Last night we had the chance to see Disney Pixar’s Brave as part of the Seattle International Film Festival.  I sit on the SIFF Parent Committee and we were so thrilled a few months ago when SIFF programmers told us that they would be screening it a full twelve days before its release.

Brave tells the story of Scottish Princess Merida as she fights her mother’s wish to marry her off to a member of an allied clan.  Obsessed with destiny, Merida turns to the supernatural to try and change hers with disastrous effect.  To fix what went wrong, she must take her mother on an adventure where they learn the importance of listening and compromise.

There’s been a lot of talk about what a strong character Merida is.  And indeed, seeing a princess who is not only proficient in combat arts but actively fights against being paired up with “Prince Charming” was refreshing.  The only love story in the film was the one between Merida and her mother.  The mother/daughter relationship was so well written and some of the aforementioned tears were the result of being reminded of my own teenage interactions with my mother.  Teenagers can be cruel, parents can be angry and unyielding. 

At times it was laugh out loud funny, other times it was scary, and I spent about 25 of the 90 minute running time sobbing.  It had adventure, suspense, and sentimentality.  It was Pixar’s doing its best at everything Pixar does best.

So…”Can I take my five year old to see Brave?”  I’d say “yes”, with a few caveats.  There are some scary scenes with vicious bears (there are also plenty of cute scenes with bears).  Kitty was scared and grabbed my arm, but didn’t get so upset that we had to leave.  There was a younger child in the theater who cried during some of the more intense scenes. There are a few a lot of animated bottoms shown. There is a scene involving a cleavage joke.  There was a real fear at the end (even for me) that the main conflict was not going to be resolved in a tidy way.  It’s pretty typically Pixar in that there is genuine suspense.  I’d say it’s fine for most kids 5 and up.