Between the food, the entertaining, and the clean-up, some good old-fashioned down time is definitely welcome over the long Thanksgiving weekend. Why not gather together and watch a classic movie? Our friends at the media nonprofit, Common Sense Media, sent over a few of their favorites:
My Neighbor Totoro
For ages 5+
My Neighbor Totoro is a wonderful introduction to the works of legendary director Hayao Miyazaki. Set in 1958 Japan, it tells the story of 10-year-old Satsuki and 4-year-old Mei, who move to the countryside when their mother becomes hospitalized with a long-term illness. The sisters soon discover magical creatures, like dust sprites, that inhabit their house and neighborhood. One day, Mei sees two little rabbit-like creatures and follows them through their forest, where she meets a much-larger version of the creature, whom she calls “Totoro.” Eventually Satsuki also meets Totoro, who introduces the girls to a magical soaring cat-bus. The film’s leisurely pace, filled with sweet little moments and lushly detailed visuals, will charm kids and parents alike.
The Sound of Music
For ages 6+
The timeless family film features rich characters, wonderful music, and positive messages that kids of all ages will fall in love with. Set in Austria during the dawning days of World War II, The Sound of Music tells the story of Maria (played by Julie Andrews), a free-spirited young woman studying to be a nun. When a wise abbess sees in Maria an unexplored yearning for a different way of life, she sends her to work as governess for the seven children of the widowed Captain von Trapp—with whom she falls in love. This family classic is filled with glorious songs (“Do-Re-Mi,” “My Favorite Things,” “Edelweiss, “So Long, Farewell”), sweeping romantic moments, and lots of positive messages, offering generations of families much to enjoy.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
For ages 8+
This imaginative movie, adapted from Roald Dahl’s children’s book, is a treat for kids young and old. Kids will love the fascinating story and richly drawn characters, which include the strange and reclusive candy mogul Willy Wonka (played by Gene Wilder), the singing Oompa Loompas, and cast of colorful children with golden tickets who visit the mysterious chocolate factory. Within the candy-colored sets and sing-along songs there are some surprises and unexpected twists—but the endlessly entertaining story and teachable moments galore continue to make Charlie and Chocolate Factory a family movie treasure for the ages.