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Joseph: King of Dreams

Plot: This cartoon follows the story of the life of Joseph. This movie doesn't pull any punches with the Joseph story and some of the violent sequences may be scary for young children.

Rating: G, best for ages 8+

Any concerns we have: Even though this movie has a "G" rating, the bible would hardly be rated "G" and this cartoon portrays the biblical story, even the parts we sometimes brush aside in the "Sunday School" version of the story. 

Turbo

Plot: Turbo is a speed-obsessed garden snail who, more than anything, wants to compete in the Indy 500. He's a misfit in his slow-moving snail community until a freak accident with Nitrous Oxide gives him car-like abilities, including eyes that light up like headlights, a red-blinking shell akin to taillights, and, of course, speed.

Rating: PG, best for ages 6+

Any concerns we have: The biggest concern is the repeated scenes of peril, in which the beloved snails seem to be in danger thanks to a lawnmower, a busy freeway, plentiful crows, and a car crash. But all scenes involving major characters are resolved positively.

Imagine That

Plot: Evan (Eddie Murphy) is a successful investment manager who's up for a huge promotion. But the same week that he has to outperform his scene-stealing competitor  in client meetings, his ex-wife sends their daughter Olivia to stay with him. As the week progresses, it becomes clear that Olivia's special security blanket, "Goo Ga," and her imaginary princess friends are prescient about business deals. When Evan loosens up and starts believing in Olivia's unseen pals, it looks like he'll be a shoo-in for the big job.

Rating: 
PG, best for ages 6+

Any concerns we have: 
Parents need to know that this Eddie Murphy father-daughter comedy is aimed squarely at families, so expect your kids to be interested. The good news is that it's mostly tame and family-friendly, except for a few exclamations like "crap" and "hell" and some possibly off-putting, over-the-top references/jokes regarding Native Americans and their culture.

The Case for Christ

Plot: Based on Lee Strobel's autobiographical book of the same name, "The Case for Christ," tells the story of Strobel, a Pulitzer Prize-nominated investigative reporter, writer, and atheist who seeks to disprove God's existence.

Rating: PG, best for ages 12+

Any concerns we have: Parents need to know that The Case for Christ is a faith-based drama that deals with issues/topics including marriage, family dysfunction, and the death of a parent; gangs and shootings are also discussed. There are brief references to prostitution. Characters drink, sometimes to excess (one drives drunk on at least one occasion), and there's some cigarette smoking.

The Incredibles

Plot: Everyday life is challenging enough for these superhero parents, especially with a young baby, a super-speedy son, and a middle-school daughter who can create force fields and make herself invisible. Cleverly these super-powers resemble some familiar family roles -- powerful dad, stretched-thin mom, hyperactive jock son, shy and awkward daughter -- and add resonance to this story of family who sticks together, no matter what.

Rating: PG, best for ages 7+

Any concerns we have: Parents need to know that The Incredibles is an animated superhero adventure that's considered one of Pixar's all-time best for portraying mature themes about families in a way that both kids and adults can enjoy. You can expect quite a bit more violence than in many kid-targeted animated movies. There are all sorts of weapons, explosions, deaths, wide-spread destruction, and more.

Find it on AMAZON

The Greatest Showman

Plot: The Greatest Showman is a biographical musical about young Phineas T. Barnum's life as a child, entrepreneur, museum owner, circus producer, and entertainment producer.

Rating: PG, best for ages 10+

Any concerns we have: There is some drama surrounding the movie's interracial romance, which was taboo at the time. But overall the plot and songs are easy enough for kids to follow.

Anne of Green Gables

Plot: In Anne of Green Gables, it is an adaptation of L.M. Montgomery's novel, young orphan Anne Shirley  is sent to picturesque Avonlea, on Canada's Prince Edward Island, to live with a new family.

Rating: PG, best for ages 7+

Any concerns we have: Parents need to know that Anne of Green Gables is generally very faithful adaptation of L.M. Montgomery's beloved novel about red-headed orphan Anne Shirley and has hardly any iffy content. Anne does accidentally get her best friend drunk in one scene, but it's due to an honest mix-up, and there are consequences.

