Movie Night Out : A Film List by Pirouette

Screen shot 2012-09-13 at 17.36.28

Watching movies with the whole family is a wonderful pastime. But it takes a while to arrive! It’s something to look forward to when your children are toddlers and an incredible reward when the kids are older. The Mini Social Blog invited me to put together a selection of our favourite movies, a bit off the blockbuster-beaten-path.  

AGED 3-6

Although watching films with small ones is perhaps a bit less stimulating for the parents, that said there are some great movies for 3-6yr olds : My Neighbour Totoro (Hayao Miyazaki), Kirikou and the Sorceress (Michel Ocelot), Ponyo (Hayao Miyazaki), How to Train Your Dragon, Curious George, Goodnight Gorilla, Minuscule… all of these were viewed many (hundreds of!) times in our household.

AGED 7+

Family viewing for everyone I found is something that really takes off when your youngest child is about 7yrs old. At their age my kids have seen more movies than I had by the age of 16! Movies are a great way of educating children about the world, giving them experience of many types of narrative, and developing their visual literacy. And some are simply an education in their own right, for parents and children. This is especially true of documentaries such as Planet EarthHuman PlanetAnimals are Beautiful People have taught all of us more than many school lessons.

At the top of our list

Coraline: Great story Gorgeous Stop motion 3D animation, music by Bruno Coulais. An American movie with a Eastern European feel in term of graphics. A very good story, just a bit spooky in some places.
Kiki’s Delivery Service (Hayao Miyazaki) : The sweet story of a fun little sorceress and her cat, Japanese style. We know some of the lines by heart!
Princess Mononoke (Hayao Miyazaki) : A great tale, quite psychedelic, with a deep environmental message. This movie blew me away when it was released in 1997. As it can be scary I had to wait long until I could see it again with my last child.
Funny Face : The perfect film to watch with young girls, to introduce them to the fashion world, to Audrey Hepburn and to Fred Astaire.
Pinocchio, the 2002 movie by Roberto Begnini (Director of acclaimed film Life is Beautiful) : This Pinocchio version is apparently poorly dubbed in English. So if you understand a bit of Italian, watch it in the original language; it is very worth the effort! Funny and moving, children will understand even without subtitles.
Lemony Snicket’s a Series of Unfortunate Events; The costumes, make up, sets and graphic design are great. The story and its gothic feel inspired lots of drawings and games for my children.
Jeux Interdits (Rene Clement, 1952). I watch this black and white moving story of a young orphan during world war II with a box of Kleenex at reach. My kids don’t seem to find it that sad!
La Folie des Grandeurs : A French comedy that I have seen a thousand times, since my young years. I am really happy that it is also a big hit with my kids.
The Gods Must Be Crazy: A comedy taking place in the heart of Africa, very funny, also carrying an interesting ethnological/sociological message. By the same team as “Animal Are Beautiful People.
Fantastic Mr Fox : Wes Anderson’s animated adaptation of the Roald Dahl’s book. Delicious.

And also :

The Classics
Wizard of Oz, Railway Children, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Sound of Music, Annie

The Highbrow
Mon Oncle (and all the Jacques Tati movies), Le Roi et l’Oiseau, The Red Balloon, Azur et Azmar (Michel Ocelot)

The Thrillrides
Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, ET, Chronicles of Narnia

The Guilty Pleasures
Space Balls (Hilarious parody of Star Wars), Enchanted (Amy Adams is excellent), Flushed Away, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Les Visiteurs

There are many great movies to see, the list is very very long. Here’s a few more, that we really have pleasure to watch: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Brave, Wall-E, Up, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Rabbi Jacob, The Smurfs, Le Petit Nicolas, Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, The Sound of Music, Lagaan, Arietty, The story of the weeping camel, The Cat Returns, Une Vie de Chat, Homeward Bound-The Incredible Journey, Spiderwick…

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