America StaffJuly 16, 2021

A simple, well-told story can bear some of the most profound truths. Children’s movies are a perfect example. Because they must be relatable to the young, these films have to make their points loud and clear. That doesn’t mean they are patronizing and simplistic—just straight shooting. The movies that follow are ones that offer basic life lessons for not only kids but for adults. And adults should have no shame watching them, even if there are no kids in sight. (Search here to see if these movies are currently available for streaming.)

‘Charlotte’s Web’: A spider weaves messages in a web to save a doomed pig.
Guardian angels are everywhere. (Joe Hoover)

‘The Goonies’: Kids chase a dream of pirate loot.
Believe in what you can’t see! (J.H.)

‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’: Overwhelmed by the commercialism of Christmas, Charlie Brown searches for its true meaning.
Sometimes the simple things are the most rewarding. (Lindsay Chessare)

Hand-painted Disney: ‘Fantasia,’ ‘Snow White,’ ‘Bambi’ et al.
Hand-painted work = beauty of imperfection. (Deniz Demirer)

‘The Lion King’: A lion cub goes through trials to become king of the jungle.
You can’t run away from your fears. You need to face your demons (i.e., “Scars”) in order to be free and fully who God has made you to be. (Sebastian Gomes)

A simple, well-told story can bear some of the most profound truths. Children’s movies are a perfect example.

‘Beauty and the Beast’: A girl falls in love with a beast.
Living a self-centered life closes you off from others. When life happens and things don’t go your way, you defend yourself at all costs, blame others for your problems, and end up imprisoning yourself in your own narcissism. (S.G.)

‘Pocahontas’: Cultures clash when Pocahontas and John Smith fall in love.
Appreciate creation, don’t exploit it. We are all connected to each other. (J.D. Long-Garcia)

‘Wizard of Oz’: Dorothy (and her little dog, too) makes friends and enemies on her quest along the Yellow Brick Road to find a way home.
Sometimes the things that can make you most happy are right there at home. (L.C.)

‘Fantastic Mr. Fox’: Mrs. Fox tries to convince Mr. Fox to give up his thieving ways.
Trust your family and friends. (James Keane)

‘Open Season’: The animals win one over the hunters.
Friends are God’s way of taking care of us. Also: Be vegetarian. (Erika Rasmussen)

Because they must be relatable to the young, these films have to make their points loud and clear.

‘The Prophet’:A dissident shares his wisdom while under house arrest.
Wisdom from Kahlil Gibran: Life is both more complicated and more simple than we could ever imagine.(E.R.)

‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’: A reindeer with a glowing nose is asked to lead Santa’s sleigh.
God does not play favorites; we all have a role to play. (L.C.)

‘Frosty the Snowman’: A snowman and a little girl protect each other from an evil magician.
Believe in the magic of children, the magic of the Christmas season, and the story of Baby Jesus. (L.C.)

‘Cinderella’: Cinderella sneaks into the prince’s dance—and his heart.
Kindness always wins over vanity and selfishness. (L.C.)

‘Mary Poppins’: Amazing nanny!
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” (E.R.)

‘Alice in Wonderland’: Alice goes to Wonderland.
Brainstorming six impossible things before breakfast will keep you believing in the “impossible” and things unseen, unheard, unfelt. Falling down the rabbithole to Wonderland? Fantastic reality check. (E.R.)

‘Hugo’: Paris orphan single-handedly keeps the clocks ticking.
Imagination is one of God’s greatest gifts to us, our ability to be co-creators in this life. Mystery is entangled in who we are. (E.R.)

‘Inside Out’: Eleven-year-old pines for the Midwest.
Sometimes our feelings feel like too much. Take a deep breath—it’s all in your head! Joy, sadness, anger: being human is a gift. (E.R.)

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