21 awesome family movies you may never have heard of

Penny Zeller, Christian Author
Our family is always on the lookout for wholesome family films for our weekly Family Night. Some of the best movies we’ve ever seen have been undiscovered gems we’ve stumbled across by accident.

The 20 undiscovered treasures below are in no particular order. Some are newer and some have been out for awhile, but they all are must-see movies for your next Family Night!

 

The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry

The Redemption of Henry Myers (12+)

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Finding Normal

Clancy

The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey

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Though None Go With Me

The Gospel of John

Time Changer

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Last Ounce of Courage

The End of the Spear (13+)

King’s Faith (13+)

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Hidden Places

The Perfect Gift

Duma (12+)

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Seasons of Gray

Christmas Angel

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The Good Book

No Greater Love

Christmas Oranges

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Backroads and Lilies

Civil Love

 

For a listing of other fantastic movies, check out my Mom-Approved Movie List.  Interested in movie reviews? Go to my Mom-Approved Movie Reviews tab.

 

 

Movie Monday – Seasons of Gray

Penny Zeller, Christian Author

Today’s Movie Review Monday Movie is Seasons of Gray.

IMG (29)Seasons of Gray is a modern re-telling of the story of Joseph in the Bible. We are introduced to Brady, who deals with his older brothers’ vicious jealousy on a constant basis. The fact that he is their father’s favorite son only fuels the fire, as does Brady’s gift of being able to interpret dreams. When Brady receives a new truck for his birthday, his brothers decide they’ve had enough and take matters into their own hands.

Their ruthless decision forever changes the course of Brady’s life.

But does God still have a plan for Brady’s life despite the horror of what is to come?

Later sentenced to prison based on the words of his boss’s wife, who dishonestly accuses him of assault, Brady is faced with a decision. Does he turn his back on God, or grow in his faith?

That’s not the only major decision of which Brady faces. He’s also faced with yet another dilemma regarding his brothers.

Seasons of Gray has many great discussion points, including:

God’s plan for our lives, even when things go awry (Jeremiah 29:11);

Forgiveness (Matthew 6:14-15; Matthew 18:22);

Being a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17); and,

What was intended for bad, God can use to accomplish His purposes (Genesis 50:20).

While Seasons of Gray is a family film with nothing objectionable, it does contain thematic elements appropriate only for those 13 and older. There is some violence, but it is tastefully done and not of the typical “Hollywood” variety. Regarding the scene with Brady’s boss’s wife, the issue of sexual assault is also discussed, although not explicitly shown.

Everything about Seasons of Gray is well done. The acting is top-notch, the plot engaging, the story line realistic, and the scenes vivid.

Some movies are “downloads” or “rentals.” And some movies are “to purchase.” Seasons of Gray falls into the latter category. With a clear presentation of the Gospel and must-watch bonus features, I highly recommend it as one of the best movies of 2014.

I am passionate about finding movies suitable for families. For a complete listing of family movie suggestions and an archive of past reviews from a Christian worldview for Movie Monday, please go to my Mom-Approved Movies Page.

For an archived list of movie reviews, go to my newly created Archived Movie Reviews page. This page will be updated regularly to show all movies included in Movie Review Monday.

Movie Review Monday – Silver Bells

Penny Zeller, Christian AuthorThis week’s Movie Monday family movie suggestion is Silver Bells

IMG (22)Bruce Dalton works for a local TV station as the sports anchor. With an inflated ego and impatience to match, Bruce expects everyone everywhere he goes to recognize him and the nightly tagline he uses after reporting the latest sports news.

Bruce is a man with a family – a wife, a daughter in law school, and a son named Jason who has lately been distancing himself from his father. Bruce’s selfishness is portrayed in many ways, from “fighting” for a parking spot at the local Kmart to putting his job above the needs of his family.

So what happens when Bruce takes his self-centered attitude too far? What happens when, in his anger and lack of self-control, a ref is injured at his son’s basketball game?

Will Bruce’s punishment finally show him what’s really important in life?

Silver Bells is a great movie on so many levels. When Bruce has to commit to community service as part of his punishment for injuring the ref, viewers get a glimpse inside the Salvation Army and how hard the bell ringers and other volunteers work to serve the less fortunate. Discussion questions abound, including:

  • The importance of family and their needs and why that should come first, after our relationship with the Lord. Bruce is not a Christian, but his son shows an interest in Jesus and church. Bruce wants nothing to do with either.
  • The importance of carrying out God’s command to serve others and care for the less fortunate. Bruce has no desire to ring the bell for the Salvation Army and finds himself in a bind many times regarding his attitude.
  • The importance of listening to wisdom, rather than focusing on ourselves. Major Lowell, the Salvation Army leader and pastor is a Godly man with much foresight. Will Bruce bother to listen to his gentle answers to the problems Bruce is facing in his personal life?
  • The importance of not sinning in our anger and keeping keeping our self-control in check.

