Avoiding movies anywhere on the continuum of harmful content today – which includes subtle deception and error to blatant bad role models – is an increasing challenge. Researching movies before seeing them is more and more critical for viewers and families who want to guard their hearts and minds, and those of their loved ones. Reading careful reviews by Christian movie leaders who have screened the movies and studied the work and philosophies of the movie makers is increasing important. Often today, movies that seem innocent on the surface are not.
Fortunately, good redemptive family movies that entertain but also edify, enrich, educate, and enlighten without subtle error are available and prevail over time.
This is true of movies in theaters for the last week of week of March. The best picks for this week for redemptive family movies are the following: Hidden Figures, A United Kingdom, The Lego Batman Movie, Sing, and Moana. These are better picks for artistry and content without subtly deceptive elements that can lead to harmful thinking and behavior.
A good example of a movie that entertains but also edifies, enriches, educates, and enlightens, while persisting at the top of the box office the last week of March, is Hidden Figures. It has earned many SAG, Movieguide ®, and Oscar honors, and is based on an amazing true story about an outstanding 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 female mathematicians who serve as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in U.S. history. Hidden Figures is based on the incredible real-life stories of three of these women, known as “human computers.”
These women wisely, boldly, and quickly rise in the ranks of NASA, alongside many of history’s greatest minds. They 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 the history of 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, 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. Fortunately, the movie shows the growth of harsh figures towards respect.
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.
Another powerful, profound movie still in theaters the second week of March is A United Kingdom. The real history of this movie is set in the amazing historical Christian legacy of Botswana, which is one of the most modern, democratic, successful countries in Africa, having overcome many hard obstacles as a role model to the rest of the world, including the USA.
A United Kingdom is a moving and captivating David Oyelowo (Selma, Queen of Katwe, Captive) movie. This film with Oyelowo’s superb, multi-faceted performance is a significant movie for such a time as this. This movie is based on complex Christian, political, British and African history, which has important lessons for our time. It is a love story caught in political British and African history after WWII.
David Oyelowo is one of the best actors of our generation and his movies are valuable. This beautiful PG-13 movie is another top pick for March. See the profound, wonderful story and interview with David Oyelowo for A United Kingdom on Sonoma Christian Home, which covers the Christian legacy of Botswana as a country which has role modeled factors that lead to a modern, successful democracy.
The Lego Batman Movie has been at top of the box office, since its release. It is PG-rated but appropriate for all ages. It has good themes about the value of family, love, humility, relationships, changing bad behavior, and more.
Sing (PG, all ages), a delightful, 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 crude elements.)
Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Moana continues strong in the box office going into March. 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 as she bravely battles to save her people.
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. The DVD is now available, as well as Blu-Ray and VOD! The film was released on DVD March 7th, 2017, and online (streaming) in February.
Consumers looking for good redemptive and family movies must continue to research options, study concrete facts about the movies, and use discernment as to which are appropriate for specific ages. What looks like gold can be fools’ gold. It is important that we stand on the solid Rock of Truth and not on shifting sand of relativism and watered-down universalism that does not lead to True Freedom and Abundant Life.
The best redemptive family pick for movies in theaters this week with good role models for most ages, especially teens through adults, is Hidden Figures. Other safer choices of movies with role models for families and all ages in theaters are Moana and Sing. Another better pick as a redemptive family movie for older teens through adults in theaters is A United Kingdom.
One of the best movies coming to theaters soon (April 6) that promotes Truth in a captivating drama also based on a true story is The Case for Christ. Enjoy our interview with Lee and Leslie Strobel, whose story the movie presents, on Sonoma Christian Home. See other stories and interviews on this outstanding movie on Sonoma Christian Home.
Rather than compromising and seeing movies that lead to erroneous thinking and then to destructive behavior, it is best to hold out for the best movies that entertain but also edify, enrich, educate, and enlighten without subtle error.
There are some other outstanding family movies coming to theaters this year by the best of redemptive movie makers. They include The Star on 11/10 and Let There Be Light on 12/24. Hold out for the best entertainment that also edifies and educates. If consumers support the best in entertainment, producers will make more of the best.
Among the best movie review sources for Christian families are the following: Movieguide ®, Plugged In, Dove, and Sonoma Christian Home.
“Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)