Jumanji

Plot: Jumannji begins with a 19th century expedition to bury a board game of unexplained origin. In 1969, young Alan happens to dig up the game and plays it. The relic materializes multitudes of hostile African animals, and Alan gets sucked into the jungle-world of the game. More than 25 years later two orphans move into Alan's old house, find the game, and start playing, unleashing a fresh rampage of vicious beasts and Alan. Alan is now a full-grown semi-wild man, being tracked by Van Pelt, a crazed, implacable, old-school safari hunter. The only way to return everything to normal is for the kids to continue playing the game to the end, even though each roll of the dice unleashes more attacking animals, from demonic bats to man-eating plants to a ghastly herd of giant spiders.

Rating: 
PG, best for ages 10+

Any concerns we have: 
Parents need to know that Jumanji has lots of thrills and perils but little joy, as monstrous jungle predators pour out of an enchanted board game to overwhelm hapless kids and adults in a depressed New England town.

Matilda

Plot: From the moment she's born, Matilda Wormwood  couldn't be more different from her family. Her father is an unscrupulous used car salesman, and her mother is a ninny who spends every day playing bingo. Matilda learns to take care of herself, and she's incredibly smart. When her father finally allows her to go to school, it's a dream come true for Matilda.

Rating: PG, best for ages 9+

Any concerns we have: Parents need to know that it includes a lot of cartoonish violence, nearly all of it perpetrated by a bullying school principal. 

The Secret Garden

Plot: When a young girl is sent to live with her uncle after the death of her parents, his manner and sorrow leaves her feeling bitterly alone. Neglected once again, she begins exploring the estate and discovers a garden that has become hidden and, aided by one of the servant's boys, begins restoring it to its former glory.

Rating: PG, best for ages 8+

Any concerns we have: Parents need to know that The Secret Garden is a fine family film, with no inappropriate content. Many kids will be drawn into the mystery of the garden and the strange crying in the house, yet be aware that this is a sedate story and may bore kids used to action-packed films.

Find it on Hulu

I Can Only Imagine

Plot: I Can Only Imagine is a faith-based drama about what inspired contemporary Christian musician Bart Millard of MercyMe to write the band's best-selling 2001 song. The movie begins with internationally acclaimed artist Amy Grant, who's considering using the song "I Can Only Imagine" as a "comeback hit," asking Bart to tell her how he came up with it.

Rating: PG, best for ages 10+

Any concerns we have: There's some heavy material involving Millard's father's emotional and physical abuse, as well as a sad (but expected) death and the exploration of grief and personal faith. Christian families who see the film will likely be familiar with the song and will appreciate the movie's messages of redemption and salvation, as well as its themes of compassion, gratitude, and integrity.

Paul the Apostle of Christ

Plot: Parents need to know that Paul, Apostle of Christ is a faith-based drama centering on the titular Biblical figure. It's very violent, with an emphasis on brutality. Much of it is implied rather than shown directly, including repeated visual references to the murder of an unarmed child and the marching off to execution of women and children for a crowd's amusement.

Rating: PG-13, best for ages 14+

Any concerns we have: Paul The Apostle of Christ finds the New Testament figure aged and imprisoned by the Romans. His friend, the physician Luke, visits Paul to write his story, which would eventually become part of the Bible's Luke-Acts.

Daddy Daycare

Plot: Charlie, who loves his wife, Kim, and 4-year-old son, Ben, but has trouble finding time for them due to a high-pressure job in marketing. When his new product, breakfast cereal made from vegetables, is a flop, Charlie and his friend Phil are laid off. Kim has just started working, so Charlie stays home with Ben. The only preschool in town is the snooty Chamberlin Academy, where children in prep-school uniforms study Freud, Portuguese, and SAT vocabulary words. It is run by mean Ms. Harridan. When Charlie and Phil can't find new jobs, they decide to start Daddy Day Care at Charlie's house.

Rating: 
PG, best for ages 8+

Any concerns we have: 
The humor is frequently puerile at best, with occasional profanity.

George of the Jungle

Plot: The live-action George of the Jungle has George being whisked from the jungle to San Francisco. Abandoned as a baby in the wilds of the jungle, George, with the help of his talking ape mentor, grows to up swinging on (or into) trees, cavorting with monkeys, and remains ignorant of the existence of other humans, especially girls.

Rating: PG, best for ages 6+

Any concerns we have: Parents need to know that this movie includes a very tame relationship between George and Ursula. The film also includes poop jokes, flatulence, wedgies, and similar potty humor.

