Is it Thanksgiving or Father’s Day? This year’s batch of holiday films is focused squarely on the importance of Dad, giving us a filter to examine our own daddy issues as well as take a good look at ourselves as parents. These films about families are don’t-miss movies for parents.
The Book Thief. Illiterate nine-year-old foster child Liesl is taught by her new foster father to read, write and develop her love of words -- no small challenge in Hitler’s Germany where books are banned and burned. It’s through the eyes of a child that The Book Thief reveals how children perceive the world around them and the role of family in shaping who they will be in that world. (PG-13, in theaters Friday)
About Time. Brit director Richard Curtis delivered a Christmas classic with Love Actually and now, with About Time, has given us Americans the ultimate Thanksgiving movie. Just like his father, Tim has the ability to go back in time to redo less-than-spectacular moments. He realizes, as does the viewer, the importance of valuing our family in the time we have. And trust me, dads across the globe are receiving “I just called to say I love you” calls every time the credits roll. (R, in theaters now)
The Delivery Man. The world is full of men who became dads by surprise rather than intention. But David Wozniak is overwhelmed by the news that the many, many anonymous sperm-bank donations he made for quick money as a young man resulted in 533 kids who are demanding to know their dad’s identity. The Delivery Man is not a typical Vince Vaughn comedy; it’s a sweet film about a man deciding if he should embrace or run from unexpected fatherhood. (PG-13, opens November 22)
Not coming until Christmas, but deserves a mention:
Saving Mr. Banks. On the surface, this is a deconstruction of how Walt Disney got the iconic children’s film Mary Poppins to the big screen. What it’s really about, though, is how the relationships we have with our children affect their lives long after they leave the nest – and long after we leave this Earth. (PG-13, limited December 13, wide release December 20)
Now, here are three movies to see WITH the kids this weekend:
Thor: The Dark World. Hollywood loves movies about redemption, so kudos to this film for diving into Thor’s complicated relationship with brother Loki to show that offering second chances isn’t always so easy.
Ender’s Game. The sad truth is most kids today can relate to being bullied, so there’s nothing more thrilling than seeing a bullied boy use his wits to triumph over his attackers and become the military leader of Earth.
Free Birds. It seems like a wacky premise, but honestly, if you were a talking turkey who found a time machine wouldn’t you fly back to the first Thanksgiving to make sure your race was “off the menu”?