Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Family Friendly Films

After reviewing several online sites, including The Dove for Family Approved Films, and the Rotten Tomatoes site, where they list up to 100 films for family viewing, it turns out there’s quite a diverse selection with some movies appearing on multiple lists. In fact, there's almost too many to sort through! Here are some helpful hints.

Most families will know of the classic films to see, many are shown every year around the holidays. There’s Christmas Vacation with Chevy Chase, Elf  with Will Ferrell, and the classic black & white It’s a Wonderful Life with Jimmy Stewart.

Let me just interject a point of privilege regarding black and white films. Please do not consider all black and white films so out of date that they are unwatchable. That is truly not the case for many classic black and white films, and especially for those who are seeking films the whole family can watch together and enjoy.

Some of the best film series are well known: The Star Wars series, Harry Potter & Shrek. But there are a few films that may not be as well known and are suitable for family viewing.

Some of the older Disney films include Pollyanna with Hayley Mills, the original Love Bug, the original Jungle Book animated film as well as Disney’s Pinocchio are all timeless in their content and have strong messages that still resonate today.

There’s some well known stars in the family friendly films list. The Princess Bride from 1987 with Robin Wright, as well as Big with Tom Hanks, Field of Dreams with Kevin Costner, and for animal lovers, the original National Velvet starring a young Elizabeth Taylor.

Other family films with animals include The Black Stallion, Secretariat, and the 101 Dalmations films, recommended in both the animated and live action versions.

Some movies not shown as frequently on television are Chitty Chitty Bang Bang with Dick Van Dyke and the version of Heidi with Shirley Temple.  

Films that are much more recent and deemed family friendly include Chicken Run from 2000, Akeelah & the Bee from 2006, and most recently The Peanuts Movie from 2015.

Some films are surprisingly spiritual, with messages of redemption and faith although they may not be listed or thought of as being family friendly. And other films may just “try too hard” to be wholesome and end up looking either contrived or, to put it in my father’s vernacular, “corny”. The best thing to do is to keep an open mind and if possible, review the film alone or with other adults to decide for yourself what is appropriate viewing for your children’s age level and individual personality.

From a previous list of Spiritual films, the list includes the ever-popular The Sound of Music and The Wizard of Oz, (also a more recent version called Oz the Great and Powerful from 2013), The Nativity Story from 2006, and the most recent Risen, released in 2015. 

The holidays are always a good time for families to bond and to find films to watch together; creating holiday traditions as familiar as trimming the tree and caroling and sharing favorite scriptures. Make a plan during the holidays to check out some of the less familiar Family Friendly films listed here, and start your new holiday traditions!

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