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Film Mom: Parents Just Don't Understand

I have a wonderful 6th grader living at my house who, for the sake of this very public article, we’ll call Not My Daughter. This girl is 95% angel and 5% sass-mouth. Do you have a girl like this occupying a room in your home? Not My Daughter believes she is capable of making her own rules and says the only thing we give her is a roof over her head, money, a good education, and food she doesn’t like, specifically, chili. 

Since we live and breathe cinema in my house, my thought was to help Not My Daughter realize how good she has it by finding a movie that shows how tough living on your own really is - and perhaps, that way, she could learn a little appreciation and responsibility. Here’s the good news: The Kings of Summer, about three runaways who live in the forest outside of town, teaches us that very lesson. Here’s the bad news: it’s rated R.

And then I realized PG-13 After Earth, which also opens Friday, carries the same message. Father-son duo Will and Jaden Smith crash land on post-apocalyptic Earth.  With his father injured, Jaden’s character - a young teen - is left to figure out how to survive the elements while saving both himself and his dad. Perfect, right? 

Maybe too perfect. Jaden pulls it off. He learns a lot about believing in himself, independence, taking responsibility for others, and that alone, he is capable of overcoming the odds. Wait, this is THE WORST POSSIBLE MESSAGE I could send to Not My Daughter! I need to follow it up with a movie where a 12-year-old tries to live without her mom and is eaten by zombies - THAT’S the movie I’m looking for!


Here are three movies to see with your kids this weekend:

After Earth. Actually, the movie is a perfect metaphor for growing up and is the ultimate Father-Son movie. But, it is edge-of-the-seat intense!

EpicAfter unexpectedly becoming the guardians of the forest, the kids in this movie learn to appreciate their own guardians a whole lot more.

Now You See MeWhat kid doesn’t love magic? This tale of four Robin Hood-esque magicians is truly magical because director Louis Leterrier relies on the power of illusion rather than the power of special effects to prove the closer you look, the less you see. 


What do kids think about these movies? Find out at, where all kids are movie critics.

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