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Erica Galindo
Celebrating Food, Faith and Family
Last edited on: December 1, 2016.

During the first week of December, redemptive and family movies lead at the box office in theaters.  Currently, Box Office Mojo ranks them in the following order: Moana, Hacksaw Ridge, The Secret Life of Pets, Sully, Deepwater Horizon, Pete’s Dragon, Finding Dory, Queen of Katwe, I’m Not Ashamed, and Greater. 

Fandango announces that the movie Believe opens in theaters December 2. Sonoma Christian Home presents further stories, interviews, and reviews for these movies. (Use the search engine on Sonoma Christian Home to read more about these movies.)

Believe is a faith-based movie about Christmas miracles. The producers of this film are partnering with The Salvation Army for their holiday Red Kettle Reason campaign that includes fund-raising to shelter the homeless. The movie reflects the power of faith in the face of insurmountable hardships. Believe is about redeeming a broken community through compassion, kindness, service and love.

This movie with its powerful message of hope, encourages moviegoers to serve alongside The Salvation Army to help make a difference in their local communities this season. More information about the partnership can be found here. The filmmakers and their partners believe that stories of faith, hope and love will make a huge difference in our nation this Christmas season.

Walt Disney Animation Studios Moana is currently top at the box office this week. It is an amazing animated, action-packed movie with realistically fast-moving water in an ocean adventure story. Most importantly, Moana is also about love for and commitment to family, friends, and community. A significant theme is about social responsibility Moana is a good role model for young people.

redemptive family movies ring in Christmas

Upcoming film ‘Moana’ expands the Disney Princess world to include Polynesia; Photo Courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.


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.

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.

College-football drama 'Greater' came to theatres August 26th. Photo Courtesy of 'Greater' Facebook.

College-football drama ‘Greater’ came to theatres August 26th. Photo Courtesy of ‘Greater’ Facebook.

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

There are many more promising upcoming redemptive and family movies. On 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.

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.

Mark Wahlberg in 'Deepwater Horizon.' Photo Credit: Enrique Chediak

Mark Wahlberg in ‘Deepwater Horizon.’ Photo Credit: Enrique Chediak

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 appropriate may not be. Merry Christmas! Enjoy the holidays with inspiring redemptive and family movies.



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


2 Responses

  1. Cindy feltes

    What do you think of the movie they’re making called the Shack? I’m definitely not a fan of the controversial book..

    • mm
      Josiah Aviles

      That’s a really good question. The Shack’s portrayal of the Trinity is questionable.


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