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.
Cinema Therapy is a YouTube channel begun by two Latter-day Saints, one a therapist (me) and one a filmmaker (Alan Seawright). We explore uplifting themes and meaningful lessons in popular films. This week we explore how Pixar’s Inside Out helps us to appreciate the sweet by knowing the bitter, and how compassion is the most beautiful form of love. Watch our new episode above and rent/buy the film here.
LIVING SCRIPTURES (SIGN UP HERE)
Once Upon a Summer. Charming little tale of childhood friends grown apart as adults, who reconnect in their hours of greatest need. Wholesome exploration of faith and fellowship, starring Heather Beers (Charly). Stream it on Living Scriptures or rent/buy it here.
Malificent: Mistress of Evil just debuted on Disney Plus. Angelina Jolie stars as the villainous-gone-good who now fights a new battle to protect Aurora (Sleeping Beauty). Stream it on Disney Plus or rent/buy here.
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. The quintessential Spielberg family film arrives on Netflix. When a friendly extraterrestrial is stranded on Earth, a young boy befriends him and tries to help him get home. A potentially hokey plot is spun into a masterpiece by first-rate filmmaking and storytelling. Stream it on Netflix or rent/buy it here.
The Cokeville Miracle- From director T.C. Christensen (17 Miracles) comes the gripping true story of an elementary school held hostage and deliverance through innocent faith and angelic intervention. Packs a mighty wallop. Stream it on Hulu or rent/buy it here.
CLEARPLAY (FILTERED FOR CONTENT)
JoJo Rabbit. Director Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok) delivers a wholly original dramedy, in which a young boy, a member of the Hitler Youth, has his Nazi worldview challenge when his mother shelters and protects a Jewish girl. Funny, challenging, and moving. 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.
Star Trek Generations joins Captain Kirk (William Shatner) and Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart). Good fun for sci-fi enthusiasts. Stream it on Crackle.
Hoosiers. Simply put, one of the greatest sports movies ever made. Inspirational and emotional. Gene Hackman plays a disgraced basketball coach given a shot at redemption in the 1950’s. Powerful tale of redemption. Stream it on TubiTV or rent/buy it here.
VUDU MOVIES (FREE)
Just Mercy. Free during the month of June on many platforms, Vudu is the best choice for Just Mercy because it allows you to watch using the “Family Play” setting (powered by Clearplay) to take out the film’s few profanities. Heartbreaking, enlightening, and inspiring true story finds a black Harvard grad fighting for the humanity of death row inmates, focusing in on an innocent man wrongly-sentenced. Stream it free on Vudu or Amazon.
RENT OR BUY
Fiddler on the Roof. One of the all-time great musicals focuses on a family of Russian Jews as they try to balance their faith, their traditions, and major shifts in the society around them.Rent or buy it here.
FROM THE STREAMING SAINT
29. A group of BYU students faces perilous obstacles and hilarious double-crosses as they race home to watch the season finale of 24. If you’re a Jack Bauer fan, it’s right up your alley.
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.