There’s been much hoopla over the past few months about all the fairy tale movies in Hollywood: “Mirror Mirror“, “Snow White and the Huntsman“, and “Sleeping Beauty.” Why? Because of how fascinating, scary and true-to-life the villainess are.
What do I mean? Whether we’re talking about Julia Roberts, Charlize Theron or Anjelina Jolie, each depicts the fear, loathing, and desperation older women experience when they see their own beauty fading. Each movie shows the classic older woman against younger woman story. And we can’t get enough of these stories or characters because they hit a nerve. Deep down they’re true for a lot of us.
But then I saw “Brave” this afternoon with my daughter. And my view of fairy tale movies and the “truths” they reveal changed.
I was psyched to see the movie with Laila, my daughter, as the main character, Merida, has long, flowing curly hair just like Laila’s (though Merida’s never seems to get knotty the way Laila’s does…hmmm), loves sports and seeks adventure, as does Laila. In essence, they are both tomboys.
And they are both beautiful.
But the movie doesn’t make a big deal about Merida’s beauty. It’s just there. And instead of her beauty being a source of friction between her and her mother, or it being the vehicle to “land” a prince, it remains int he background. In fact, Merida pushes against marriage and ends up developing an even stronger bond with her mother.
A little aside, the mom is beautiful too and has this great grey streak in her hair. She’s older and beautiful all at the same time!
I love that fairly tales are going beyond the age-old cliché of older woman losing her beauty and younger woman benefiting because of it. The fact that Merida and her mother are beautiful, AMONG OTHER ATTRIBUTES, is fantastic too. They are respected for their intelligence, bravery and beauty all together.
Now, when will real life follow suit?