Silver Bells has ingredients of a great movie. It has drama, humor, a wonderful plot, and a touching ending. Expect to laugh throughout the 88 minute movie, shake your head at Bruce’s shenanigans, and rejoice in the hope and redemption offered.

Bruce Boxleitner plays Bruce Dalton and gives a commanding performance as a versatile actor who can effectively play either the “good guy” or the “bad guy.”

I highly recommend this movie for all ages. A Christmas classic for years to come, this movie has quickly become one of our family favorites.

I am passionate about finding movies suitable for families. For a complete listing of family movie suggestions and an archive of past reviews from a Christian worldview for Movie Monday, please go to my Mom-Approved Movies Page.

For an archived list of movie reviews, go to my newly created Archived Movie Reviews page. This page will be updated regularly to show all movies included in Movie Review Monday.

Movie Review Monday – Coming Home for Christmas

Penny Zeller, Christian Author
This week’s Movie Monday family movie suggestion is Coming Home for Christmas…

IMG_0003 (2)Kate and Melanie were once as close as sisters could be. Until one day when Kate did what Melanie deemed to be unforgivable. Five years later, the girls still aren’t talking, which is taking a toll on their parents, who decide to separate.

Kate decides to make it her mission to not only bring her parents back together for Christmas, but also to restore the loving friendship she once shared with her sister and best friend. Kate longs for the days when her family was close and the fond memories they shared in a house her parents have since lost due to the bad economy.

But will her plan succeed?

Melanie seems to have the perfect life. She married into money, has a 5,000 square foot home, indulges in spa days, and has a seemingly wide circle of influential friends. But is everything as it seems? When Kate discovers her sister’s real life, will she be able to convince Melanie to make amends?

Throw into the mix a budding romance with a handsome soldier, some humor, the loss of a father, and the sad background of one who never had a family and you’ve got an interesting mix meshed into a delightful story.

While Coming Home for Christmas is not a Christian movie, it is a feel-good, fun-to-watch show that highlights some great discussion topics, such as,

Forgiveness – can Melanie ever forgive Kate for what she did? The Bible tells us to forgive others in various passages in the Bible, including Matthew 6:15.

Importance of family – Kate and Melanie grew up in a family that shared a lot of love for each other. They spent time together, sang together, and made each other a priority. God highly values family.

Grief – throughout the story, we see the grief of a young boy who has lost his father. He’s not the only one who has suffered loss. Enter Mike who knows firsthand all about grief and loneliness. The Bible discusses how we can comfort others after knowing firsthand the way God comforts us in our time of need. (2 Cor 1:4).

Marriage – Can Kate and Melanie’s parents move past their differences and once again experience the deep love they had for each other? Marriage is of utmost importance to God.

I highly recommend Coming Home for Christmas, especially for those mom-daughter nights or movie nights with the girls. It contains nothing objectionable and is appropriate for tweens and up.

I am passionate about finding movies suitable for families. For a complete listing of family movie suggestions and an archive of past reviews from a Christian worldview for Movie Monday, please go to my Mom-Approved Movies Page.

For an archived list of movie reviews, go to my newly created Archived Movie Reviews page. This page will be updated regularly to show all movies included in Movie Review Monday.

Movie Review Monday – Duma

Penny Zeller, Christian Author
This week’s Movie Monday family movie suggestion is Duma

Once in awhile, I come across a little-known movie that is, in my opinion, a “must-see.” Duma is such a movie.

IMG (10)Set in South Africa in the present day, 12-year-old Xan and his father nearly run over a baby cheetah while driving home on an empty stretch of highway one evening. They take the animal back to their South African farm and raise it as a pet. Xan mentions that when you give something a name, it then becomes your friend.  After trying to decide on a name, Xan finally decides to give his new pet the name of Duma, which is “cheetah” in Swahili. It isn’t long before a wonderful friendship begins between Xan and Duma.

