The new year is almost two weeks old already! Redemptive and family movies continue to dominate at the box office for this week in 2017. SCH Editor At Large Dr. Diane Howard reports her weekly top picks.
During the second week of January 2017, Hidden Figures remains at the top of the box office. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is second at the box office. Sing is number four. Moana and Sully remain in theaters at the top of the box office. Fandango reports that Deepwater Horizon and Queen of Katwe are still in theaters.
Hidden Figures is based on a wonderful, true story about an amazing team of African-American women during the American Civil Rights Movement and Space Race of the 1960’s. It is primarily about these brilliant women who provide NASA with important mathematical data needed to launch the program’s first successful space mission.
As the United States races against Russia to put a man in space, NASA finds incredible talent in a group of African-American female mathematicians who serve as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in U.S. history. Hidden Figures is based on the incredible true life stories of three of these women, known as “human computers.”
These women–as they wisely, boldly, and quickly rise in the ranks of NASA, alongside many of history’s greatest minds–are specifically tasked with calculating the momentous launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit and guaranteeing his safe return.
Dorothy Vaughn (Octavia Spencer), Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe), and Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson) cross all gender, race, and professional boundaries, as their brilliance and desire to dream big, beyond anything ever accomplished before by the human race, firmly places them in U.S. history as true American heroes.
Hidden Figures has many outstanding elements: amazing true story set in fascinating and sad history; good acting; effective use of humor and romance; character role models (of perseverance, humility, determination, and faith); inspiring Christian church, family, and community support, and more.
The three female leads are engaging, captivating, and delightful in their performances. Hidden Figures features Kevin Costner as Al Harrison, Kirsten Dunst as Vivian Mitchell, and other notable actors.
Hidden Figures, which is PG rated, is most appropriate for teens through adults due to its subject matter. Unfortunately, the hard-core administrator, Al Harrison, has one line early in the movie in which he takes our Lord’s name in vain. There are also honest, historic depictions of harsh treatment to African-Americans.
However, the movie focuses on the gracious, strong, and overcoming spirits of the women at NASA and those who support them. This movie is inspirational, redemptive, and hopeful.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (PG-13) has no immoral language or behavior, and is most appropriate for teens and adults due to battle violence, monsters, and 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.
Sing (PG, all ages), an animated musical comedy, is about a Koala Bear named Buster Moons who puts on a singing competition at his failing theater. Sing is appropriate for all ages. It has positive themes that include the value of hard work, perseverance, using one’s passions and gifts, positive family relationships, and overcoming fear. (It has a few light crass elements.)
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, San Andreas) to join her with her comedic sidekick 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 older children through adults. 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.
Sully (PG-13, teens through adults), 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. 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.
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. This movie is rated PG and is appropriate for older children through adults.
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. This movie is rated PG-13 and is appropriate for teens through adults.
Many good movies for various ages continue in movie theaters for the second week of January. The top pick redemptive movies for teens through adults are Hidden Figures and Deepwater Horizon. The top pick redemptive movie for older children through adults is Queen of Katwe. The top pick family movie for teens through adults is A Star Wars Story: Rogue One. The top pick movies for children through adults are Sing and Moana.
Checking out movies before seeing them remains important. There are many good movies but some that may seem family-friendly on first inspection, are not upon closer inspection. Choose carefully and have a wonderful New Year full of everlasting hope.
To learn more about this author, please visit Dr. Diane Howard