5 elements to look for when choosing a family movie

Family movies are wonderful vehicles for spending time with your children – and there really isn't much that can beat them in the way of creating opportunities to establish relationships between families, build family traditions and make memories.

While no two family movies are the same, the best ones (that is, those that prove to be the most enduring in a family library) seem to have some shared characteristics. So whether you're looking for your family & # 39; s next "ET" or the next "Lego movie", here are some selection tips that can help you choose the best family movie to watch, buy or rent.

One: Younger children can get something out of the movie.

A good family movie is available to all family members, including the youngest. This does not necessarily mean that your five-year-old needs to understand everything about the action, or that your 11-year-old should be able to identify and explain a movie & # 39; s deeper points about the human experience. But they need to enjoy the movie at some level.

For example, think of "The Sound of Music". Young children may not be able to follow much of the action, but they may enjoy watching other children sing and dance. A younger child may not fully appreciate the history and themes of "Polar Express", but does not mean that he will not be captivated by the film's wonderful animation.

Two: It's not so young that mom and dad don't like it on their own.

Conversely, a good family movie should be interesting enough for mom and dad that they enjoy watching it on their own. This may be because the film sprinkled in a liberal amount of smart "wink-wink" moments in the dialogue that only adults can understand (think "Aladdin"), or because the film's subject deals with inspirational themes ("Free Willie" or "Big" ) that the adults enjoy and are worthy of attention.

Three: The movie has a good lesson.

The best classic family movies almost always offer a wonderful lesson or teaching moment – of course, without being overly precarious or heavily traded. Ideally, this is something that the family can discuss before and after the film, thus expanding and enriching their collective enjoyment of the film.

A handful of great family movies with memorable or moving lessons that you may want to check out include "True Grit", "It's A Wonderful Life", "Akeelah and The Bee", "Forrest Gump", "Charlotte & # 39; web, "" up, "and" frozen. "

Four: A compelling plotline.

Let's face it – whether you are eight or 80 years old, it's nothing like watching a great story. Even the most beautiful family member can capture a movie that has an exciting story, and the discussions that can emerge after your family's first viewing of the movie can really contribute to your movie experience.

Examples of family movies with engaging plotlines worth exploring include "Cloak and Dagger", "The Karate Kid", "The Parent Trap", "Homeward Bound", "National Velvet", "Finding Nemo", "Hugo", " Ratatouille "and the Harry Potter franchise, just to name a few.

Five: Memorable moments.

Some of the most beloved memories you have as a family are the spontaneous recitations or recollections of jokes and catchphrases from favorite families – or the family performance of movie-song-and-dance numbers that you & # 39; everyone has seen a dozen times and knows with heart – or those tear-jerks while the whole family cried together before the movie got easier and in the end left everyone laughing, smiling or cheering.

Family films with such moments include "Toy Story", "The Lion King", "Annie", "Happy Feet", "The Wizard of Oz", "Mary Poppins", "Shrek", "Miracle on 34th Street", "Dumbo "and" Old Yeller ".

On my second outing with the small group of theater mates gathered by the rude Elizabeth was the play Young Marx, written by Richard Bean and Clive Coleman. It is in London's latest theater, the Bridge Theater, beautifully located near the Tower Bridge. I met two more members of the group with Elizabeth for coffee in the foyer and free Madeleines came with the tickets. A great start!

The seating design is unusual with mainly booths and narrow galleries at higher levels. This means a clear view of everyone without supporting columns in the road. It feels intimate but can seat up to 900 and was packed for the Sunday matinee. We were just two lines from the stage, my favorite position to see how everything works. The sets were particularly effective, all constructed in a cube that circled to provide different street surfaces and building fittings.

The game begins with Marx literally selling his wife's silver but is suspected of stealing it and running from the police. He is thinking of giving up his political writing and taking a job at Paddington Station, which can help him pay for a doctor for his son and perhaps save his marriage, even if it is a small working class for a woman from her rich background. She packs clothes just picked up from the pawnbroker and is about to leave him.

