Yesterday I saw Pixar's "Brave" with my son. I took him instead of my daughter because she's a teen, and my son is just the right age. That was before I really knew what kind of a movie it was.
I knew it wasn't the typical Disney princess movie, and I had heard in a review that unlike in other princess movies, Merida did not ride off into the sunset with her prince charming. What I didn't know until I saw the movie yesterday is that it's a mother/daughter film. A traditional queen and her selfish, free-spirited daughter are at odds as to what Merida's destiny should be, and they both have wonderful character arcs as they change and learn together about what's important.
This reminded me of the occasional mother/daughter movies I used to see with my mom and sister, the last being the Susan Sarandon/Natalie Portman team in "Anywhere But Here".
Mother/daughter movies are important. They provide bonding to the vital relationship. Such films provide topics of discussion and how it relates on a practical level to the mother/daughter duos watching the film. Such discussions lead to learning how to work together to find solutions to issues similar to what the characters in the film faced. This is where art meets the needs of society and reflects who and where we are and benefits us as individuals. Relationships strengthen through the philosophies shared in whatever medium the artist chooses. This is not to say all art and all movies are equal or that all philosophies are equal because they’re not. However, art, including movies, can provoke thinking and discussion and can even change some small part of our lives.
Even though I didn’t see “Brave” with my daughter, it’s still a good parent/child movie no matter the gender, and it just may speak to the heart of what someone is facing right now. After all, isn’t that what good art does?