I beg to differ with movie critic Stephen Rea's assessment of the male role in Pixar's "Brave." It seems to me that this movie presents a refreshing take on the importance of the father's role in the daughter's development.
In many ways the daughter Merida has become who she is due to her father's care and instruction. His pride in her mastery of activities normally associated with males is obvious. He has been her mentor and most enthusiastic supporter. We are seeing Merida at a turning point in her development. The mother who has heretofore been in the background regarding her daughter's education then emerges from the shadows to orchestrate the introduction of "suitors."
We see from the reaction of Merida that the mother is too late. Her daughter's character has already been formed in large part due to her affiliation with her father. Merida is not docile nor is she fond of typical "princess" frou frou. She is forthright, honest, articulate and fiercely loyal to both her parents. Her mother mistakes her being true to who she is for disobedience. Therein lies the plot.
Now Merida performs as her father's pupil. While he entertains the troops gathered by the mother, Merida acts as his surrogate. This is a complex and brilliant plot worthy of a royal following. My eight-year-old curly haired granddaughter "princess" identified strongly with this character. Bravo, Pixar.