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What films should my children watch?

(59 Posts)
OutsSelf Thu 29-May-14 00:13:17

I have a 3.5 year old and we don't watch TV. I do like the idea of him watching films though, but it has to be sufficiently non sexist for me and non violent for DP to both agree to it.

So far we've got My Neighbour Totorro, and that is only passing the minimally sexist bar (pathetic mum, care taker older sister, dodgy old woman figure, etc). AND THAT'S IT!

What can he watch and look forward to? I've accepted that I will have to be patrolling discoursing the sexist stuff because I live in patriarchy but only to a certain extent. Like, fuck princessery and heroic princes, and fuck beauty-is-virtuous stuff.

What do you let your children watch? I'm asking here cos I assume you more or less have my values wrt to gender stereotyping...

Yama Tue 03-Jun-14 20:16:12

I love Inkheart. Also, Nim's Island is not bad. Can't remember what age dd watched these.

Dd loves all the studio Ghibli stuff but it's not my cup of tea so she watches with dh.

Ds is almost four and is into the Toy Story films at the moment. In fact, he's only really gotten into films. He can sing every note of every song in Frozen as he and dd share a room and have the cd.

TheSarcasticFringehead Tue 03-Jun-14 20:19:12

Also, I think it's called Hoodwinked? It was great.

WhizzFucker Tue 03-Jun-14 21:53:37 is great for helping choose films for children and highlighting any sexism, violence, homophobia or whatever without you having to screen in advance.

I / we loved Curious George when DS was little enough, but I can't remember now if there was anything dodgy (or any women in it at all...)

OutsSelf Tue 03-Jun-14 21:55:18

Aha, I touted Mary Poppins with a feminist friend IRL and she also thought that the Suffragette thing was more or less a slur. There is a scene where she's basically framed as prepared to hand over her kids to anyone rather than look after them herself. Still, the professionalisation of all domestic labour is quite feminist, yes?

Okay, I'm probably hyper sensitive wrt Totorro. The illness is never disclosed but you'd think it was something tubercular. If you were thinking about it. I didn't like all the wimpyness, 'Ooo, I'm just so determined to get better' <tinkly laugh> and the dad saying, 'That's the spirit!' I've always been very easy to patronise though. That said I will concede Totorro -- and not just because the horse has bolted on this one--

We have Kiki's Delivery Service, the whole, cat-is-in-possible-danger-but-turns-out-not-to-be meant we turned it off without getting to the end. We did watch some of some Toystory which happened to come up on the telly but DP was concerned with the (pantomime) violence between Woody and Buzz. Which I'm realising sounds ridiculous but our kids are tiny and have just never seen anyone fighting like that. DP was shocked by how casual and extreme it was and we weren't 100% sure that DS can sort out the pretend violence and its lack of consequence for plastic stuff. Which maybe he can now? I'm such a childhood development amateur.

So we did try some Buster Keaton, because DP and DS watched some at SiL's birthday party a while back and DP loved that he and DS could watch something together and both appreciate it. It was dreadful, the woman was pathetic (though you had to be able to read the subtitles for the detail of that) and then he blacked up, I am not kidding. So fuck Buster Keaton.

Okay, what do you think of Bedknobs and Broomsticks? I've never seen it. And Chittychittybangbang? I vaguely remember a child snatcher in that which may not suit our little boy's temperament...

ReallyFuckingFedUp Tue 03-Jun-14 22:09:01

I like both as a child but haven't seen them recently... it's when you watch them as an adult you suddenly get that "oh my god" feeling.

Bedknob and broomsticks seems like it should be though.

I go back and forth on Mary Poppins...

MortaIWombat Tue 03-Jun-14 22:09:03

Try one of the early Mr Bean episodes.
The Fox and the child is good too. And Swallows and Amazons is excellent.

Greythorne Wed 04-Jun-14 08:04:41

Chitty Chitty bang bang is a game of two halves. Starts off wonderfully, ends up as a nightmarish journey into the heart of darkness. My kids hate it. If your DC is at all sensitive, avoid.

Greythorne Wed 04-Jun-14 08:09:00

Going back to Mary Poppins....
I don't think the mother is absent because she is a suffragette. I think she is absent because she is an upper class woman of her time with a full household staff (cook, a maid and a nanny).
Her suffragette song near the beginning is FAB!
And it gives ample opportunity to introduce the suffragettes to the DC.

Plus Mary Poppins is a wonderfully intriguing strong female lead.

And it passes the Bechdel Test!

pleaseaffixstamps Wed 04-Jun-14 08:28:12

I'd second/third/whatever Despicable Me. The girls in it are fabulous. (Bonus points for positive portrayals of adoptive families, which has only just occurred to me as I type this!)

Possibly not quite yet, but when he's a tiny bit older, get a box set of The Sarah Jane Adventures. They are every bit as good as Doctor Who, less scary, and are HEAVING with positive role models (but not in an obvious preachy way).

Eg: the heroine is a single mother in her late fifties/early sixties, who earns her own living as a journalist, and who regularly saves the world. My DS has grown up without finding this remarkable at all, but perfectly normal, which I love.

