There are many things you need to look out for when being a parent, such as ensuring your family gets enough exercise and maintains a healthy balanced diet. Online resources, such as Mommy Authority, are incredibly helpful in keeping you up to date with the latest trends and activities to do so. Another, more challenging part, of parenting is meditating the media that your family consumes. From an endless array of YouTube clips to the numerous articles you find on social media, the media your children are exposed to plays a pivotal role in influencing how and what they think about.
While we can never truly control what content our children are exposed to, we can encourage our children to choose media that will benefit them and their development. By leading by example and sharing films that are not only creative but highlight important characteristics and themes, we can reinforce constructive skills in our children.
The Power Of Family Movie Night
Family movie nights are a great way for to stay in and spend some quality time together as you share a journey along a creative and heartfelt story. Add a little popcorn and other delicious junk food and a comfy Christmas bed (making a bed in the lounge and all snuggling in it together) – you have yourself a fun-filled event! If you are wanting to make the evening a little more interactive, you can even have a discussion post movie about what you may have liked (or disliked) about the film over hot cocoa. This will not only teach your children the important skill of reflection but will help them to internalize the important themes included in the film as well as value the wonderful work presented by the creatives and directors.
So, without further ado, here is our list of 4 fantastic films that should feature at your next family movie night.
Kubo And The Two Strings – Travis Knight (II)
Kubo And The Two Strings is an animated action-adventure film set in Japan, where we follow a little boy on an epic and thrilling quest to save his family and solve the mystery of fallen father (the greatest samurai warrior in the world). With the help of his magical musical instrument and the guidance of Monkey (voiced by Charlize Theron) and Beetle (voiced by Matthew McConaughey), Kubo battles gods and monsters in order to fulfill his destiny.
This film offers an original story, promoting themes of courage and teamwork. It is made with stop-motion animation which in itself is a cool topic to teach to your children (which could also inspire some fun homemade movies). Suggested for ages 9 and up, this film may lead to some important discussions that could help children understand the power of memories and storytelling.
Fantastic Mr. Fox – Wes Anderson
Another stop-motion film, Fantastic Mr. Fox is based on Roald Dahl’s 1970 children’s novel. It follows a fox (voiced by George Clooney) who – by giving in to his animal instincts – endangers his family and their wild animal friends. Together, they resort to their natural craftiness to outsmart their opposition.
While this movie may be polarising to some parents for certain topics, the entertaining storyline cannot be denied. Packed with wit and charm, this movie addresses how a leader can inspire his community. Suggested for children over the age of 7, reading the book before watching the film may help with any suspense of the film for younger viewers.
The Triplets Of Belleville – Sylvain Chomet
The Triplets Of Belleville is a unique French film about a boy who gets kidnapped by the mafia after taking part in the Tour De France, and it’s up to his grandmother and pet dog to save him. Inspired by the 30‘s jazz trio known as The Triplets of Belleville, this film includes an original jazz music score and a delightful visual appeal.
This film has hardly any speaking in it, with actions conveyed through sound and gesture. That alone is an experience that children should be exposed to. The animation style is expressive and dripping with character, including themes of resilience and symbolism attached to cultural references – allowing this film to be rewatched, unpacked, and appreciated for years to come.
Spirited Away – Hayao Miyazaki
A fantasy film produced by the legendary Studio Ghibli, Spirited Away is a visual masterpiece directed by the emperor of anime, Hayao Miyazaki. We follow the story of Chihiro, a little girl who tries to save her parents from an unfortunate magic spell that was cast on them when the family wandered into a mysterious world. There, she relies on her judgment and courage to work her way to rescue her family.
This Oscar-winning film is a coming-of-age story suitable for ages 9 and over. It covers themes such as the power of a name and identity, the blurring lines between good and evil, and the power of the choices you make. It also inspires you with the wonder of nature and the endless inspiration of magic!