Saturday, August 4, 2012

A Lady Reviews: Brave

I recognize that I may be coming to this party a bit late.  Nevertheless, it behooves me to write a review of what very well may be the most ‘lady-oriented’ movie of this summer.

A lady is a lady regardless of whether she
acts as a diplomat...
For anyone who hasn’t seen it yet, the story of Brave is set in the wilds of Scotland, and focuses on the turbulent relationship between a local king’s daughter, Merida, and her mother, the Queen Elinor.  Elinor wants Merida to be the stereotypical ‘proper’ lady (or so it seems on the surface), while Merida wants to be free to live her own life.  When their desires clash in the middle of a tournament for Merida’s hand in marriage, things get thoroughly out of control and, through one thing and another (spoiler alert!) Elinor is transformed into a bear.  The rest of the film focuses on Merida and Elinor rebuilding their mother-daughter bond and returning Elinor to her rightful shape, which involves a fair bit of humor (and even some horror) along the way.
I suspect anyone who has seen even the trailers for this film can tease out the lady related conflict that crops up in Brave:  Merida is wild and independent, while Elinor is ‘proper’ and dignified.  Each initially views the other as misguided and either uncivilized (in the case of Merida) or stuck up (in the case of Elinor).  Over the course of the film, however, one comes to realize that both sides of this coin are necessary for a woman to be successful in her life.  Merida’s physical prowess with a bow and on horseback allow her to live comfortably regardless of location and take care of herself.  Elinor’s social skills, however, prove to be just as important, as she is able to bring a group of brawling Scottish clansmen to a standstill with one cold look or talk them back from open warfare.  Both women discover that the other’s point of view is still valid over the course of the film, even as they grow closer as mother and daughter.
....or wields a weapon.
Any woman hoping to call herself a lady should take heed from their lesson.  A lady should be skilled in any number of ways, so as to give her the advantage regardless of the situation.  And no skill should be viewed as somehow off-limits.  Combative or athletic pursuits do not diminish one’s womanhood, and being polite and well-spoken does not prevent a lady from wielding great power of her own.  Instead, one should seek to find and cultivate a balance of mind and body, action and diplomacy, the exuberance of youth and the wisdom of old age.  All will serve you well in your life as a lady.
So, in the final assessment, go see Brave.  It’s my favorite movie of the summer, hands down, and a great example of all the virtues a lady should hope to have for herself. 

P.S.  Brave also has awesome, awesome music.  I dare you not to feel happy after listening to it.