Check back soon for more suggestions!
Encanto: The main theme to this movie is generational trauma, but this might be a bit heavy to discuss with younger children. Still, being willing to check in with them and see if there is anything that you do as a parent that maybe upsets or frustrates them can go a long way! This could also be a good movie to use to discuss the concept of trauma in general and how it affects us. In addition, themes like taking on too many responsibilities (like Luisa) or struggling with perfectionism (like Isabella) are great conversations to have as well!
Turning Red: This is definitely a great movie for discussing themes like growing up, changing bodies, and becoming your own person. The creators have openly commented on the parallels with puberty in general, and this could be a good way to discuss an uncomfortable topic in a way that is both approachable and humorous! Another good theme is the expectations Mei’s mother holds for her and how they have to work together to navigate those expectations.
Frozen 2: I know that most people are over the “Frozen-mania” from a few years back, but this movie really has some great mental health gems we don’t see in a lot of places. The main theme of the movie is dealing with change when you want things to stay the same, and the advice to “do the next right thing” can be so important for when we feel stuck. In addition, the characters often validate each other’s feelings, including anger, which is one that is often invalidated for children.
Soul: This Pixar movie got somewhat buried towards the beginning of the COVID pandemic, but it offers some great, thought-provoking themes that can lead to deep conversations, particularly with older children and teens. Soul explores the difficult question of “What is my purpose in life?” and hints that one’s purpose is not nearly as important as one’s passion. It also touches on the concept of mindfulness, taking the time to really notice the world around us and engage with it mindfully. It’s definitely worth a watch, if you haven’t seen it yet!
Inside Out: Of course, we have to include the quintessential movie about emotions on this list! This is a great movie for a discussion about validating our emotions and seeing the importance of each one. It could also be in interesting conversation to think through what “islands” each person in the family feels would be in their mind like the movie. Is there an island for each emotion there? If not, what could you do to make sure that each emotions feels like it has valid space to exist?
Check back soon! More to come!