One of the things I enjoyed most about this movie is the portrayal of Xan’s closeknit family. Xan’s dad, Peter, is sure to teach his son all he knows about building things and taking care of a farm (which comes in handy later in the movie). Peter spends a considerable amount of time with Xan and, together, they test Duma’s speed by racing alongside the animal with a stopwatch.  There is also a strong love and devotion between Xan’s parents, even when they are in the midst of tragedy.

Duma is void of anything objectionable (there is a situation with “cultural” medicine practices, but nothing explicit); however, there are several intense scenes that will frighten younger viewers. When Xan embarks on an adventurous journey and a promise he made to his father to return Duma to the wilds where he belongs, Xan encounters the harsh elements, wild animals, a stranger, and near death due to a lack of water and food. Parents will also want to discuss Xan’s choice to leave on his own to help Duma find his way back to the wilds, rather than solicit his mom’s help.

Duma is one of those movies that I hadn’t heard much about, but that I am glad I purchased. Themes of family unity, forgiveness, loyalty, loving your neighbor, and grief all play integral roles in this movie. I highly recommend it for everyone ages 12 and over.

I am passionate about finding movies suitable for families. For a complete listing of family movie suggestions and an archive of past reviews from a Christian worldview for Movie Monday, please go to my Mom-Approved Movies Page.

For an archived list of movie reviews, go to my newly created Archived Movie Reviews page. This page will be updated regularly to show all movies included in Movie Review Monday.

Movie Monday – Killer Flood: The Day the Dam Broke

Penny Zeller, Christian Author

My suggestion for this week’s Movie Monday is Killer Flood: The Day the Dam Broke:

As a movie reviewer, I love discovering movies that I haven’t heard of yet. Such is the case with Killer Flood: The Day the Dam Broke. My oldest declares this movie should have been more aptly titled Narrow Escape. Here’s why:

IMG_0001 (3)Killer Flood is a movie that will have you sitting on the edge of your seat from the very start.

Architect David Powell does everything in his power to convince those in the town of Rutland, Vermont, that the dam is going to burst, causing torrential flooding and loss of lives and property. No one believes him. After all, why should they? The acting mayor, Natalie, is David’s estranged wife; the architectural intern at the dam is David’s son; and Matt, the man in control of the town is David’s nemesis.  All three feel as though David is responsible for the dam’s inferior design. David’s wife and son are still grieving over the fact that David left them five years ago after being accused of shady dealings while designing the dam.

So…what can David do when so many lives are at stake?

Joe Lando of Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman  plays David. (Have to admit, I’m a girl who loved watching Dr. Quinn). He gives a commanding performance of a man rebounding from failure. Versatile Bruce Boxleitner proves he can successfully play a bad guy. And Michele Greene gives a convincing performance as David’s wife and acting mayor. The story line is realistic, the acting good, and the movie a pure nailbiter. Twists and turns make for never a dull moment.

This movie brings up some great discussion points. For instance, if someone is wrongfully accused, what’s best course of action? What’s the value of family and at what cost should one attempt to keep their family together, even through challenging times? How important is loyalty between friends? And finally, this movie gives a good example of why the love of money truly is the “root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:10).

While there is nothing objectionable in this movie, younger viewers will find the scenes depicting the terrifying and traumatic flood to be frightening. Therefore, I would highly recommend this movie for those 10 and older.

For an archived list of movie reviews, go to my newly created Archived Movie Reviews page. This page will be updated regularly to show all movies included in Movie Monday.

For a listing of all mom-approved movies, go to the Mom-Approved Movie Listing page.

 

Join me each week for a new movie suggestion of recommended movies suitable for the entire family with reviews written from a Christian worldview.

Movie Monday – The Christmas Card – 12/10/12

Penny Zeller, Christian Author

This week’s movie review is The Christmas Card

IMG_0001This movie is one of our family’s all-time favorites. The story unfolds with a Christmas card sent by Faith to a soldier named Cody serving in Afghanistan. What happens when Cody later searches for the town in the picture Faith included on the Christmas card? And what happens when he has a chance meeting with the woman who sent it? Romance, humor, and drama soon follow.

There is nothing objectionable in this movie and I especially enjoyed the emphasis on Faith’s close-knit family. Themes such as loyalty, patriotism, enduring love, long-lasting marriage, giving one’s life for another, and hope round out this great film. Highly recommended for all ages and a must see!

Don’t forget that I have a huge listing of movies for the entire family (along with archived movie reviews) under my  Mom-Approved Movie Listing Tab at https://pennyzeller.wordpress.com/mom-approved-movies-for-families/