When you google the term “Brony,” you will find tons of forums and sites dedicated to the love a little children’s show called “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.” It is not surprising that these sites are wildly popular considering it is a popular cartoon, what is surprising is the people who popular these sites; grown men.
These unlikely fans are the subject of the Documentary “A Brony Tale.”
Directed by Brent Hodge, the film follows Hodge’s friend Ashleigh Ball, a musician and voice actress on “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” as she preps for an appearance at Bronycon.
What could have easily been a film poking fun at the obscure subculture, it is fantastically sweet look behind the curtain of a group of men who have attached an enormous amount of meaning to a show that is thought to be just for little girls.
The film opens with a Brony showing off his “My Little Pony” ink, and this immediately gives you a taste of how passionate these men are about the series, this is taken to the next level when we get to the manliest Brony of them all, Dusty Rhoades, not to be confused with wrestling legend Dusty Rhodes.
Rhoades provides what is the best insight as to why a man with probably the manliest mustache in the world would fall in love with what is perceived as the un-manliest cartoon you could like.
He is able to articulate beautifully just how it is more than just a kids’ cartoon; it is a story about a group of friends willing to do anything for one another.
Fitting, considering the subtitle of the film is ‘Friendship is Magic.” That subtitle encapsulates the spirit of the Bronies, they are not the weirdos that people label them as, but men that do not care about the gender roles set by society. They love what they love and love each other for that.
Director Brent Hodge does a great job objectively telling the story of who the bronies are and the most unexpected of phenomenon.
By using voice actress’ Ashleigh Ball journey to Bronycon and intercutting it with interviews with staples in Brony fandom, the film is less about this subculture, it is a story about a group of people that refuse to allow the status quo gloom over their happiness.
That feeling of surprise that succumbs you when you find out just what a Brony is, is the same feeling you get watching this film. This culture’s support network and sheer passion would make anyone, no matter what age or gender, watch “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” just to see what has been the catalyst for this growing subculture.
“A Brony Tale,” like friendship, is magic.