Five Children’s Movies to Stream Now

This month’s picks include a musical adaptation of a Roald Dahl classic, an animated coming-of-age story and an assortment of lovable farm animals.

Send any friend a story

As a subscriber, you have 10 gift articles to give each month. Anyone can read what you share.

By Dina Gachman

‘Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical’

Stream it on Netflix.

Every great kids’ movie needs a memorable villain, and Emma Thompson’s character in “Matilda,” with her yellow teeth and exaggerated physicality, is tough to forget. Adapted from the Olivier- and Tony Award-winning stage musical, this version of Roald Dahl’s beloved book gives kids someone to root for (Alisha Weir as the brilliant, telekinetic Matilda Wormwood) and a delicious antagonist in the form of a cruel, shoulder-padded boarding school headmistress named Agatha Trunchbull (Thompson). Matilda comes into the world like any cute baby — only, as she tells us in her introductory song, where other children’s parents say things like “She’s an angel,” Matilda’s tell her she’s “a good case for population control.” She finds acceptance via a teacher, Miss Honey (Lashana Lynch), and pushes back against the tyranny of Trunchbull, her parents and any adult who tries to crush her spirit. You might not want your kids to revolt in real life if it means they refuse to brush their teeth or go to sleep at night, but introducing them to a hero who’s a precocious little girl, rebelling out of a desire to be loved for who she is, sounds pretty good.

‘Turning Red’

Stream it on Disney+.

Domee Shi’s animated short film “Bao,” from 2018, won an Oscar; with “Turning Red,” Shi became the first woman to have sole directing credit on a Pixar feature. (It was also nominated for an Oscar.) The movie’s 13-year-old protagonist, Meilin Lee (voiced by Rosalie Chiang), is a Toronto preteen in 2002 who plays the flute with gusto, loves school, has huge crushes and unabashedly adores a boy band called 4*Town. Unlike Matilda, Mei is close with her mom (voiced by Sandra Oh) and has every reason to be confident, but when puberty hits and she suddenly turns into an 8-foot-tall red panda every time she gets excited or emotional, Mei starts to doubt herself. Adults and older kids will recognize Mei’s transformation as the awkwardness of adolescence: a time when our bodies betray us and we just don’t feel like ourselves. Younger kids will just think it’s cool that a girl can turn into a big panda. They’ll also love the poppy 4*Town songs, written by Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell.

‘The Biggest Little Farm: The Return’

Stream it on Disney+.

Talking about the importance of biodiversity and sustainability might not wow young kids or keep them riveted, but adorable, tiny baby animals might. This sequel to John Chester’s feature documentary, which screened at Sundance in 2019, returns to Apricot Lane Farms in California, 10 years after Chester and his wife, Molly, bought a barren old lemon farm full of cacti, tumbleweeds and dust. The film was made with National Geographic, and some of the cinematography is stunning — think slow-motion butterflies and bees in flight, and the family dog, Blue, leaping through the air as he chases rabbits through rows of sun-dappled crops. Kids who have a soft spot for animals will fall for the 450-pound mama pig Emma, a lamb named Moe and, of course, Blue. With earnest narration (including lines like “It’s not just a way of farming — it’s a way of seeing”), this shorter follow-up to Chester’s earlier film can feel a little bit like an advertisement for the farm, but kids probably won’t pick up on that. If you want to give them a break from animated robots or talking monster trucks, “The Biggest Little Farm” offers a sweet change of pace.

‘Secret Headquarters’

Stream it on Amazon Prime Video.

Owen Wilson dominates the trailer for this superhero comedy, which was produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and made for Paramount+, but it’s not really his movie. “Secret Headquarters” centers on his character’s preteen son Charlie (Walker Scobell), who thinks his father travels constantly to attend boring IT conferences, only to discover that he’s actually the most powerful superhero in the universe. When Charlie and his three friends find his dad’s secret superhero headquarters at the family cabin, they do what any curious kids with little to no impulse control would: They start pushing buttons, eventually summoning the evil Argon (an always great Michael Peña). Preteens might roll their eyes at the stilted dialogue and corny visuals, but elementary schoolers aren’t likely to be so discerning, so they might actually have some fun here. Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman (“Catfish,” “Paranormal Activity 4”) are an odd co-directing team for a children’s superhero comedy, but there is plenty of action and just enough humor to keep younger kids entertained.


Stream it on Hulu.

Between Lassie, Old Yeller and Benji, there is no shortage of cinematic tales about the unbreakable, life-changing bonds between kids and dogs. Here, it’s an ex-military service dog named Dakota who helps a grieving widow in Georgia, Kate (Abbie Cornish), and her daughter, Alex (Lola Sultan), process their emotions and fight to keep their family farm out of the hands of a mean old sheriff (played by Patrick Muldoon, who hams it up for dear life). (As a Texan, hearing bad Southern accents onscreen is not my favorite experience, but as a sucker for dogs, I made it through.) Dakota belonged to Alex’s father, who was killed in Afghanistan, and when his Marine buddy brings Dakota to the farm, Kate seems a little too smitten with this handsome soldier, seeing as she just lost her husband a few months before. “Dakota” isn’t a movie for adults, though. It’s for kids who want to watch a sweet, loyal dog help a little girl and her mom. It might not become a classic like “Lassie,” but in a pinch, it’ll do.

Site Index

Site Information Navigation

Source: Read Full Article

Previous post Busy Philipps and her ex use ‘nesting’ custodial time, take turns at the same house
Next post Ellie Kemper to Play Working Mom in Drop-Off Comedy Pilot Ordered at ABC