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Erica Galindo
Celebrating Food, Faith and Family
Last edited on: November 23, 2016.

During the Thanksgiving Season there are many good redemptive and family movies, which are appropriate for a range of ages, in theaters, that give us a heart of gratitude and entertain us with what is excellent and praiseworthy: true, honorable, right,  pure,  lovely, and admirable (The Bible).

Here they as the box office currently ranks them: Moana, Hacksaw Ridge, The Secret Life of Pets, Sully, Deepwater Horizon, Pete’s Dragon, Finding Dory, Queen of Katwe, I’m Not Ashamed, Priceless, and Greater. Sonoma Christian Home presents many stories, interviews, and reviews for these movies. (Use the search engine on Sonoma Christian Home to read more about these movies.)

Walt Disney Animation Studios presents Moana, an amazing animated, action-packed movie with realistically fast-moving water in an ocean adventure story. Most importantly, Moana is also about love for family, friends, and community. A significant theme is about social responsibility.  Moana is a good role model for young people.

new movies that inspire gratitude

The sweeping CG-animated fantasy adventure based on Polynesian folklore and legends, follows the heroic journey of a Polynesian teenage girl to save Polynesian life and culture from annihilation. Drawn to the ocean (which guides and protects her as an anthropomorphic character), Moana (voiced by Auli’i Cravalho) convinces the comedic demigod (half god, half human) Maui (voiced by Dwayne Johnson-Fast and Furious 6, The Tooth Fairy) to join her with her comedic side-kick on her mission.

Reluctantly Maui helps Moana on her quest to be a master wayfinder as they voyage across the open ocean encountering enormous monsters and impossible odds to save the Polynesian Islands.

This is a delightful, entertaining movie for all ages. Read the interview with key animator, Mark Henn, on Sonoma Christian Home about the latest in the meticulous animation process Disney uses for this movie.

SCH Top Picks DVDs Secret Life of Pets movie hits theaters. July brings wholesome family entertainment

Secret Life of Pets movie hits theaters. July brings wholesome family entertainment

Hacksaw Ridge is a comeback Christian movie for director Mel Gibson. It is rated R due to brutal military violence. It is appropriate for older teens through adults. It is about Desmond Doss, played by Andrew Garfield, who is an heroic conscientious objector serving as an unarmed medic during the intense battle of Okinawa in World War II. This movie has received many good reviews.

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 is an entertaining, redemptive family movie with moral themes.

Sonoma Christian Home presents another exclusive interview with the screenwriter for Sully in which he tells about relying on prayer to write the winning screenplay. Sully is about the “Miracle on the Hudson” in which Captain Sullenberger saved the lives of all his flight by landing in the Hudson River. Tom Hanks performs skillfully the everyman heroic captain, Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger.

Heroic plane landing on Hudson river. 'Sully' the rest of the story

Sonoma Christian Home provides an interview with a real Christian survivor of Deepwater Horizon who is depicted as a key character in the movie. This gripping film is about the offshore drilling rig Deepwater Horizon, which exploded during April 2010 and created the worst oil spill in U.S. history. This redemptive movie focuses on the real- life heroes and heroines in this disaster and includes prayer and divine provisions in the midst of danger, as does Sully.

Pete’s Dragon is a Disney live-action movie 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.

Movie poster for Queen of Katwe disney film - story behind queen of katwe

A poster for Disney’s upcoming family film, ‘Queen of Katwe’.

Finding Dory is about Dory finding her biological family. It is delightfully entertaining for all ages. It has no perverse elements and has moral themes.

Disney presents Queen of Katwe. It has received many good reviews. It follows a Ugandan slum girl’s rise from a hopeless future to that of 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 stories and interviews for I’m Not Ashamed. It is another powerful movie about real-life heroines and heroes in the true story of Rachel Joy Scott and the Columbine High School shooting. It is tragic but also inspirational. The ensemble acting in this movie is believable and captivating. When Rachel Joy Scott refused to deny her Lord and Savior in her final moments at Columbine High School, her life was taken.

She recorded her prayers and faith journey in her journal that became the basis for her parents’ books about her life and for the movie I’m Not Ashamed (PG-13). See the Sonoma Christian Home interview with Rachel Scott’s mother, Beth Nimmo, who tells how our Lord prepared not only her daughter, but herself and has enabled her to work with high school students to avoid tragedies in their lives.

