As a parent, are you tired of putting up with yet another bad cartoon with fluffy cats? Or watching “Frost” for the 111th time? Here are movie tips for 5-7 year olds who deserve better.
As a filmmaker and parent of a 6-year-old, I have long longed for the day when we would start sharing an interest in well-crafted stories together. In my eagerness, however, I traumatized my daughter early on by showing her “Pippi on the Seven Seas” on the big screen. I then had to reassure her for years afterward that there are no lions living under her bed, in the closet, or in the strawberry land. I also followed up the shock by showing films to which she was too sensitive on two or three more occasions.
Reluctantly, I too sank into the Netflix jungle of cloned children’s series for lack of energy to look for more worthy titles. Often I have heard other parents sigh about the range of movies and series for children. Like me, they have been brainwashed by all these signature tunes.
Therefore, I have put together a list of films I hope to show/have shown my daughter that in one or more ways enchants. Which hopefully inspires with their sense of color, shape, dramaturgy or for their eagerness to show how magical the real world can also be. (Beyond tiaras and recycling stations.)
From the director who gave us “Song of the Sea” comes the Oscar-nominated tale of a father and his daughter’s hunt for the last wolf pack in Ireland. But when the daughter begins a friendship with one of the island’s free-spirited girls, the view of the nature that surrounds her changes.
Strength: Original and beautifully drawn, where each frame is like its own painting.
Age: For the brave 6-year-old with a sense of style.
The Iron Giant (1999)
On a starry night, a large iron robot crash lands on Earth. The boy Hogarth is first on the scene to welcome the creature and the two soon become friends. But how will he manage to keep a 15-meter-tall iron giant a secret from the state that plans to send out the task force to investigate the alien from space.
Strength: An incredible amount of heart about friendship and alienation.
Age: For the hardened 7-year-old who isn’t afraid of guns.
The Penguin (2004)
Exciting nature adventure about the emperor penguins’ journey from the sea to their special mating ground in Antarctica. “They have wings but cannot fly, they are birds that think they are fish and every year they embark on an almost impossible journey to find their mate”.
Strength: Romance and drama for real told by Gösta Ekman.
Age: For the brave and curious 5-year-old, who can sit still.
Insects are among the first creatures our children examine, collect and try to step on. But if the insects died out, the earth would perish. So why not dive deep into the enchanted world of ladybugs, butterflies, mosquitoes and snails?
Strength: The story of our smallest friends.
Age: For everyone, but probably best appreciated from 6 years and up.
Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)
The tender-hearted boy Kubo lives a simple life high above the sea in ancient Japan. As a pastime, he entertains the villagers by creating fairy tales through origami. One day he accidentally awakens an evil spirit and the only thing that can stop it is a magical suit of armor.
Strengths: Original environments and entertaining character portraits.
Age: For the 7-year-old with a sense of adventure
Victor and Josefine (2012)
Down in the sewers, the mouse Josefine lives in a protected world where cohesion is largely based on a contempt for bears. But despite the hatred, she refuses to believe that the bears are her enemies. And then suddenly one day she runs straight into the ravenously hungry bear Victor.
Strength: “An unexpected friendship” for children.
Age: For all ages, but probably best appreciated if you can sit still for 1 hour and 20 minutes.
The Invisible Girl (2017)
The year is 2001 and Afghanistan is under the control of the Taliban. A young girl’s father is captured and in order to continue supporting the family, she disguises herself as a boy. While taking care of her loved ones, she also tries to find and save her father.
Strength: About Courage in a Seemingly Hopeless World.
Age: For the fearless 7-year-old who can handle conflict
The Tale of Princess Kaguya (2013)
Like Thumbelina, an elderly couple finds a little girl inside a bamboo stick in the forest. But she soon turns out to grow as fast as the plant. Everyone who meets her is enchanted by her presence, but she carries a secret…
Strength: Uniquely drawn in a style that brings to mind a well-composed piece of music.
Age: For the 6-year-old who loves color and shape.