’t handle. This is definitely worth watching with the family, especially on Mother’s Day. And remember, ‘never conjure where you carve.’ 5 / 5


Starring: Kelly Macdonald, Emma Thompson, Billy Connolly, Julie Walters, Steve Purcell, Patrick Doyle, John Ratzenberger, Sally Kinghorn, Callum O’Neill, Peigi Barker, Steven Cree.

Directors: Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman | Writers: Mark Andrews, Steve Purcell, Brenda Chapman, Irene Mecchi | Producer: Katherine Sarafian | Music: Patrick Doyle | Cinematographers: Robert Anderson (camera), Danielle Feinberg (lighting) | Editor: Nicholas C. Smith


Available: DVD.

Let us know what you thought of this film in the comments!


I’ve been a Fulya Kantarmaci and you’ve just experienced FRED Watch.

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