Five for Families: Courage and friendship in far-off lands

Posted April 11, 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.

In these tales of far-off and magical lands, characters learn about courage, friendship and how to take charge of their lives. Here are five films for families to consider.

iTunes: 'Brave'

Merida is the daughter of a Scottish king. She is a skilled archer who is courageous and defiant. Merida is determined to break an age-old tradition, and that leads to chaos in the kingdom and a curse she must break. The Dove Foundation awarded "Brave" its Dove "Family Approved" seal for ages 12 and older and praised the film for its "themes of forgiveness and continuing to learn in life," adding that its animation is "fantastically executed and the voice work is top notch." The website advises there are a "few jump scenes" and fantasy violence, which may be too intense for young children, but there is also a lot of humor. The film is rated PG for some scary action and rude humor. recommends the film for viewers ages 8 and older.

Netflix: 'Stardust'

A young man promises to retrieve a fallen star. In the process, he enters a magical realm. Parent Previews refers to the film as a “wild, swashbuckling adventure” that “unfolds as a quirky comedy.” Parents should note that the film is rated PG-13 and includes “frequent and sometimes graphic portrayals of murder” and “a few moments of bawdy humor,” according to the website. recommends the film for viewers ages 11 and older.

Amazon Video: 'The Princess Diaries'

Mia, a shy teenager, learns she is a princess of a small European kingdom. With the help of her two friends and her grandmother, the queen, Mia learns what it is like to be a princess. Common Sense Media notes the movie "offers positive messages about the importance of friendship, popularity, being true to yourself and caring about others." recommends the film for viewers ages 7 and older.

Amazon Video: 'Inkheart'

A young girl discovers her father can bring storybook characters to life by reading out loud. It is all fun until they accidentally summon an evil villain. indicates that "it is fun to watch characters ... jump from their world into ours. And it is gratifying to be reminded that we have a say in who we are and who we become." The film is rated PG for fantasy adventure action, some scary moments and brief language. recommends the film for viewers ages 8 and older.

Amazon Video: 'Ella Enchanted

Ella's fairy godmother gives her a "gift" of obedience, but after her mother dies and her father marries a cruel lady, she must find a way to break the spell in order to protect the prince of the land. Parent Previews praised the film’s set design and script for being full of humorous “intentional anachronisms,” but said the real magic of the film is its “strong message about taking control of your life and not blaming outside influences for your wrong decisions.” recommends the film for viewers ages 9 and older.



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