Whether it's your child or yourself, some of us just need movies that are sweet and fun with a minimum of suspense and scariness. And while you can always fast forward through the scary parts, or pause to have a discussion about upsetting storylines, some days call for films that are soothing and kind.
So for your next family movie night pop some popcorn, cuddle up together, and try these gentle stories that everyone will enjoy. (Meaning they won't put grownups right to sleep. For at least the first twelve viewings.)
The Snowman. Short and sweet, an enchanting story of a snowman who comes to life and takes a little boy on a magical trip to the North Pole. This beautifully animated adaptation of the book by Raymond Briggs is suitable for even the youngest moviegoer.
Kiki's Delivery Service. A charming coming of age story about a 13-year-old witch in training from the beloved and award winning Japanese filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki. A Studio Ghibli and Disney collaboration that emphasizes confidence and responsibility without being heavy-handed or boring.
Winnie The Pooh. The 2011 feature length movie version of everyone's favorite Hundred Acre Wood gang is exactly as adorable and fun as you'd expect.
Microcosmos. A close-up, beautifully filmed documentary about bugs that is fascinating and educational, without being scary or icky. Depending on how you feel about bugs, of course.
The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland. Elmo loses his beloved blue blanket and has to travel to stinky, grouchy Grouchland to rescue it from a villain who needs to learn how to share. Leave it to the minds behind Sesame Street to create a movie that is sweet and engaging for young kids, but clever enough to keep older viewers entertained.
The Muppets Take Manhattan. Kermit the Frog writes a musical and the Muppets take NYC by storm to get it on stage. It doesn't get much better than The Muppets for smart, fun and funny family-friendly capers.
Homeward Bound. This tale of three house pets who are determined to find their way back home does have a few tense moments, but are always tempered by warm humor and a can-do spirit. The only downside to this movie is that no adult in the vicinity will have a dry-eye at the uplifting ending. Even after the twelfth viewing.
Mary Poppins. Music, magic, whimsy, Julie Andrews, dancing cartoon penguins-what's not to love in this fun and fantastical classic film.
My Neighbor Totoro. Another from Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli, this movie about two sisters who encounter a magical forest sprite is simple, beautiful, heartfelt and tender.
Yellow Submarine. With its groovy surrealist animation style, Beatles tunes, and an uplifting positive message about the power of love and art, Yellow Submarine is sweet and witty, and the perfect film for both burgeoning and long-time Beatlemaniacs.
Scholastic Video Collection. There are several of these collections, all delightfully mellow cartoon adaptations of different award winning children's books. Try I Love You Like Crazy Cakes…and More Stories About Families; Bark, George; or Danny and the Dinosaur.
Image: Personal Creations