Along with wanting to walk to the store all by herself and going to bed later, my 10 year old has parted ways with her two younger sisters at movie time. She wants to see stuff “for older kids.” To her, right now, that means no animation. Ever since we saw “Soul Surfer,” which the whole family enjoyed, she’s been asking for more of the same. So now, on Saturday and Sunday, she and I have been watching together. Last week, we saw “Whale Rider,” which was amazing, and “The Craft,” also good. Last night we saw “A Little Princess,” which I liked too, but I could’ve done without the repetition of “every girl is a princess!” even though, clearly, the term meant special and worthy.
So, on Facebook, I asked Reel Girl fans for suggestions. Here are my requirements for what I want my 10 yr old to see, which has little to do with what the MPAA deems age appropriate. The movie must have a heroic female protagonist. Swearing is OK, so are sexual references, and some drug use. Not okay: gore, nudity, glorification/ focus on drugs/ alcohol.
Ideally, what I am really looking for, as with animation, is narratives where girls and women are strong, cool, and smart. I prefer not to see a sole girl continually struggling against the patriarchy, where she is told she can’t do this or that because of her gender. I understand, obviously, the importance of that story, but I, for one, am sick of it. Why do my kids need to learn about sexism before they can see girls being strong? Can’t they just see girls being strong? But, that is just my hope, not a disqualification. “Whale Rider” is all this conflict, where the female protagonist is continually shunned for her gender. Again, a great movie, but I hate having my daughters hear and see, repeatedly, at this age, that girls they can’t do something because they’re female.
Also, ideally, girls/ women work together to save the world. I realize this is super hard to find.
Again, the four movies I’ve just seen that make Reel Girl’s list:
A Little Princess
We have also seen “Hunger Games” together. This movie makes the list. I know some feel the violence is too much for a 10 year old, but I disagree. The violence is not graphic. I’ve written quite a bit about violence on this blog and how in narratives, its metaphorical, to illustrate intense feelings of “being attacked” or solitude or the world caving in. Humans, and certainly kids, have big emotions and violence depicts that in a way we can see.
Also, in the past we have seen “Avalon High” which is GREAT.
Below are your suggestions complied from Reel Girl’s Facebook page. Please keep the ideas coming. I hope to put together an official list of Reel Girl recommendations, as I have for younger kids. Please do not suggest animated movies, or movies for younger kids, as I have a list for those already. Thank you! So here they are:
Run Lola Run
Man in the Moon
Bedknobs and Broomsticks (Angela Landsbury)
The Worst Witch
Fried Green Tomatoes
Anne of Green Gables
When Billie Beat Bobby
How to Make an American Quilt
A Far Off Place
Cold Comfort Farm
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
Now and Then
Now and Then
Secret Life of Bees
V for Vendetta
Reaching for the Moon
Polar Bear King
Journey of Natty Gan
Pride and Prejudice
Million Dollar Baby
Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken
The Parent Trap
The Miracle Worker
Bride and Prejudice
Because this is a list in progress, I will transfer movies I’ve taken off the suggestions list from above to make up Reel Girl’s official list below.
The movies listed below feature a heroic female protagonist, and, except where noted, get a Triple H rating. Movie with links, I’ve reviewed on Reel Girl.
These movies may include swearing; sexual references, brief sexual encounters like making out but no nudity; violence but not gore; brief drug use but no focus or glorification of drugs/ alcohol
A Little Princess
Snow White and the Huntsman