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Erica Galindo
Celebrating Food, Faith and Family
Last edited on: December 15, 2016.

As the renaissance and reformation of redemptive and family movies continue, they bring stories about finding the richest love of family, friends and most importantly of our Lord to theaters the third week of December.

Currently, Box Office Mojo ranks these top movies in the following order: Moana, Hacksaw Ridge, Believe, Sully, Deepwater Horizon, The Secret Life of Pets, Pete’s Dragon, and Queen of Katwe.

Fandango also reports that Ben-Hur, I’m Not Ashamed, Priceless, and Laughing at the Moon continue to play in some theaters.  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.) Fandango further reports that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story comes to cinemas December 16.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (PG-13) that has no immoral language or behavior, is most appropriate for teens and adults due to battle violence, monsters, evil villains, as well as some New Age elements. It has worthwhile themes: repentance, redemption, sacrificial love, hope, doing what is right, and finding a greater purpose.  Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is a prequel that precedes the events of Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope when rebels stole plans for the Death Star from the Imperial Empire.

paying chess in queen of katwe - the story behind queen of katwe

The actors portraying Phiona and Robert play a game of chess in this still from Disney’s upcoming film ‘Queen of Katwe’.

Hacksaw Ridge is a comeback Christian movie for director Mel Gibson. It is about sacrificial love and service in the most difficult of circumstances. 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.

Believe is a faith-based movie about Christmas miracles. It is about love in community and most importantly about love for our Lord. The producers of this film are partnering with The Salvation Army for their holiday Red Kettle Reason campaign that includes fundraising 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 continues at the top of 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.

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 Homeabout the latest in the meticulous animation process Disney uses for this movie.

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 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. It is about sacrificial love and service for colleagues.

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 a movie about love for family and others.

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.

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

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. It is about love for family and young people.

Ben-Hur is based on the timely novel, “Ben-Hur: The Tale of the Christ.” The movie has been coupled with the updated ‘Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ’ novel by Dr. Carol Wallace, who is the great-great-granddaughter of General Lew Wallace, who wrote the original ‘Ben-Hur’ novel. The movie and book are timely with their eternal themes of reconciliation, restoration and redemption. It is a movie about the value of family love and most importantly the greatest love of our Lord.

Both this updated movie of Ben-Hur and the 1959 film version with Charlton Heston, used the same Roman studio and location. However, the 2016 movie is updated. Director, Timur Bekmambetov, used 800 small cameras that were placed on the horses and chariots in the chariot race to enable the audience to feel as if they are part of the action.

Christ, and especially his actions, are also more highlighted in this movie than in earlier versions as Christ enables Ben-Hur in pivotal encounters to release his hateful vengeance to experience reconciliation, restoration and redemption. In the earlier versions audiences never saw Jesus’ face but in this movie, the audience sees Jesus and experiences His love.

This classic story with its universal themes of reconciliation, restoration and redemption is especially relevant for such a time as this. See posters, news, trailers, as well as featurettes with principal interviews for the movie “Ben-Hur” on IMDB. See Sonoma Christian Home for exclusive interviews with Ben-Hur principals with Sonoma Christian Home. Ben-Hur is now available for digital download and on BluRay and DVD.

Further, 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. This movie is about sacrificial love.

Jaci Velasquez and Masey McLain in 'I'm Not Ashamed'

Mrs. Diaz (Jaci Velasquez) was Rachel’s (Masey McLain) drama teacher and supporter. Rachel confided in Mrs. Diaz about the mystery of her drawing of the 13 tears.

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. This is another movie about sacrificial love and service for others.

Sully is about the “Miracle on the Hudson” in which Captain Sullenberger saved the lives of all on his flight by landing in the Hudson River. Tom Hanks performs skillfully the everyman heroic captain, Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger.

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. Again, the movie is about sacrificial love.

Laughing at the Moon is a redemptive comedic drama. It takes place in a city loft apartment, where 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.

For King and Country 'Priceless' Movie

James (portrayed by Joel Smallbone) kisses his young daughter goodbye in ‘Priceless.’

Many good redemptive and family movies for various ages are in movie theaters for the third week of December. The top redemptive movie picks in theaters with the common theme of the value of sacrificial love are the following: Ben-Hur, Believe, Hacksaw RidgeI’m Not AshamedQueen of Katwe, Priceless, Deepwater Horizon, and Sully. The top family movies are the following: Moana, Finding Dory, Pete’s Dragon, and Secret Life of Pets.

Continue to research movies before seeing them. Especially during the holiday season, there are many movies that look appropriate for the season but have perverse elements. Buyer beware. There are many good movies and some bad. Choose carefully and have a Merry Christmas full of the richest kind of love!



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

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