Christmas Season Rings in Popular Family Films
Movie theaters bring many new and popular family stories to the big screen for the Christmas season. Many movies in theaters are delightful and inspiring. For the last weekend of November and first week of December, Ralph Breaks the Internet (PG) for all ages is number one at the box office. Continuing in theaters are the following top picks in box office order: the animated, comedic, fantasy The Grinch (PG) for all ages; the new Disney, live-action Nutcracker and the Four Realms (PG), for older children through adults; Incredibles 2 (PG), for older children through adults; and Christopher Robin (PG) for all ages. Two redemptive movies dealing with overcoming PTSD to heal individuals and families remain in some theaters: Unbroken, Path to Redemption (PG-13), appropriate for older children through adults and Indivisible (PG-13), for young teens through adults. Further, Fathom Events offer some special event, anniversary screenings of Sleepless in Seattle and Superman, as well as a special musical movie event with top stars, Buttons. Furthermore, the new animated Christmas movie, Elliot the Littlest Reindeer, (PG) for all ages, comes to theaters December 1.
Ralph Breaks the Internet (PG) for all ages is a hilarious and heartfelt sequel to Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph, in which the arcade villain wants to be the hero rather than the villain. In this sequel, Ralph and his best friend Vanellope go into the world of the Internet after a missing piece for Vanellope’s arcade game. The movie has good moral themes about friendship, adoption, family, self-sacrifice, and courage (there are a few intense scenes). The characters and adventures in the movie appeal to all ages.
Movieguide ® gives The Grinch (PG) its top rating for content and for quality. This charming, innocent movie is about the true meaning of Christmas and how it triumphs over alienation and materialism. It includes classic Christmas carols and hymns that focus on Christian themes. It gives a sympathetic back story for Grinch. It presents role model family members. It is a sweet movie with delightful humor and funny characters. All ages will enjoy this entertaining movie.
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (PG) is Disney’s version of the Christmas classic. It is spectacular but intense. It is most suitable for older children through adults. In Disney’s live-action adaptation of the classic Christmas ballet, young teen Clara (Mackenzie Foy) receives a special gift from her godfather (Morgan Freeman). From there the story departs from the familiar version of the story, Clara receives access to a magical, Narnia-like world, the Four Realms. Here she meets a brave Nutcracker soldier (Jayden Fowora-Knight), the Sugar Plum Fairy (Keira Knightley), and Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren).
Clara goes into another world to return a stolen key to help the people of that world. Clara, who is interested in science and invention, develops valuable character traits: courage, perseverance, and learning from your mistakes. This movie has a strong Christian, redemptive, biblical, moral worldview.
Incredibles 2 is a sequel to Pixar and Disney’s classic animated movie, The Incredibles, in which the family protects civilians when a supervillain hypnotizes them to harm them. Incredibles 2 is another fun, exciting, family superhero movie with humor, heart, and overall moral value (there are a few inappropriate words). It is a movie for the whole family with themes of challenges of parenthood and family life; making good moral and courageous choices; and overcoming screen addictions and harm.
Christopher Robin continues as a top pick movie for all ages. Winnie-the-Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo, Rabbit, and Owl make their first appearances in a live-action film as charming three-dimensional characters. In this delightful, heartwarming movie, the grown-up Christopher Robin, who as a boy has encountered many adventures in the Hundred Acre Wood with his merry band of lovable stuffed animals, has now lost his way. Christopher has become an overworked husband and father who is missing out on family events because of a demanding boss. To the rescue, Christopher’s childhood friends come into his grown-up world to help Christopher Robin remember and reclaim the world of the loving and playful boy who is still inside him. Because of the efforts of Winnie-the-Pooh and company, Christopher Robin, begins to see things from a fresh perspective and comes up with a plan to save his company as well as his job. He also rediscovers the joys of family life, the value of friendship, and remembers to appreciate the simple pleasures in life once again.
Director Marc Forster believes this story has never been more relevant. “I think it’s something we desperately need in the world,” he says. “We could all use a little bit of Pooh’s heart and wisdom right now….The simpler things in life are, indeed, often those that make us the happiest. And in Christopher Robin, we see a man who has lost sight of that which tethered him to humanity in broad strokes, and who is reminded of his better self through reconnecting to his childhood, his own imagination, and to a love of wonder. Pooh say, “There’s always time for a smackeral of wonder.” See my interview for this delightful movie.
Unbroken, Path to Redemption begins where Angelina Jolie’s 2014 movie Unbroken ends. It presents Olympic athlete Louis Zamperini’s intense struggles and journey in finding faith and a relationship with Jesus Christ when he returns to the U.S. This is a heart-grabbing movie with good production values, good acting, and a strong ending. After Zamperini’s return from imprisonment in Japan during World War II, he struggles with symptoms of PTSD that lead him to alcoholism, but he finds faith in the Christ and transforming victory over intense struggles. The movie is dedicated to late Billy Graham, portrayed by his grandson, Will Graham. See my interview with Louis Zamperini’s son and producer.
