Set in medieval Scotland, Brave tells the story of Merida (voice of Kelly MacDonald), daughter of Queen Elinor (voice of Emma Thompson) and King Fergus (voice of Billy Connolly). The young Princess Merida likes to be outdoors horse-riding and shooting arrows. She doesn’t want to learn how to be a perfect princess. She is so feisty and rebellious that she tells Queen Elinor that she’d rather die than be like her.
Merida is horrified to learn that when she reaches a certain age, she is expected to choose a husband from one of the other royal families in the kingdom. She rides off into the woods rather than going through with this arrangement. There she finds an old witch. She begs the witch for help to make her mother change her mind. The solution that the witch comes up with is so awful that it takes all of Merida’s bravery to undo the witch’s curse.
Here we outline any topics, issues and ideas in this movie that might upset children and adolescents, so that you can gauge whether it is appropriate for your child. For example, children and adolescents may react adversely to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, separation from a parent, animal cruelty or distress, children as victims, natural disasters and racism.
Magic and witchcraft; family conflict
Here we identify any violence in this movie, and explain how and why it might impact on your child or adolescent. In general, movie violence can make children less sensitive to the use of violence in real life. Alternatively, they may become fearful about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world. In some contexts, it can also teach them to see violence as an acceptable means of conflict resolution.
This movie has some violence. For example:
- King Fergus shoots a grizzly bear with arrows. The bear fights back, and the King loses a leg (although the scene doesn’t show this).
- A fight breaks out among three men who want to marry Merida. It turns into a brawl between all the rival clans. Merida’s three young brothers join the brawl and hit a man on the foot with a club.
- The King is turned into a grizzly bear and attacks Elinor. He cuts Merida on the arms by mistake as she’s trying to protect her mother.
- Elinor is caught and tied up with ropes. Merida has to fight off her father with a sword to stop him from killing her mother.
- Elinor and the large grizzly bear fight each other. A falling stone kills the grizzly bear.
Content that may disturb children
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, this movie has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under five years. For example:
- The grizzly bear is very large and roars loudly.
- The woods are very dark and creepy.
- The old witch is ugly, toothless and scary looking.
- Merida’s mother is changed into a large brown bear.
- Merida’s little brothers are all changed into bear cubs.
- Merida finds herself alone in the dark woods and follows a path lit by willow wisps. Suddenly she is attacked by a large, vicious grizzly bear.
- Merida is thrown off her horse when he gets spooked by a magical force.
- The witch kills a crow with her broomstick, but it comes alive again.
- Knives and hammers and other tools all fly towards Merida. Then they stop and turn towards the witch.
- When Elinor is turned into a bear, she is timid at first but gradually gets wilder. She turns on Merida a few times and growls and snarls at her.
- Merida and her mother – who is still a bear – spend a frightening night in the woods during a thunderstorm, trying to avoid getting caught.
Children in this age group are also likely to be scared by the scenes mentioned above.
Younger children in this age group might also be scared by some of the scenes mentioned above.
This movie should be OK for this age group.
None of concern
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
This movie shows some use of substances, including magic potions.
Nudity and sexual activity
This movie has some nudity. For example, the clansmen appear without their kilts, showing their bare bottoms.
None of concern
None of concern
Ideas to discuss with your children
Brave is an animated adventure set in medieval times. The story of a warrior princess will appeal to older children but is too scary for younger children. It’s made more intense by 3D effects.
The main messages from this movie are that your fate is up to you. You can change your destiny if you’re brave.
Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include:
- a strong female lead character
- courage and bravery
- the ability to say you’ve made a mistake.
This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues such as:
- making rash decisions and having to deal with the consequences
- rebelling against your parents and traditions.