Good job, you! You got your whole family in the same room, at the same time, and even managed to watch the same movie together! Bring on the family movies!
But 90 minutes later, you’re wondering what the point was. The string of fart jokes, excessive glitter, and musical numbers that someone deemed “the best family movie of the year” is often vapid, vulgar, and leaves us cringing at what we just spoon-fed our children.
We’ve got your back! Here are 10 of the best family movies you can watch together and actually have a good conversation about afterward. (Disclaimer: They’re not all free of fart jokes and glitter.)
Finding Dory (2016)
Who can resist Dory’s super cute baby fish face? Nobody. Watch this fun movie about friendship, family, and never giving up, then talk about the situations you’re all facing that are hard and make you want to give up. Pray together, and ask God for His courage and strength to carry on! Age suggestion—Everybody!
Galatians 6:9 NLT So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.
The Greatest Showman (2017)
This musical tale outlines a man’s change of heart and a group of outcasts who embrace who they are, band together, and become a family. Help your kids identify how P.T. Barnum changed—what was most important to him in the beginning, and what became most important to him by the end of the movie? What do your kids think gave the circus performers courage to perform and be seen by the public who made fun of them? Ask your kids why they think God calls us His masterpieces and what that means for the way we treat others. Age suggestion: Pre-teen and up.
Ephesians 2:10 NLT For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
The Jungle Book (2016)
Mowgli was just a little, weak man-cub who needed protection from the vengeful tiger Shere Khan. But once Mowgli knew his purpose, nothing stopped him from fighting to save the animals he loved! Ask your kids if they’ve ever felt like the little guy with nothing to offer. Talk about the big dreams they have inside their hearts, and how they can listen to God’s direction and rely on His strength as they pursue them. Age suggestion: Upper elementary and up.
2 Corinthians 12:9 NLT … “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” …
4. Zootopia (2016)
Judy (a bunny) and Nick (a fox) have a lot of stereotypes to overcome as they build their friendship and try to get to the bottom of a mysterious outbreak of feral predators. Ask your kids what they think a stereotype is, what makes people believe stereotypes, and how stereotypes are harmful. Talk about the stereotypes they see people fall victim to—racism, gender bias, ageism—and what they can do to fight it in a way that honors God. Age suggestion: Everybody!
1 Samuel 16:7 NLT … “People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
5. Lego Batman (2017)
Batman doesn’t need anybody. Or so he thinks. Turns out, his strengths are pretty great, but when you pull together the strengths of family and friends, you can accomplish what you couldn’t on your own. After you watch this hilarious, action-packed movie together, ask your kids what they think about people having different gifts, talents, and weaknesses. What do you think God’s purpose is in making us need each other? Age suggestion: Elementary and up.
Ecclesiastes 4:9 NLT Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.
6. Alice—Through the Looking Glass (2016)
Once Alice finds a way to travel through time, she starts a mad adventure trying to right the wrongs of the past, only to find that doing so could potentially end the world of her fantasy friends. Think about the concept of time with your family. Talk about some things you wish you could have changed in the past or some things you wish you could speed toward in the future. Focus on how time and events, tragic or not, can teach you and shape your character when you submit them to God. Age suggestion: Upper elementary and up.
Isaiah 60:22 NLT “… At the right time, I, the Lord, will make it happen.”
7. Wonder (2017)
Auggie is charming, funny, and sweet—in a world that’s raw, heartbreaking, and full of challenges. This movie is full of characters who feel outcast, not good enough, and driven to bullying, and offers reasons behind their pain. But in the end, they’re able to overcome the separate challenges they face by standing up for what’s right, together. Ask your kids what struggles they face and what struggles they think the people around them are facing. Talk through steps they can take to reach out to God and to others when they need help, and what they can do to share God’s love with others who need help. Age suggestion: Upper elementary and up.
Romans 12:21 NLT Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.
8. Beauty and the Beast (2017)
We parents grew up on the cartoon version, and now our kids have a new version of this magical tale of a foolish prince who must learn to love, and the beauty who can look past his flaws to teach him. Ask your kids what they think made Beauty change from hating the Beast to loving him, and how her love helped him to change. Talk about the fact that we are all like the beast before we choose to follow Jesus and know God’s love. Talk about ways we can share God’s love with everybody so they can be transformed, too. Age suggestion: Elementary and up.
Luke 6:27 NLT “… love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you.”
9. Sing (2016)
Pigs, gorillas, and elephants sing their way to fame with a stage manager who can’t keep his life—or his theater—together. It’s fun, silly, and lighthearted, but there are some honest threads your family can pick up on. Talk about the fears that held each of the performers back, especially Meenah the elephant and Johnny the gorilla. Ask your kids what fears hold them back from using their talents or standing up for what’s right. How can relying on God change us and give us courage to pursue the purpose He’s given us? Age suggestion: Everybody!
Isaiah 41:13 NIV “… the Lord your God … says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.”
10. Despicable Me 3 (2017)
Gru has turned from his evil, super-villain past, but lately it seems the universe is trying to turn him back to it in a hilarious, minion-tastic, 80s pop culture kind of way. Gru’s struggle is something that can get your kids talking—what tempts them to want to do what’s wrong instead of what’s right? When does sin look easier than living God’s way, and when does it seem like sin is the only option? Help your kids come up with ways they can be honest and get help from the ones who love them most when they’re struggling. Age suggestion: Everybody!
1 Corinthians 10:13 NLT The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.