Five for Families: Characters who break down barriers

Posted April 16, 2016

Here are five movies from various platforms families may want to consider, as recommended by Because not all are appropriate for younger children, age recommendations are included.

Baseball legend Jackie Robinson is known for breaking down barriers, a theme that is common in film. From real people who fought for equality to a beast and poor boy who hope for a better life, films show the importance of breaking down those barriers. In honor of Jackie Robinson Day on April 15, here are five films for families to consider that contain themes of overcoming obstacles.

Amazon Video: '42'

The movie "42" is based on the life of Jackie Robinson, the first African-American to play Major League Baseball. It follows his relationship with the Brooklyn Dodgers’ general manager as they stand against prejudice and change the game. calls "42" an “inspirational, superb movie” that shows how the two men “helped end racism in professional baseball.” The website praised the film’s depiction of strong Christian values and the healthy marriage between Jackie and his wife, but also cautions “there is a fair amount of foul language and some racial epithets.” The film is rated PG-13 for thematic elements including language. recommends the film for viewers ages 13 and older.

Amazon Video: 'Soul Surfer'

This is the inspiring, true story of Bethany Hamilton who lost her arm in a shark attack when she was 13 years old. "Soul Surfer" explores Hamilton’s struggle as she searches for purpose in her life and learns how to surf again. The Dove Foundation awarded the film its Dove “Family-Approved” seal for all ages and also the “2011 Crystal Dove Seal Award Winner for Best Drama,” calling it “one of few truly uplifting family films released by a major Hollywood studio in recent memory.” Common Sense Media notes that “the main character is an extremely positive role model, responding to tragedy with grace and kindness instead of bitterness.” The film is rated PG for an intense accident sequence and some thematic material. recommends the film for viewers ages 8 and older.

Amazon Video: 'Beauty and the Beast'

An enchanted prince is imprisoned in the form of a beast, who’s only hope of escape is love. Parent Previews praised the film for its animation, adding that it also “demonstrates the value of loyalty and sacrifice and the need to look beneath the surface of people to appreciate the qualities found within.” The website notes that a few parts may be frightening for young children. recommends the film for viewers ages 5 and older.

iTunes: 'Amazing Grace'

In this historical drama, English reformer William Wilberforce works for the abolition of slavery. He becomes the rallying voice in the British Parliament to promote the cause that led to the first anti-slavery bill in 1807. The Dove Foundation awarded the film its "Family-Approved" seal for ages 12 and over and notes that "Wilberforce's Christian faith is the unmistakable motivator in his quest for equality for all of God's children." The film is rated PG for thematic material involving slavery and some mild language, including racial slurs. recommends the film for viewers ages 7 and older

Amazon Video: 'Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory'

This musical, based on Roald Dahl's novel, tells the story of Charlie Bucket, a poor but kind boy who finds a golden ticket and wins a tour inside a strange chocolate factory. Parent Previews notes the "story serves up some powerful morals," as Charlie's character and honesty are tested with financial security. The film is rated G but the website alerts viewers of "brief nightmarish scenes" and disobedient children given "bizarre consequences." recommends the film for viewers ages 7 and older



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