Nate played by Ben Davies and Rachel played by Masey McLain, wrote to each other in their journals. Photo Courtesy of PureFlix Entertainment.

Nate played by Ben Davies and Rachel played by Masey McLain, wrote to each other in their journals. Photo Courtesy of PureFlix Entertainment.

Priceless is another heroic movie based on true events. It is about a down-on-his luck man who drives a truck all night to earn some fast money, not knowing it contains human cargo for sale. When he discovers that his “cargo” is two sisters being sold into human trafficking, James must decide whether to walk away or stay and fight for these girls. This movie exposes the evils of the sex trade.

Sonoma Christian Home provides a powerful interview for this movie with Luke Smallbone who, with his brother Joel, are a Grammy Award and Dove Award-winning Christian pop music duo, For King and Country.

Greater is an underdog football story and is also based on true events. This film is about Brandon Burlsworth, who is 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.

For King and Country 'Priceless' Movie

Luke Smallbone of For King and Country and producer of ‘Priceless’ at the movie’s premiere

Many good redemptive movies for various ages are in movie theaters for the fourth week of November. The top redemptive movie picks in theaters are the following: Hacksaw Ridge (R), I’m Not Ashamed (PG-13), Priceless (PG-13), Greater (PG), Queen of Katwe (PG), Deepwater Horizon (PG-13), and Sully (PG-13). The top family movies in theaters for this Thanksgiving week are the following: Moana, Finding Dory,  Pete’s Dragon,  and Secret Life of Pets.

There are many more promising upcoming redemptive and family movies. December 16, Collateral Beauty with Will Smith comes to theatres. Watch Sonoma Christian Home for an exclusive interview with writer, Ali Loeb, who is also a Christian. Collateral Beauty looks like a deeply profound film about healing after tragedy.

Disney’s Star Wars: Rogue One comes to theaters December 16. Fences with Denzel Washington and Viola Davis looks promising for December 25. It is about an African-American father who struggles with race relations in the United States, while trying to raise his family in the 1950s. Watch for stories and interviews on Sonoma Christian Home for these movies.

Next year in January, Silence, with Liam Neeson and Andrew Garfield, is about two Jesuit priests in the 17th century who face violence and persecution when they travel to Japan to locate their mentor and propagate Christianity.

Disney animator Mark Henn 'Moana'

Moana travels on a daring journey to save her people.

On January 13, Patriots Day with Mark Wahlberg, about the Boston Marathon, looks promising.  January 20, we can look forward to the redemptive comedy The Resurrection of Gavin Stone and on February 10, God Bless the Broken Road. These movies are both from PureFlix. February 17, The Heart of a Man with producer Brian Bird is due in theaters. March 17, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, is due out in live action.

Other redemptive movies due in theaters in March and April include: Same Kind of Different as Me (March 17), Second Coming of Christ (March 17), and The Case for Christ (April 7).

Family movies due in theaters in June 2017 include: Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (June 5), Cars 3 (June 16), and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (June 26), and November 3, Disney’s Thor: Ragnarok and December 15, the eighth episode of the Star Wars franchise.

Further, for 2017, AFFIRM Films is producing, All Saints and Sony Pictures Animation is producing The Star, for Christmas.

For 2018, the following Disney movies are scheduled for theaters: Gigantic (Jack and the Beanstalk), Avengers: Infinity War, the Han Solo prequel, and Incredibles 2 (animated). In 2019, Disney’s Avengers: Infinity War — Part II and Toy Story 4 (animated) are scheduled.

Many other promising family and redemptive movies are in development for theaters: Do You Believe 2The Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Magician’s NephewTen CommandmentsKing DavidApostle Paul (with Hugh Jackman), Pontius PilateButterfly CircusThe Adventures of Tintin 2Touchdown on the Tundra, and The Passion of the Christ 2.

Continue to research movie choices before you see them. Many movies that may look initially enticing may not be appropriate. Enjoy a Happy Thanksgiving and holiday season with uplifting movies.


To find out more about this author, please visit Dr. Diane Howard


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