Five for Families: Films show the importance of kindness

Posted November 13, 2016

From left, Noriko, Sosuke, Yoshie, Toki in "Ponyo." (Deseret Photo)

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

Kindess overlooks obstacles and appearances. A little fish, bullied boys and odd but loveable aliens show that no matter how different, an act of kindness can change lives. Celebrate World Kindness Day (Nov. 13) with films that show the importance of being nice. Here are five films for families to consider.

DVD: "Ponyo"

Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Mermaid," the Japanese animated film "Ponyo" tells the story of a goldfish princess who longs to be a human after developing a friendship with a human boy who saves her. Common Sense Media notes the "stunning adventure ... is one of the most kid-friendly films to date, with strong characters and positive messages." The Dove Foundation awarded the film its "Family-Approved" seal for all ages and called the movie "charming" with "some great issues to talk about." The website noted that lessons taught include learning about the environment, being responsible, taking care of others and following your dreams. recommends the film for viewers ages 3 and older.

Amazon Video: "The Neverending Story"

A bullied boy escapes into a mythical land that needs a hero. Parent Previews states that the film addresses the ideas of “using literature to explore real life issues” and finding appropriate boundaries for “growing imagination.” While the website praised the film's “visually impressive characters,” it also warned that some may be too scary for young children. recommends the film for viewers ages 6 and older.

iTunes: "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial"

A young boy befriends a stranded alien and helps it find its way home. PluggedIn calls the film “an enduring, out-of-this-world fantasy that’s still fun,” adding that the film contains themes of home, friendship and love. Although the film shows the importance of patience and kindness, the website cautions that the film contains some profanity and a few crude expressions. recommends the film for viewers ages 8 and older.

Amazon Video: "The Hunchback of Notre Dame"

Based on characters in Victor Hugo's 1831 novel, a lonely bell-ringer and a beautiful gypsy become friends, each showing the other kindness in their way. The Dove Foundation writes that “this family treat is filled with humor, adventure and positive messages,” but warns there may be some frightening scenes. The film was nominated for an Oscar for best music. recommends the film for viewers ages 8 and older.

Netflix: "Home"

An alien race on the run discovers Earth and relocates the humans, except for one teen who forms an unlikely friendship with a fugitive alien. says that "in the midst of fast-paced antics and pratfalls, tykes will find some solid encouragement to look beneath the surface and seek out the heart and unique qualities of the ‘misfits’ around them." recommends the film for viewers ages 4 and older.



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