I like to watch kids’ movies. Okay, that’s not entirely true. I like to watch good kids’ movies. And sure, part of it is probably nostalgia. But another, equally large part is simply that kids’ movies can be interesting, complex, and emotionally moving. Sometimes, I would argue, more than Oscar-nominated grown-up films are.
For instance, Birdman won an Academy Award for Best Picture last year. And you know, good for Birdman. I enjoyed watching it; I really did. Formally, it was brilliant. I looked for the cuts and had a lot of trouble finding them. But you know what movie really touched me? Inside Out. It’s that thing, that tug on the heartstrings, that really pulled me in and held me there.
This is the part where you tell me that Birdman and Inside Out are completely different genres of film that cannot really be compared to each other. I agree. But Inside Out is not the only movie for the little ‘uns that made me feel something. Just a few weeks ago, I had a lengthy conversation with a couple of coworkers about whether Tangled is a better movie than Frozen. We concluded that Tangled was a better adaptation of an old story, but in my opinion Frozen takes the cake for feminist Disney.
I know everyone is sick to death of Frozen, mostly because of that one song that has caused a raging fever in the heart of every little girl under the age of seven. Even so, I’ll admit I had tears waiting to burst through the floodgates at the end. I have sisters, okay? Don’t judge me. And I love more than anything that Elsa is perfectly fine, thank you very much, without a Prince Charming. Anna gets her guy, but he acts like a real person. He gets worried, and happy, and frustrated, and so does she. Elsa is playful and shy and a little, well, cold. These characters are, I would argue, just as real as the “real” people who waltz across big screens every day.
Anything can happen in kids’ movies. Magic is a real thing that integrates itself seamlessly into the world of the film. So you have personified emotions running around in your brain? Great. You kiss a frog and turn him into a prince? Even better. You’re born with hair that has healing powers? Why can’t I do that?
I recently watched The Croods, one animated film I’d been skeptical about. I mean, cave people? Seriously? But I was wrong. I laughed aloud it was so funny. And I almost cried—again. It’s about what’s really important: family, friends, and knowing what you’re good at and embracing that. So sure, I’ll keep trying to keep up with movies for people “my age”. Just don’t be surprised if you catch me sneaking into a movie theatre clutching popcorn and a ticket to The Secret Life of Pets.