For some parents, this year end may not seem too different from what it has been throughout the year. Kids have largely been stuck at home, unable to go to school or attend cocurricular activities. Should you find at home with your kids and have run out of ideas on what to do with your kids, why not just relax and catch a movie or two with them? There have been great cinematic productions over the years filled with interesting topics and teachings that can be beneficial for kids. Here are some suggestions that you can enjoy as a family.
1. Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)
Age rating: 6+
Kiki is a 13-year-old witch striking out on her own with her talking cat Jiji. According to tradition, she leaves home as a trainee witch, settling in the fictional port city of Koriko. The story revolves around her slowly gaining independence and new friends, who all help her to overcome her own personal conflicts. Simple and sweet, Kiki’s Delivery Service neatly encapsulates the human struggles of self-doubt and overcoming it, as well as the importance of having friends to support you along the way.
2. Inside Out (2015)
Age rating: 6+
Inside Out is based on the five basic emotions of a human girl called Riley – happiness, sadness, fear, disgust, anger – and how they control her actions. At age 11, Riley and her parents move far away from everything she knows, which proves to be a challenge for her five emotions to handle. Simple and realistic, Inside Out opens a door for both children and adults to understand the significance of emotions and recognising the part they play in our minds and lives.
3. Free Willy (1993)
Age rating: 6+
Jesse, a troubled 12-year-old boy, is caught vandalising the ocean theme park. As a result, he’s sent to clean up the graffiti he caused. During his time at the theme park, he befriends the captive orca Willy, caught from the wild. The film revolves around Jesse’s growth as a person, and how he and the people who he came to care for work to release Willy back to the wild. Free Willy is a film that can be enjoyed by the entire family, with a vital lesson in personal growth and respecting all forms of life.
4. Lilo & Stitch (2002)
Age rating: 7+
One of Disney’s beloved 2D-animated film, Lilo & Stitch is a film enjoyed by both older and younger audiences due to its combination of charming characters and subtler mature themes. Set in Hawaii, the film centres around a family torn apart by death, an alien experiment created with the sole purpose of destruction, and how they built something together: family. Lilo & Stitch teaches younger audiences about the importance of family and how its definition goes beyond blood ties. Older audiences would be able to understand and appreciate the more down-to-earth struggle of the two sisters as they carve a life in the wake of the untimely passing of their parents.
5. Spirited Away (2001)
Age rating: 8+
One of Studio Ghibli’s most well-known films, Spirited Away follows the journey of 10-year-old Chihiro as she sets out to free her parents from a curse that turned them into pigs during an accidental trip into the spirit world. Beautiful and fantastical, Spirited Away has not only engaged audiences by its story, but also through its strong female lead. According to its director Hayao Miyazaki, Chihiro was created to be a heroine that young girls could look up to – someone who was appealing through her strength of character.
6. Pinocchio (1940)
Age rating: 9+
Based on the Italian story The Adventures of Pinocchio, the film revolves around a puppet brought to life by magic. Raised by the woodcarver Geppetto like his own son, Pinocchio is mischievous and disobedient, which gets him into plenty of trouble later into the film despite the guidance of his “conscience”, Jiminy Cricket. An old classic, Pinocchio reflects on the importance of listening to your own conscience, and that wrong actions will always lead to consequences.
7. Land Before Time (1988)
Age rating: 9+
Land before Time is set during the age of the dinosaurs, and features five dinosaur children—Littlefoot, Cera, Spike, Petrie, and Ducky. When Littlefoot’s mother is killed and he is separated from the rest of his family, he and the four children must band together despite their different species and journey together to the Great Valley, a place where no carnivores can reach and where their family was heading to. In this film, children learn about the significance of friendship and teamwork. Most importantly, it teaches a vital lesson about death and sadness, and coming to terms with it.
8. The Breadwinner (2017)
Age rating: 13+
Based on a bestselling children’s novel of the same name, The Breadwinner is an animated film that takes place in Kabul, Afghanistan. After her father is captured by the Taliban, 11-year-old Parvana must do what she can to help keep her mother, sister, and baby brother fed – even if it means disguising herself as a boy. Grim and yet hopeful, The Breadwinner illustrates the gritty realism of war-torn country, while exploring the courage and perseverance of a young girl trying to keep her family afloat and get her father back.
9. Freedom Writers (2007)
Age rating: 13+
Based on the book Freedom Writers Diary, the film follows Erin Gruwell, a young English teacher assigned to teach unruly at-risk students at a high school. Her students are involved in gangs and live dangerous lives; Erin makes it her mission to reform her students, who slowly open to her about their difficulties and struggles. Freedom Writers teaches many important lessons, among them racism and how these problems must be cast aside. In the film, Erin uses compassion to reach her students, who learn how to set aside their differences and stand up for what is right.
10. The Colour Purple (1985)
Age rating: 15+
The Colour Purple is based on a novel of the same name. Set in 20th century rural Georgia, the plot alternates between several African-American women and their respective struggles to become more than who their families and the society wanted them to be. Dark, gritty, and hopeful, The Colour Purple teaches of the importance of perseverance in the face of hardship and adversity. Young audiences would be able to recognise the resilience of the main characters, and how it brought them up and above from the harsh lives they faced.