By Sonja Morin, MCFL Intern
Hello, dear MCFL members. It seems that we find ourselves in odd and difficult times as of late, with the pandemic outbreak and our state under a stay-at-home order for the foreseeable future. Many of us have used the free time we’ve been given in this time to watch more films and television. Some of us are stuck, scouring our streaming platforms for good content, or unsure of where to start on our watchlists. To respond to this need, the next posts in this column will be film and television reviews, highlighting pro-life content from various genres and tastes. I hope you’ll find these reviews useful and enjoyable.
Our focus today will be family films. Being the oldest of seven children, I know the struggle of trying to find movies that are engaging and entertaining for various ages. Older kids enjoy stories with more substance, while younger viewers like bright visuals and fun characters. Bridging the gap - and finding a good message within it - is no struggle for these following movies.
- Meet the Robinsons (Rated G, streaming on Disney+)
This underrated 2007 gem masterfully explores the themes of family and human existence in a fun and engaging way. Louis, the teen protagonist, struggles with the fact that he might never be adopted and find a family of his own. When a science experiment and several parent interviews go terribly wrong, Louis begins to lose hope in his dreams for life. In the midst of the chaos, he is approached by Wilbur, a teen who takes Louis to the wonderful future. Louis encounters the Robinsons, a zany family willing to take him in as their own and accept him for who he is. But with the threat of the Bowler Hat Guy looming, Louis must make decisions that will save both his present time and the future.
Adoption as an expression of love is a central theme in the film. Louis attempts to find out why he was given up for adoption, and the exploration of those reasons becomes a poignant point in the film. His discovery, as well as his experience with the Robinsons, depicts adoption as an exchange filled with love. Since adoption is such a central discission in the pro-life movement, this introduction for younger viewers is definitely important. Kids of all ages are sure to enjoy this excellent movie, with its captivating story, bright and expressive animation, and fantastic one-liners.
- Tarzan (Rated G, streaming on Netflix and Disney+)
Yet another underrated animated classic, Tarzan is a beautiful story on the themes of family, redemption, and belonging. A mother gorilla finds an orphaned baby in the jungle and takes him in as her own, naming him Tarzan. While Tarzan is accepted by some of his community, he is still shunned for being different. When a human expedition interrupts the jungle’s peace, Tarzan discovers that he is not a gorilla, and begins to learn more about human civilization from one of the expedition’s participants. Torn between the human and animal worlds, Tarzan must come to terms with his life, and find where he truly belongs.
This movie particularly explores the theme of unity. For the characters, all it takes is a caring heart and understanding to make all the difference in someone else’s life. It does not matter whether there are differences between them, but rather what they are willing to do for the good of the other. These themes intertwined so well in the storyline, paired with beautiful hand-drawn animation and a stirring soundtrack by Phil Collins, make this a worthy watch for families.
- Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who (Rated G, streaming on Hulu)
If you have ever been to the March for Life, you’ve likely seen at least three signs with the inscription taken from this film: “A person’s a person, no matter how small”. This classic story from Dr. Seuss (a Massachusetts native, no less) is brought to life in colorful animation in this flick by Universal Studios. Horton, an elephant who lives in a peaceful jungle, hears a cry coming from a speck one day. Upon investigation, he discovers that there are Whos living in the speck. Despite insistence from other jungle animals that he is crazy, Horton is determined to protect this newly-discovered life at all costs.
The story is simple enough for even the youngest viewers to digest the message, but surely entertaining for people of all ages. The aforementioned message of the film definitely harkens to the core belief of the movement: the dignity of all human life in all stages and forms. While this mission may sometimes be difficult, it is certainly worth it in the end. This movie is a great selection, especially for families with children of varying ages.
We'd love to hear yours and yours families' reactions to these recommendations, or send us a note
with movies in which you've found encouragement, and life-affirming messages.