Her teenage sidekicks are realistic but positive, and have included plenty of strong teen girls, who carry the action every bit as much as the boys. There's a really good mix of white, Black and brown teens, and a sort of analogy for an autistic teen who is adopted by Sarah Jane (he's an alien, and brilliant, and there's a bit of Explain This Earth Custom For Me at the beginning). There's some great acting: the actor who played Clyde Langer I expect great things of.

The plots aren't just Monster Of The Week (though there are those there, certainly), but deals well with larger themes of loss and loneliness, getting older (for both the children and for Sarah Jane), change, all kinds of things. It's a brilliant series.

BillnTedsMostFeministAdventure Wed 04-Jun-14 09:08:39

Excellent idea about The Sarah Jane Adventures, ds1 is nearly 7, do you think that's about right?

pleaseaffixstamps Wed 04-Jun-14 09:13:46

I'd say so, depending what sort of level of Mild Peril he's OK with! My DS absolutely loved it at that age, certainly, but other kids (ie me at that age) might find some things scary. Try it out when he is asleep, and if you think it might be too much, just hang onto it for a little while longer.

(Has he ever watched Doctor Who? It's less scary than that.)

BillnTedsMostFeministAdventure Wed 04-Jun-14 09:31:51

No, he knows he's not allowed to watch Doctor Who until he's older wink so he might be interested in the DW-SJ link.

He seems ok with "cliffhangers" (is Lucy going to escape in Despicable Me 2 etc) so I think Mild Peril is ok.

pleaseaffixstamps Wed 04-Jun-14 09:33:34

Watch an ep or two and see what you think!

BillnTedsMostFeministAdventure Wed 04-Jun-14 09:37:12

Will do! I've never seen it, might be nice to watch it together from the beginning...

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Wed 04-Jun-14 09:40:19

Monsters Vs Aliens is great - very strong (literally a giant) central female character and a reversal of 'getting married and living happily ever after' in the storyline plus enough monsters, aliens, chases and comedy for a little boy to enjoy.

BillnTedsMostFeministAdventure Wed 04-Jun-14 10:06:09

I like Monsters vs Aliens but I think it might fail the Bechdel test sad - wish one of the other monsters or one of the soldiers had been female.

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Wed 04-Jun-14 10:47:21

Yeah that's true. It seems that whenever there is a "strong female lead" - she must be surrounded by men as compensation eg Ripley, Lara Croft etc

ReallyFuckingFedUp Wed 04-Jun-14 14:37:27

Finding Nemo is quite good. It's not specifically feminist but it isn't unfeminsit, iyswim

OutsSelf Thu 05-Jun-14 10:06:32

Not-feminist is fine! It's not that I want the films to be feminist, I just don't want them to be sexist. It's actually quite a low bar that Hollywood is insistently tripping over....

ReallyFuckingFedUp Thu 05-Jun-14 10:12:38

Then Nemo is pretty good. It's not sexist (the mother is dead in typical disney style though) the dads all do the school run that sort of thing. Unlikely to pass Bechdel but a nice movie.

schoolrunfiend Tue 10-Jun-14 00:09:01

Apologies if I missed someone already saying this (it's late!!) But have you looked at the bechdel test website - rates films by following criteria: (1) it has to have at least two women in it, who (2) talk to each other, about (3) something besides a man.
Wryly amusing and then terrifying when you realise how few mainstream films actually manage all 3!

gamescompendium Tue 10-Jun-14 21:19:29

101 Dalmations is pretty good from a 'several female human characters' viewpoint but the dogs are mainly male. We watched 'Hoodwinked' at the weekend and it is pretty fab, there's a good story arc about Red and her Grandmother.

I think Bedknobs and Broomsticks is OK from a Bechdal Test viewpoint but there's some dodgy sexism or racism in there. I'm vague because I've not seen it since I was a child, I suspect that comes from commonsensemedia which is excellent at telling you if there is anything dodgy in a film, although since it's American they are very uptight about nudity, the wonderful film Babies gets negative reviews because (shockingly!) it shows small babies being BF.

OutsSelf Thu 12-Jun-14 00:23:44

Right, we.tried Finding Nemo, he wept from the start and we ended up.skipping to the end for the reunification, and putting Totoro on. I'm reminded of.myself weeping through Lassie as a kid. It seemed quite cathartic though, he gave up all attempts to injure the baby/ start a fight with a parent for.the rest of the day

Maybe he is just too young, I don't even know why I've become mildly obsessed by the need to "solve" this problem. No screen is fine, right? Mad how difficult it is, and interesting to watch stuff through the eyes of an innocent...

ReallyFuckingFedUp Thu 12-Jun-14 08:05:45

blush I'm so sorry.

The shark dead mother bit is really only the first 10 minutes you could easily fast forward through that and be out the other side.

I didn't even think to warn you, sorry. although it is Disney and dead mothers are kind of their "thing"

ReallyFuckingFedUp Thu 12-Jun-14 08:07:05

I weep openly through the first ten minutes of Up, but luckily that goes completely over Children's heads. (Infertility and then the wife dies)

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