Indivisible is based on a true and honest story of Army chaplain Darren Turner during the Iraq War. When Darren is deployed to Iraq for fifteen months, his wife Heather cares for their three young children, home, and other military moms. They both face difficult challenges. During his overseas tour, Darren counsels and supports soldiers in Iraq; but when he returns home, he has been changed by the horrors and stresses of war and suffers from the same emotional issues and marital problems as the veterans he counseled. He and his wife fight to save their marriage and family. With good acting and authentic military scenes, Indivisible has universal themes of brokenness, forgiveness, and redemption.
Buttons, is a delightful, musical tale about two guardian angels (Dick Van Dyke & Angela Lansbury), who rescue orphans during the period of robber barons, mills, and children in workhouses.
The film is narrated by Robert Redford and Kate Winslet. It also features actors Abigail Spencer, Jane Seymour, Roma Downey, Ioan Gruffudd, Katie McGrath, Robert Picardo, Charles Shaughnessy, Paul Greene, John de Lancie, and “Nova” a song written by Sir Paul McCartney.
This special Fathom Event includes a special tribute to legendary dancer, director and choreographer Gene Kelly, hosted by Kelly’s wife and biographer Patricia Ward Kelly. Patricia shares intimate, behind-the-scenes stories about some of her husband’s most popular and universally beloved movies.
Elliot the Littlest Reindeer is an animated comedy with good moral lessons about a miniature horse named Elliot who wants to be a reindeer. When one of Santa’s reindeer retires, Santa holds a contest for reindeer from around the world to replace his retired reindeer. Little Elliot is a miniature horse at a petting zoo, but he wants to be a reindeer. With help from two friends, he gets to the North Pole. Elliot and his friends learn that a jealous elf wants to take over the North Pole. Will Elliot save the day?
Although dates can change, here is what is known about the “what and when” of some of the most promising movies for a range of ages due in theaters this year which include: White Christmas, 12/09 & 12/12; Jim Henson’s Holiday Special, 12/10 & 12/16; Spiderman, 12/14; Mary Poppins Returns, 12/21; The Nutcracker (Bolshoi Ballet), 12/23; Walking with Herb, 12/30, and more.
New coming 2019 movies include: Frozen 2; One Nation Under God; Breakthrough; The Penitent Thief; East Oil Texas; Thai Rescue; Roe V. Wade; The Islands; Mowgli; Lego Movie Sequel; Run the Race; Dumbo; My Brother’s Keeper; Disneynature’s Penguins; Aladdin; Toy Story 4; Star Wars Episode IX; Indiana Jones 5; Dora the Explorer; Overcomer; Mulan; Gigantic; CATS and many more. Watch for interviews and insightful stories for these movies on Sonoma Christian Home.
What we see and think about becomes a part of us and affects our mental, physical, and spiritual health. What we see and experience leaves permanent images and memories. It is important that we make good choices in movies and media for ourselves and for those in our care. Look for reviews by those you respect who have screened the movie before reviewing it.
Remember that trailers can be deceiving and may hide some of the movie elements that you would find distasteful and disturbing. With some careful research, it is possible to find good movies that enhance our well-being that are entertaining while also inspiring, uplifting, and edifying, as they show the good consequences of good actions and the bad consequences of bad actions.
Movie theaters bring many new and popular family stories to the big screen for the Christmas Season. Many movies in theaters are delightful and inspiring. For the last weekend of November and first week of December, Ralph Breaks the Internet (PG) for all ages is number one at the box office. Continuing in theaters are the following top picks in box office order: the animated, comedic, fantasy The Grinch (PG) for all ages; the new Disney, live-action Nutcracker and the Four Realms (PG), for older children through adults; Incredibles 2 (PG), for older children through adults; and Christopher Robin (PG) for all ages. Two redemptive movies dealing with overcoming PTSD to heal individuals and families remain in some theaters: Unbroken, Path to Redemption (PG-13), appropriate for older children through adults and Indivisible (PG-13), for young teens through adults. Further, Fathom Events offer some special event, anniversary screenings of Sleepless in Seattle and Superman, as well as a special musical movie event with top stars, Buttons. Furthermore, the new animated Christmas movie, Elliot the Littlest Reindeer, (PG) for all ages, comes to theaters December 1.
Uniquely, each week Sonoma Christian Home publishes the top picks for the best choices in movies in theaters for all ages that are not only entertaining but edifying with quality production elements. Sonoma Christian Home provides valuable reviews and substantive interviews for these top picks in family-friendly and edifying movies.
Please continue to search for and support the best movies for your friends and families. Be aware that the titles and trailers of some movies may make some movies look family-friendly when they are not. Buyer beware!
The best is yet to come when we continue to support the ongoing reformation in content and renaissance in artistry in media and movies. As audiences continue to see good family and redemptive movies in theaters, keeping them at the top of the box office, more good movies like them are being made. Watch for many top picks this year of redemptive movies that continue to improve in the ongoing renaissance of artistry and reformation of content in movies. Remember that the teams of good family and redemptive movies include consumers, who determine the success and wide global distribution of good family, redemptive movies.
To learn more about this author, please visit Dr. Diane Howard