Quarantined indoors? There’s great, uplifting films to stream at home! I’m Jonathan Decker, family therapist and film critic, and I’m here to help you find the good stuff. For more curated picks and discussion guides for movies, follow me on Facebook.
Rise of Skywalker. This week’s episode of Cinema Therapy explores the conversation between Ben Solo and the memory of his father Han. We look at how speaking out loud to our departed loved ones can help us to release pent-up sadness, grief, and hurt, leading to healing and the ability to move forward. Watch our episode above and rent/buy the film here.
LIVING SCRIPTURES (SIGN UP HERE)
In Emma’s Footsteps. Well-acted, emotional, and thoughtfully-written biopic explores the story of Emma Smith in the wake of Joseph’s death. Profound and beautiful. Stream it on Living Scriptures or rent/buy it here.
The Princess Bride just arrived on Disney Plus. Come on, need I say more? Stream it on Disney Plus or rent/buy here.
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The classic Gene Wilder family film, based on the Roald Dahl novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, is now on Netflix for you to relive or introduce your family to. Stream it on Netflix or rent/buy it here.
Batman Begins- Not nearly as gruesome as The Dark Knight or as gritty as The Dark Knight Rises, the first film in Christopher Nolan’s trilogy is simply the purest, most inspiring Batman film every put to screen. It does so largely by giving us what no film before had quite managed: a Bruce Wayne to deeply care about. No sex, mild language, and a hero who genuinely values human life make this a must-see. Excellent moral messages merge with an intelligent screenplay and genuine emotion. It’s fantastic. Stream it on Hulu or rent/buy it here.
CLEARPLAY (FILTERED FOR CONTENT)
Harriet. Inspiring biopic about Harriet Tubman and the founding of the underground railroad, in which Southern slaves escaped to find freedom in the North. Original PG-13 version has one f-word and other content to watch out for. Clearplay offers legal filters for language, nudity, and violence, accessible if you rent or buy the film from Amazon and apply Clearplay filters.
Captain Phillips is a terrific Tom Hanks thriller, directed by The Bourne Ultimatum’s Paul Greengrass. Based on the true story of a sea captain who fights to protect his crew when the ship is taken by Somali pirates. Stream it on Crackle or rent/buy it here.
Annie. Remake of the classic musical sets it in modern times and diversifies the cast but loses none of the streetwise charm. Stream it on TubiTV or rent/buy it here.
VUDU MOVIES (FREE)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Forget the awful Michael Bay-produced CGI monstrosities and stick with the original, with Jim Henson suits and puppetry and actual martial arts. The sequels were rubbish, but this original really holds up. Stream it free on Vudu or rent/buy it here.
RENT OR BUY
Father of the Bride. Steve Martin and Diane Keaton star in this remake, about a father whose stress over finances preparing for his daughter’s wedding is really a mask for his heartache at letting her go. One innuendo aside, this is a family-friendly favorite.Rent or buy it here.
FROM THE STREAMING SAINT
Daydreaming Dave. Student film I made with some UVU friends while I was at BYU is a wordless action-comedy about a student whose wandering mind gets him into trouble. Good clean fun.
GET MORE PICKS TO STREAM WITH YOUR FAMILY
For a thorough exploration of what apostles and prophets have said about watching uplifting media, along with hundreds of reviews and Gospel discussion guides, pick up a copy of my book 250 Great Movies for Latter-day Families!
Jonathan Decker is a licensed marriage and family therapist, actor, author, and film critic. He is known for starring in The KJZZ Movie Show and the Utah action-comedy CTU: Provo, performing with BYU’s Divine Comedy, and as the author of 250 Great Movies for Latter-day Families.