We have expanded our movie viewing recently to watch more family and older movies rather than children’s movies. We have seen:
Heaven is for Real
Our son has a subscription to a Christian kids’ magazine, which gives movie recommendations. This was one that he read about and then asked to watch. It’s based on a true story and a bestselling book. Four-year old Colton recovers from life-saving surgery and starts telling his dad he has been to heaven, recounting details of the surgery that he shouldn’t know and having met people in heaven he hasn’t met in real life. For his dad, a pastor in a small town in America, it raises a huge number of questions. Does he trust his son? Is his account true? How does he respond when people begin to find out and the media are interested? How does his church react?
We didn’t overanalyse it with our kids. We could have. It raises questions about God, and makes people confront the idea that heaven is a real place, Jesus is there, other people are there, and it is good and safe. The movie does not specifically address salvation through Christ alone, but it does only have Jesus in heaven (ie. no representatives from other religions). We also chose not to talk about how much money has probably been raised from the book and the movie, which is perhaps a conversation topic for when they are older.
It was interesting, and one that I think will keep raising questions as everyone thinks about it. Always a good thing.
This was another one recommended by the same magazine and this one was excellent. It’s based on the true story of a dolphin found wrapped up in netting off the Florida coast. Sawyer, a lonely 11-year old boy, finds her and she is taken to a financially strapped aquarium, where she is cared for by the veterinarian and his daughter. The dolphin, named Winter, ends up losing her tail as part of her injuries and a prosthetic specialist is asked to help. It has a great cast in Ashley Judd, Harry Connick Jr and Morgan Freeman, as well as the two child actors.
This is an endearing story for the whole family, we as well as the kids (aged 8-13) really enjoyed it and were caught up in the drama of the story. It has a great feel-good ending, and we were all so thankful Mr 13 had read the review and asked to see it.
Not really a family movie as some bits required fast-forwarding, other bits needed to be explained and others went over their heads. Yet the premise is clever and worth thinking about. What would you do if you got to be God? What does giving people their own free will look like even when you have God’s power? Jim Carrey is so funny visually and the way he carries on completely obsessed about his own life, thinking God is out to get him; and how he then acts when given God’s powers definitely provides food for thought.
It was a bit of a risky choice at this age, but was interesting for us all. I am now on the lookout for Evan Almighty – that is more appropriate for family viewing, and deals with obeying God despite the opinions of others.
Three Men and a Baby
This was a delve way back in the past, remembering some of the movies we liked in the 80s. Three Men and a Baby starts off with the partying lifestyle of 3 bachelors, Michael, Peter and Jack. Then Mary, a 3-month old baby is left on their doorstep by their mother Sylvia who can no longer cope (of course, one of them is the father). Their bumbling efforts in early baby care are very funny, and of course they all fall in love with her in the end. One of our kids didn’t like this one, disapproving of the portrayal of their early lifestyle. I thought “good, you aren’t supposed to”, but what they failed to see was how people can change for the better. Whether or not Christ is in people’s lives, it’s still good for our kids to see that people can change when presented with a better reason for living than just themselves.
Some of us pushed on to Three Men and a Little Lady, which really is very silly, but fun to see the interactions between the unique family grouping - with Sylvia, Jack, Michael and Peter and now 5-year old Mary. We all agreed it was not really worth seeing again, but was a bit of fun along the way.