The Prince of Egypt

Plot: Dreamworks SKG's first animated feature is a respectful retelling of the story of Moses. The movie takes some liberties with the story, with Moses and Ramses  raised as brothers who love each other deeply. But Moses learns that he was born a slave and that the man he loves and respects as his father, the Pharaoh Seti, once ordered the murder of the slave babies.

Rating: PG, best for ages 8+

Any concerns we have: There are scenes of slaves being whipped, hit, and verbally and physically abused. There are depictions of babies dropped and thrown into crocodile-infested waters.

Find it on Disney +

Toy Story

Plot: Toy Story follows the adventures of the toys who belong to a boy named Andy. His favorite is a sheriff from the Old West named Woody, who acts as the leader of the rest of Andy's toys -- including a skittish Tyrannosaurus Rex and Mr. Potato Head. All is going well until Andy gets a very special birthday present: a toy spaceman named Buzz Lightyear.

Rating: PG, best for ages 5+

Any concerns we have: All of the dynamics behind sibling rivalry are here as well, so if your kids are going through that, this is a perfect movie to have them watch together. Kids may be scared by Andy's next-door neighbor Sid, who has a mean laugh and mutilates toys for fun -- but he does get a mild comeuppance.

Annie

Plot: In 1933 Manhattan, feisty 11-year-old Annie lives in an orphanage run by the dastardly Miss Hannigan, and dreams of someday finding her real parents. When Annie is invited to the home of billionaire Oliver "Daddy" Warbucks, the plucky orphan wins the tycoon's heart and he offers to adopt her. She resists, however, still determined to be reunited with her real parents.

Rating: PG, best for ages 6+

Any concerns we have: There's some verbal bullying from the other orphans, especially toward the youngest and smallest girl, and taunting toward orphans such as Annie, who believe their parents are still alive.

Remember the Titans

Plot: It's important to know for Remember the Titans that it wasn't until 1971, 17 years after the Brown v. Board of Education decision, that black students came to T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Va. Every other team in that football-loving district was still segregated. But the white T.C. Williams players were confronted with not only a whole new set of black players, but a black coach, Herman Boone. In a matter of a few weeks, Boone has to make them into a team -- and it has to be a winning team, because the school board is looking for any reason to fire him so they can reinstate Coach Yoast, now demoted to assistant.

Rating: 
PG, best for ages 10+

Any concerns we have: T
he film reflects the divisive nature of the times -- the film begins with a near-riot scene between African-Americans and whites on the street separated by the police as bottles and windows break. The racial tensions of the town -- segregation in restaurants, racial slurs, fist fights in the high school -- are shown to highlight the backdrop in which the Titans must learn to get along and play together as a team.

The Sandlot

Plot: After getting onto the local sandlot team purely by luck, Scotty Smalls  spends a blissful summer developing his baseball skills with help from his teammates Benny, Yeah-Yeah, Ham, Squints, and the rest of the boys. Things take a serious turn at the sandlot when the gang experiences what they believe is an omen that will give them bad luck.

Rating: PG, best for ages 14+

Any concerns we have: Parents need to know that The Sandlot is a lighthearted baseball comedy that teens will love. Set during the early 1960s, it follows a new kid in town who makes friends by joining a local pick-up team. The main threat to the gang's happiness is The Beast -- a giant, slavering dog on the other side of the sandlot fence.

Holes

Plot: Stanley is wrongfully accused of stealing a very valuable pair of sneakers and sentenced to a juvenile facility in the desert. Each boy there is required to dig a five-foot-deep hole every day. They are told it is to help them develop character, but could it be that the Warden  is looking for something that just might be buried in the endless stretch of sand that once was Green Lake?

Rating: PG, best for ages 12+

Any concerns we have: Parents need to know that Holes, based on the bestseller by Louis Sachar, has an edge to it, but it's not as gritty as it could be. Portraying a teen boys' work-camp could give excuses to broach more lewd subject matter, but this movie portrays the rough and tumble without devolving into a gross-out fest.
The Parent Trap
Plot: Twin girls separated at birth who meet up at summer camp and decide to switch places. Their father, Nick, owns a vineyard, and their mother, Elizabeth, designs wedding gowns. Meredith, their dad's scheming girlfriend, hopes to marry Nick for his money -- so Hallie and Annie set out to get their parents back together, and while they're at it, make life miserable for Meredith.

