Films for aspiring athletes are easy to come by—it’s hard to have missed the stories of incredible coaching and teamwork in baseball, basketball, football and more—but what about movies for the aspiring young artists in your family? We took on this popular question and came up with a list for you to consider as you plan your next family movie night!
This list includes films with widely applicable themes and messages, including resilience in the face of adversity, challenging boundaries to reach success for the whole, helping others, using your talents, developing discipline to reach goals and the power of good mentorship. Any one of these is likely to spark a thoughtful family conversation that will support the positive growth of your young artist!
From the popular Disney/Pixar to more independent films, we’ve organized this list to include films best suited for young elementary first, building up to more mature films due to language, content and length for early teens and adults alike.
Finally, despite ratings and popular opinion, we recognize that family values are unique and individualized, so it is always a good idea to screen these movies ahead of time if you have any potential concerns.
“Anyone can cook!” is the message of the beloved and famous chef in this film. Is it true? You should watch to find out, and along the way you will surely fall in love with none other than Remy the rat, who’s an inspiration to anyone who feels their dream is impossible. As an inspiration in the culinary arts, even you will likely find yourself wanting to try a new recipe (ratatouille?) or flavor combination in your meal prep after viewing this film. Cuddle up to watch, and then crack open the cookbooks!
Happy Feet (PG)
In the spirit of embracing all types of art, this film’s message on embracing individual talents no matter how well you do or don’t measure up to the accepted norm, comes with entertaining dance, song and beloved characters that will keep the whole family smiling! The main character realizes that while all of the other penguins have beautiful singing voices, he has the ability to dance like no other penguin.
History, culture, music and coming-of-age—the themes that run throughout Coco are as thoughtful as the music is engaging. Protagonist Miguel finds himself in the colorful Land of the Dead as he works to prove his talent, realize his dreams and uncover the reason for his family’s generation-old ban on music that stood in his way. Your young artist may find inspiration from this Disney/Pixar film to pick up a stringed instrument and sing along.
While it’s not a film directly about art in the traditional sense, Moana’s love for the sea can be likened to a love for any art. A unique soundtrack compared to other Disney films, Moana is sure to leave you and your family humming these tunes for days. The female protagonist, Moana, faces the biggest of challenges in order to save her island, and to do so, Moana follows her heart and her passion for the sea. She’s a strong character who stretches her boundaries to save her people and make a positive difference in her world (just as an artist has the power to do, too)!
Dolphin Tale (PG)
Based on a true story, Dolphin Tale chronicles the events around helping a wounded dolphin work its way back to swimming strength with a prosthetic tail. The main character is a young boy who develops a particularly strong relationship to the dolphin and his journey to success. While it’s not your typical art film, it is a story highlighting the power of the art in science applied through design and innovation, human strength and the connectedness between animals and human beings–a sure winner among young animal lovers and innovators!
Akeelah and the Bee (PG)
With some harsh language and more mature content, this is a movie better suited for older kids and definitely one you should review before watching. With a message related to setting and working toward goals, Akeelah and the Bee is a movie great for any aspiring artist, athlete, scientist or student. This film especially highlights discipline in working toward long-term goals, be they artistic, academic or athletic in nature. The message is one for any age, as this famous quote highlights a pivotal point in the film: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”
Ballet Shoes (PG)
A lesser known film with one of the biggest known names of today’s young actors, Emma Watson stars in this film based on a novel by Noel Streatfield. The story is based in the 1930s, and is an intriguing story for any aspiring dancer or theater artist. As the plot goes, three young orphaned girls work their way through the challenges and harsh criticisms of the performing art community. Talented, they all find their own way to success, one (who follows her heart to escape dance entirely) in the area of aeronautics, the other two in life and dance. Ballet Shoes includes some mature content relating to life and death and has a pace better for slightly older kids.
August Rush (PG)
Another film with the message of music’s ability to inspire, connect and help people thrive, August Rush is about a young boy in search of his birth parents. He finds his voice, identity, connection and ultimately, his parents through the cultivation and expression of his musical talents with a little help along the way. With slightly more mature content and a slower overall pace, this film is better for older kid audiences.
Music of the Heart (PG)
A music teacher at an inner-city school teaches young students to play the violin. It’s no easy feat as she faces the challenge of motivating, funding and maintaining support for her program. However, the students who stick with it are changed for the better. This is a movie about succeeding in the face of adversity and the value of the musical arts to human health and happiness. Some language and mature content make the film better suited for older kids, so review before sharing with the entire family.
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