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makchic mums recommend: Family-friendly movies

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One upside about this lockdown is that we certainly have more time for movie nights with the family. Here is a list of movies we love that are suitable for all ages.

Najmin’s picks

1. The Mitchells vs. The Machines

It is a perfect movie for family night- sweet, hilarious and heartfelt. My kids, aged 15, 12 and 7, loved the silly animation style- a mix between hand-drawn, live-action and 3-D, done in imaginative and incredibly fun ways. 

One of my favourite scenes was when the technophobe father tried to get his family to put away their devices for a meaningful family bonding time over dinner. It should serve as a great introduction into a discussion with our own families about screen time, and our increasing dependence on technology and devices. (My kids keep calling me out as the biggest culprit when it comes to device-free family time, so I know that it is something that I need to work on). 

As a mother of a teen, I love how the movie dealt with the fraught relationship between the father Rick, and the teenage daughter Katie. Their issues and differences were resolved after both took the time and effort to see the other’s point of view. I freely admit to shedding a few tears at the end.

Take note: The fight against the machines at the end of the movie could be a bit scary for younger kids.

Genre: Animation

Streaming on: Netflix

2. Raya and The Last Dragon

It is wonderful to finally see the celebration of Southeast Asian culture and art with the introduction of Raya, the latest addition to Disney’s warrior princesses. The film centres around Raya and her motley band of ‘fighters’ in their quest to defeat the evil Drunn that plagues the divided lands of Kumandra. 

I love how the movie showcased Raya’s strengths not only in how well she can handle herself in a fight, but in her kindness and her generosity of heart and spirit. 

Themes of grief, loss and sacrifice were explored, but when the movie highlighted the need for unity in the face of overwhelming threat, it felt incredibly relevant to our present times and reality. (Plus, my kids really loved the dragon and the precocious baby in this movie!)

Take note: My 7-year old cried when one of the main characters was struck and presumed dead near the movie’s end.

Genre: Animation

Streaming on: Disney + Hotstar

Lu Sean’s picks

3. My Neighbor Totoro

A lovely introduction to the whimsical world of Japanese animation by Studio Ghibli. Two young sisters discover magical forest creatures near their new home, including the friendly Totoro, who aids them in their journey to visit their mother in hospital. I loved the depiction of the Japanese countryside and the strong female characters featured.

Take note: There are scenes when one of the sisters goes missing which might make a young child feel anxious. However, this is quickly resolved.

Genre: Animation

Streaming on: Netflix

4. My Neighbors The Yamadas

Another Studio Ghibli offering, but totally different from Totoro. It is a slice of life from a Japanese family in ’90s, but we found it relatable today. Different aspects of three generations of Yamadas living together are explored with nostalgia and humour. Scenes of the parents harping on the son to “Study Harder!” and how they ‘forgot’ the daughter in a shopping mall, brought home that parental angst has been around forever. My kids, aged 9 and 5, liked laughing at the adults who were constantly screwing up.

Take note: Infrequent mild references to a ‘swimsuit edition’ and ‘having an affair’. However, my kids did not pick up on this. I would recommend this movie for children five and above, with parental guidance.

Genre: Animation

Streaming on: Netflix

5. Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs and Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2

We loved both films which were deliciously surreal. Themes of pursuing your dreams, supporting friends and family, and working together were strong. Kids loved the puns – “There’s a leek in the boat!”

Take note: My five-year-old found some food-related (cheeseburger spider) chase scenes scary and hid behind a pillow.

Genre: Animation, Fantasy

Streaming on: Netflix

Laych’s picks

6. Soul

A totally enjoyable viewing that is clever, fun and heartwarming for the whole family. It is so wonderfully animated and incredibly engaging, allowing you to talk to your children about finding purpose and passion in life – quite deep stuff, really – but in a delightfully sweet way. As my children enjoyed the film, I found that I couldn’t take my eyes off too – what a pleasure.

Take note: There are discussions about death and what lies beyond it which might be overwhelming for particularly sensitive or imaginative children, but Pixar has covered these serious topics in the gentle and magical way that only Pixar can.

Genre: Animation

Streaming on: Disney + Hotstar

Kimberly’s picks

7. Lady and the Tramp

This live-action film pays beautiful tribute to the animated classic and yet breathes new life into the story. It is wonderful to see the characters we’ve loved before being brought to life using clever CGI and live-action filming. The voice actors did a brilliant job lending their charm as the roguish Tramp and the refined Lady, with both characters learning to set aside their prejudices as they fall in love.

There’s also the joy of seeing that classic ‘spaghetti kiss’ scene – so adorable!

Take note: It’s a pretty family-friendly affair, although the little ones might feel a little scared during scenes involving Lady and the Tramp chasing the rat that is threatening to harm the Darlings’ baby.

Genre: Live-Action, Kids

Streaming on: Disney + Hotstar

8. How to Train Your Dragon

I love that this movie is based on a book by Cressida Cowell and is a movie that is filled with heart, humour and poignancy. My 4-year-old son who is big on dragons loved seeing how humans and dragons bridged their gap of mistrust and learned to love and respect each other. The main character, Hiccup, is a misfit and it’s wonderful to see his brains trump over brawn as he changes the culture of his village, Berk.

The voice cast is pitch-perfect, the characters are memorable and the relationship between Hiccup and his dragon, Toothless is one of the most touching things to see. The rest of the series is equally as good, so definitely worth tuning in!

Take note: There’s a fair amount of suspense and some intense battle scenes, but they’re largely manageable.

Genre: Animation

Streaming on: Netflix

Liyana’s picks

9. Paddington 1 and Paddington 2

The movie is about Paddington, a marmalade-loving bear from Peru and his misadventures after moving to London in search of a new home. I am not usually a fan of movies with CGI characters, but Paddington feels genuinely believable!

I found Paddington’s gentle nature and how he always sees the good in others truly endearing. I love that the movie encourages politeness which is certainly rare in movies these days (I am always using Paddington when reminding my kids – aged 6, 4 and 2 – to talk politely.) In all, it is a delightful film that will charm children and adults alike.

Genre: Comedy, Adventure

Streaming on: Netflix

Sheryl’s picks

10. Benji

What I like most about the movie is that it teaches kids compassion. Both my 7-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter teared when Benji’s mum was taken away at the start of the movie. I had to convince them that there was a happy ending. And they loved it!

Genre: Children’s Film, Drama

Streaming on: Netflix

11. Night At The Museum 1, 2 and 3

The three films centre around Larry Daley, a night watchman and his misadventures in the museums. Each film is set in different museums featuring different historical characters.

The movies were an entertaining introduction to world history. The kids and I had numerous conversations on the various characters such as Theodore Roosevelt, Pharaohs, Amelia Earhart, and many more!  We have also been talking about visiting the museums when this pandemic is over. Can’t wait!

Take note: The films contains brief rude humour and some scenes may be scary for young kids.

Genre: Fantasy, Comedy

Streaming on: Disney + Hotstar

From our team of purposeful, multi-faceted mummies. For editorial or general enquiries, email to us at hello@makchic.com.