Fun for the Whole Fam: How to Choose Family Friendly Movies
Want to spend some time with your family this Friday night? Can’t find family-friendly movies everyone will enjoy? You want to choose the best must-see movies. But you need something age-appropriate for the whole family.
Movies seem to have more sex, violence, and profanity than ever. Family-friendly movies are going the way of the black rhino. Here are some tips to help you pick the best must-watch movies without giving up your values.
Start with the MPAA Film Rating System
MPAA ratings can help you pick family-friendly movies. Sometimes they’re dead on. Sometimes they’re not. Especially with old movies vs. new movies. But it’s a start.
G – General Audiences. G-rated films are usually appropriate for anyone. Most parents would be okay with all the content.
PG – Parental Guidance Suggested. PG movies run the gamut. This rating category can be as gentle as G, plus foul language. Or it can be as perverted as PG-13, subtract the sex. Think Beetlejuice vs. The Incredibles.
PG-13 – Parents Strongly Cautioned. These movies are for teenagers and older. There will likely be some strong language or sexual situations.
R – Restricted. R-rated movies are for adults. The movie will have adult themes: violence, sex, profanity. All your kids had better be adults.
NC-17 – Adults Only. This used to be the X rating. Even if everyone’s an adult, you won’t want to watch this one with the kids. And they won’t want to watch it with you either.
Look Beyond the Ratings
Even with the rating system, it can still be hard to choose. And the ratings aren’t always as consistent as expected. A PG-13-rated movie may be much like an R-rated movie.
Every family has its own values. Where does your family draw the line when it comes to language, sex, and violence? Sometimes the rest of the world’s standards are different than your own.
Do Your Own Research
Family-friendly, must-see movies are hard to find. But you can do it. You just have to do a little work. Like a scientist trying to find those black rhinos, you need to do your research.
Trailers. Watch the trailer. Find trailers on YouTube, IMDb, or movies.com. Watching the trailer only takes a few minutes and gives you a good idea of what to expect.
The trailer will usually tease with scenes that are sensual, violent, or suspenseful. Studios make trailers for a wide audience. Expect even edgier scenes in the movie.
Reviews. You’ll want to find reviews that go beyond star-ratings and the simple, “Awesome movie!” IMDb, Fandango, and Rotten Tomatoes are three popular movie review sites.
IMDb makes locating mature content easy. In the “Motion Picture Rating,” section, you’ll find a “Parents Guide.” This page details any objectionable content. Be aware that you’ll likely encounter some spoilers.
Websites. The Dove Foundation offers quick access to family-friendly movie reviews. The rating system has a faith-based theme geared toward Christians. If you like Bible-based films, check out these Christian movies.
Each movie receives a simple “Dove Approved” or “Not Dove Approved” stamp. Dove.org also provides a review of the movie aside from the parental information. See if the movie’s even worth watching.
Ask Your Friends
Still not sure about a movie? There’s a good chance at least one of your friends or family members has seen it. You can likely trust them more than anyone on the internet. Get some great details. Ask questions that apply to your family.
Choose Your Next Family Friendly Movie
Family-friendly, must-see movies have become rare. But if you prepare, you can find them. Review the ratings. Set your standards. Research the reviews. Get out in the wild, and find that black rhino!
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