If everything sounds serious, that is not how it is treated. The opening scenes are farcical and there is a lot that runs around in true Keystone Cops style. Marx throws up walls, up the chimney in his home and into a cupboard to hide from the police. He shines with his wife's packed case with jokes that are annoying sniper rather than laughing out loud humor. I wasn't sure if I liked it but soon found it to be an extraordinary blend of fresh humor, satire, ridiculous jokes that my dad may have told and serious scenes that could shock and emotionally touch. Not an easy combination to pull off.

The campaign disruption describes Marx as & # 39; emotionally illiterate & # 39; and it really comes over. It also says he & # 39; s & # 39; young & # 39; and & # 39; horny & # 39; which is misleading. He is in his thirties with a wife and two children and although he has an affair with a woman who loves him, this happens in connection with a failed marriage. He has an important job behind him and his friend Engels is determined to get him to write again and to help him keep the family together.

There are parallels with today, with the Marx family being subjected to racist benefits for being immigrants, and also arguing for and against terrorist acts with their fellow activists. Marx and his wife both claim that they agree to the use of force but they think it would turn the British working class towards them, especially if an attempt is made to murder Queen Victoria, who is loved by her subjects.

Some anachronistic comedy works well, including Marx saying at this time that there is no need for violence to destroy capitalism in the UK as the banks will do so much damage that they will leave the door wide open to change. No one could fail to see the irony of that belief. There are also stupid anachronistic jokes, which the police say he & # 39; have done a course & # 39; when Marx thanks him for not using force.

The humor can suddenly disappear when the scenes get serious, such as Engels describing the poor living conditions in Manchester. Marx has just described himself as & # 39; brutal & # 39 ;, and Engels says he wouldn't use that word for himself if he had seen Manchester. There was laughter from the audience, but then it became serious when Engels talked about the people who worked in the mills and lived in cramped houses with clay and excrement deep outside for them to go through. My own ancestors on my father's side moved to Salford from Dublin about when this piece was set because of new English laws that destroyed the Irish textile industry so this was a striking scene for me. They are not supported by the newly formed unions because the Irish were suspected of being the cause of lower wages, with rhetoric very similar to the Brexit discourse today. This is not mentioned in the paragraph.

Two of the most successful scenes are a duel and a funeral. I didn't win too much about them to not ruin the action, because the effect of the surprise on the audience is powerful. The duel absolutely shook me and was incredibly realistic even though I was close enough to see how it was all done. In fact, the fast-moving scenes were all very choreographed, which is impressive given the limited space of a scene. A fight that breaks out in the British Museum Reading Rooms is also both fun and complicated.

With the burial, the atmosphere is captivating from the moment the coffin is brought in to the moment the earth is pushed into the grave to cover it. One of the weaknesses of the play, I felt, was a tendency to go after a cheap joke at every available opportunity, and this scene should have ended without a question from Marx to his wife. He had finally shown some compassion and guilt and it would have been stronger to stop that note. This is another point where his lover appeals to him with a dilemma and he responds with a dialogue filled with jokes that are not funny. I could have done without some of the comedy because there were so many jokes and so many types of humor that worked well that the faint lines didn't have to, or those that undermined a situation that required a different answer.

Richard Bean also wrote a version of the Carlo Goldoni comedy & # 39; Servant of Two Masters & # 39; and the style of Young Marx reminded me of newer Italian playwright Dario Fo, whose work I like a lot. I sat with the feeling that Young Marx would have been better off without some of the trite jokes at significant moments, especially since they gave the impression of a Marx who almost completely lacked empathy. In both cases, one could see that he needed to protect his reputation and balanced the importance of his work for the many against the needs of the few near him.

Instead of the less successful jokes, it would have been good to see a style more like Dario Fo in Accidental Death of an Anarchist, where improvisation allowed the director to add jokes that are relevant to each day & # 39; s news. With the current gender scandals in politics, this could have added a whole new layer to the treatment of women in Young Marx. Parallels between Engels & # 39; a description of Manchester, the treatment of the Irish there and the similarity to the Brexit dialogue could have been made. So I stopped liking the game but felt there were missed opportunities and some jokes that could have been cut.

The acting was excellent, and the two kids were especially good. Design by Mark Thompson, directed by Nicholas Hytner and music by Grant Olding also contributed to the atmosphere and a sense of energy and movement. Well worth seeing and the Madeleines were fresh and tasty! Then Ferryman arrives at the Gielgud Theater, unless Elizabeth lets in another play - she often does!