Let’s face it: It can be difficult to find a movie that the whole family can watch.
Thankfully, though, there were quite a few family-friendly films released in theaters in 2018. Here are my favorite 10:
Paddington 2 (PG) — Everyone’s favorite Peruvian bear gets framed for something he didn’t do — stealing a book — and gets sentenced to 10 years in prison. He then warms the hearts of the prisoners with kindness. Paddington 2 is as good (if not better) than its predecessor. It also is nearly the perfect family film, with tons of great messages for kids (such as: treat others the way you want to be treated). Rated PG for some action and mild rude humor. Live action/CGI.
Peter Rabbit (PG) — Thomas McGregor, the nephew of the infamous Mr. McGregor, tries to keep pesky (and lovable) rabbits out of his garden. This film is not as innocent as the children’s books — there’s too much Looney Tunes-type violence — but it’s OK for most children and includes solid lessons on forgiveness and reconciliation. (It sparked a controversy with a scene showing the rabbits intentionally shooting a blackberry into the mouth of an allergic Thomas McGregor. He then used an EpiPen.) Rated PG for some rude humor and action. Live action/CGI.
I Can Only Imagine (PG) — A boy grows up in an abusive home to write the hit Christian contemporary song, I Can Only Imagine, which was inspired by his father’s salvation experience. The film is based on the true story of MercyMe singer Bart Millard, who went from hating his father to being his best friend. It’s one of my favorite faith films of all time. Rated PG for thematic elements, including some violence. Live action.
Paul, Apostle of Christ (PG-13) — Luke works with an aging and imprisoned Apostle Paul to write the book of Acts. The film is part biblical fact and part biblical fiction, and takes place in A.D. 67 under the reign of the cruel Roman Emperor Nero. James Faulkner (Downton Abbey) plays Paul and Jim Caviezel (The Passion of The Christ) stars as Luke. Rated PG-13 for some violent content and disturbing images. Live action.
Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero (PG) — A dog finds his way onto the battlefields of World War I and helps save American lives. Incredibly, it is based on a true story: Stubby was the official mascot of the U.S. 102nd Infantry Regiment. The film was released during the centennial commemoration of the end of World War I. Rated PG for war action and some thematic elements. Animated.
Disney’s Christopher Robin (PG) — A stressed-out British man rediscovers the simple things in life when his childhood imaginary friends friends — Winnie, Tigger, Piglet and Roo — visit him. It was the second movie in as many years about Winnie. That first one — Goodbye Christopher Robin (2017) — told the story of author A. A. Milne and his son, Christopher Robin. In the newer movie, Robin is all grown up. It’s one of the best family-friendly films you’ll ever watch. It also includes a great message about, well, family. Rated PG for some action. Live action/CGI.
Little Women (PG-13) — The lives of four sisters — Jo, Meg, Beth and Amy — are retold in this contemporary reimagining of Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel of the same name. Just like the book and the 1994 movie, we watch the girls mature over a 16-year period. The result is a moving and hilarious remake that is mostly family-friendly. It includes great role models for teens, and tons of great messages, too. Due to thematic elements, this one may be best for tweens and teens. Rated PG-13 for some thematic elements and teen drinking. Live action.
Nutcracker and the Four Realms (PG) — A teenage girl goes searching for clues to a mysterious gift her deceased mother left her. She then enters another realm and finds not only the answers, but her identity in life, too. It’s an entertaining film with positive messages on courage, selflessness and discovering your talents. Rated PG for some mild peril. Live action/CGI.
The Grinch (PG) — The green, grouchy Grinch tries to ruin Christmas for the people of Whoville but discovers the holiday isn’t based on presents and trees. This new rendition of the classic book is more kid-friendly than previous films — Grinch isn’t as mean — and it’s more Christ-centered, with two Christmas carols heard prominently. Rated PG for brief rude humor. Animated.
Mary Poppins Returns (PG) — It’s not as good as the original but it’s toe-tapping, kid-friendly fun nonetheless. The movie follows Mary Poppins as she returns to Cherry Tree Lane, where Michael and Jane are now adults and facing repossession of the family home. The film, a celebration of childhood and imagination, perfectly mirrors the look and feel of the 1964 film. Bravo, Disney. Rated PG for some mild thematic elements and brief action. Live action.
— by Michael Foust
Foust has covered the intersection of faith and entertainment for more than a decade.