Rating: PG, best for ages 6+

Any concerns we have: Parents need to know that even though it's funny and has a warm heart and happy ending, this Disney remake is about divorce and reconciliation and could require some explanation and reassurance. It's a complicated, unlikely story spun as a fanciful tale: The parents have lied to their kids, neither twin is aware of the other’s existence, and each has been kept from one parent for eleven years.

Christian Movies Worth Hunting Down

Courageous
Plot:  Adam is a police officer in a small Georgia town. When Nathan transfers to the squad from a bigger city, the two of them and their partners, Shane and David, form an easy friendship centered around work and socializing with their families. After a tragic accident strikes Adam's family, he's at first distraught; but then he decides to study the Bible for enlightenment about what it takes to a righteous father.

Rating: 
PG-13, best for ages 13+

Any concerns we have: 
There's no language or sex, but there's more violence/peril than in similar films -- the cop protagonists engage in chases and skirmishes with suspects that end in fight fights and, in one case, a child being temporarily taken hostage at gunpoint.
Fireproof
Plot: Caleb is the heroic chief of a Georgia firehouse. But at home, in a failing two-career marriage, he feels like he's in the doghouse. His wife, hospital administrator Catherine, doesn't show him much affection or respect; in fact, she's secretly attracted to a doctor at work, while Caleb's been caught more than once looking at online pornography. Proud and hot-tempered, Caleb isn't religious, but his father is, so he mails his son a handmade "love dare" book -- a 40-day plan, with Bible quotes in the margins, to do nice things for Catherine no matter how much she pushes him away.

Rating: 
PG, best for ages 12+

Any concerns we have: 
The plot includes mention of online porn (it's frowned on, of course), but viewers don't really see anything salacious. Marriage is portrayed as tough and often devoid of love, affection, or respect, but something that Christians are expected to endure anyway.
Risen
Plot: Clavius, a high-ranking Roman soldier, is given an usual assignment: Protect the tomb of Jewish prophet Yeshua -- said to be the son of God -- who has just been crucified, and make sure his followers don't steal the corpse. But the next morning, the tomb is open, the guards are missing, and so is the body, leaving Clavius to track down the disciples and find out what happened. When he finally locates Yeshua, Clavius is rocked to the core to find him alive and well, prompting the Roman to reevaluate his beliefs.

Rating: 
PG-13, best for ages 13+

Any concerns we have: 
Parents need to know that Risen is a Biblical drama set during the days before and after the death of Jesus Christ; it focuses on Clavius, a Roman soldier who tries to make sense of  seemingly impossible events. While there's no swearing and only a little bit of subtle innuendo, there's lots of graphic violence, in both battle scenes (slashing with swords and spears, bashing heads with rocks and clubs) and crucifixion sequences (detailed discussion and demonstration of precisely what's involved), though relatively little blood overall. Some characters also get drunk on wine.
Overcomer
Plot: In OVERCOMER, high school basketball coach John Harrison is reassigned to the cross-country team, which now has only one member: new girl Hannah, who has asthma. As Coach Harrison tries to adjust to his new, minimized role, he sees something special in this new student athlete.

Rating: 
PG, best for ages 10+

Any concerns we have: 
There's no sex, swearing, or violence in this message movie, but it does deal with drug addiction: A character's past with drugs is a plot point, and there are references to a young mother who died from a drug overdose. While the casting is diverse, there are some stereotypes, like a Black family with a teen who steals, meth-addicted parents, and a father who abandons his baby.
God's Not Dead
Plot: A freshman at Louisiana's Hadleigh University, Josh Wheaton attends his first philosophy class, only to discover that Professor Radisson, an atheist, has a requirement that Josh can't fulfill: He demands that students admit that "God is dead" on paper. Josh, an avowed Christian, won't do it, and takes up the professor's menacing offer to defend his beliefs in front of the class -- and risk failing if he can't convince the professor that God is alive and well.

Rating: 
PG, best for ages 10+

Any concerns we have: 
There's no cursing or sex and only social drinking by adults.
War Room
Plot: High-powered couple Liz and Tony Jordan seem to have everything: a big house, nice cars, well-paying jobs (he's a salesman, she's a real estate broker). But behind the glossy facade is a marriage that's fast unraveling. Tony is mean and distant, and Elizabeth is angry all the time. And their daughter is caught in the middle, her joy eroded by their disagreements.

Rating: 
PG, best for ages 12+

Any concerns we have: 
As a result, the themes lean toward mature territory -- including infidelity, unemployment, and marital discord.