The last week of September there are many family movies in theaters that may look like innocent family movie choices, but actually are not, so it’s our job to make sure they are truly family friendly films. ‘The Magnificent Seven’ and ‘Mr. Church’, both rated PG-13, have a great deal of foul language. ‘Storks’, rated PG, has alternative lifestyle and politically correct content.
Fortunately, there are other family movies in theaters that are more appropriate. These include the following: ‘Queen of Katwe,’ ‘Hillsong-Let Hope Rise,’ ‘Greater,’ ‘Laughing at the Moon,’ ‘Ben-Hur,’ ‘Sully,’ ‘Pete’s Dragon,’ ‘The Secret Life of Pets,’ ‘Finding Dory,’ and ‘The Jungle Book.’
Disney’s ‘Queen of Katwe,’ rated PG, has received many good reviews. It follows a Ugandan slum girl’s rise from hopeless future to an international chess player. David Oyelowo (‘Selma’) plays Robert Katende, a missionary and refugee of Uganda’s civil war who as a chess teacher sees potential in 9-year-old Phiona Mutesi. Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o (’12 Years a Slave’) plays her mother.
Sonoma Christian Home provides an exclusive interview for ‘Hillsong-Let Hope Rise.’ This movie is rated PG but is appropriate for all ages. This is a visually stunning movie that gives fans an up-close and personal look inside the band’s life on the road, at home, and in its spiritual journey. The band talks openly about the ways that God has directed their lives, enabling them to help others through their many mission projects.
‘Greater‘ is based on an underdog, true football story. ‘Greater’ is about Brandon Burlsworth who considered one the greatest walk-on, non-scholarship players in college football history. In his small hometown, Burlsworth is mostly known for his horn-rimmed glasses and genuine character. With the support of his older brother, Marty, and their struggling single mom, Barbara, Brandon walks on to the Arkansas Razorback team in 1994. He succeeds in the face of seemingly impossible odds. This movie is rated PG. It has some college-age and locker room language behavior but is redemptive and appropriate for teens through adults.
Sonoma Christian Home gives an exclusive interview with Erin Bethea for ‘Laughing at the Moon.’ The film, which is rated PG, is a redemptive comedic drama appropriate for teens and adults. In this film, three unsuspecting people encounter something very strange, but they find the meaning of life. This movie is a character-driven dramedy about an eccentric, altruistic woman, Iris, who comes to live with a self-absorbed, compulsive, snobby roommate, Natalie, who is her complete opposite. Iris’s hilarious antics and Christ-like sacrificial love, totally transform everyone she meets.
‘Ben-Hur‘ is an updated version of the classic novel Ben-Hur: The Tale of the Christ. It takes place during the last days of Christ in which Jesus Christ interacts with a young Jewish nobleman, Ben-Hur, before and after his betrayal by his brother. Ben-Hur and his family are betrayed by adopted son Messala. Ben-Hur spends five years as a Roman ship galley slave but escapes after a ship battle. Trained by Ilderim (Morgan Freeman), Ben-Hur prepares for a chariot race to defeat his brother Messala, now a Roman leader. Following the harrowing chariot race, Ben-Hur and his family are redeemed and restored after Ben-Hur encounters the Christ once more as he forgives all as he dies on the cross. This movie is PG-13 due to violence but has no perverse elements. It is appropriate for teens through adults.
Clint Eastwood brings another real-life, inspiring, heroic story to theaters with Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Village Roadshow Pictures’ ‘Sully.’ Tom Hanks is outstanding as the everyman heroic captain, Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger. Seven years after 9/11, the world sees the “Miracle on the Hudson” when Captain “Sully” Sullenberger glides his disabled plane onto the cold Hudson River, saving the lives of all 155 aboard. However, as Sully is praised by the public and the media for his unprecedented feat of aviation skill, an ongoing investigation develops that threatens to destroy his reputation and career. Although this movie is most appropriate for adults with its PG-13 rating for peril and brief strong language (which diminishes the movie somewhat), it is a feel-good, inspiring movie that has unexpected suspense despite the fact that it ends up presenting good news about a real “everyman” hero. Todd Komarnicki, screenwriter, in an exclusive interview with Sonoma Christian Home, tells how he has been guided in his writing by prayer.
‘Pete’s Dragon‘ is a Disney live-action with great heart. Robert Redford, as wood carver Mr. Meacham, brings warm, captivating acting to the movie. His daughter, Grace works as a forest ranger. The mysterious 10-year-old Pete has no family or home but comes into Meacham’s and Grace’s lives. This fantasy, family movie with no foul elements has many redemptive themes: value of the traditional and extended family; angels in disguise (Elliot the dragon is Pete’s guardian angel); needing eyes to see wonders; need to protect the innocent; value of loyalty and more. This movie is rated PG and is appropriate for older children through adults.
‘The Secret Lives of Pets‘ is an animated comedy about what pets do alone at home and in their adventures when they are lost. It has some animal potty humor but no perverse elements. It is rated PG but is appropriate for all ages. It is an entertaining, redemptive family movie with moral themes. ‘Finding Dory‘ is about Dory’s finding her biological family. This PG movie is delightfully entertaining for all ages. It has no perverse elements and has moral themes. Finally, ‘Jungle Book‘ is another live action Disney movie about the laws of the jungle as Mowgli grows up with a family of caring wolves and with his bear companion, Baloo, whose voice is delightfully performed by Bill Murray. This movie also has redemptive moral themes. It is rated PG and is appropriate for older children through adults.
The top redemptive family movie picks in theaters for the last week of September are the following: ‘Queen of Katwe,’ ‘Ben-Hur,’ ‘Greater,’ ‘Sully,’ ‘Hillsong-Let Hope Rise,’ ‘Laughing at the Moon,’ ‘Pete’s Dragon,’ ‘The Secret Lives of Pets,’ ‘Finding Dory,’ and ‘The Jungle Book.’ Make sure to check reviews on redemptive family sites to make good choices for movies in theaters. Remember that what may seem innocent, may not be. Buyer beware.
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