From classic musicals, princess tales, and animated animals to superhero adventures and holiday favorites, these must-see movies will appeal to the whole family. Like the newer films honored with our Common Sense Seal, these all-time favorites are not only hugely entertaining, but theyʼre packed with positive messages and role models, giving them the potential for significant impact on kids and families. Some are cultural touchstones. Others give kids a look at other worlds both real and imaginary. Many will bring on gales of laughter, and some might lead to a few tears. But all are worthy of a comfy couch, a bowl of fresh popcorn, and some family togetherness.
“My Neighbour Totoro” is a fine pick for the entire family. Totoro himself might look and sound a bit odd, but heʼs quite sweet and gentle. The protagonist girls have an ill mother with an unnamed disease, but the moments in the hospital arenʼt sad or depressing. Some parents may not feel comfortable with the amount of freedom the girls (as is the case with children in all of Hayao Miyazakiʼs films) have to wander off alone, either around their neighborhood, the surrounding forest, or on a long walk to visit their mother. Overall, this is a family film in the truest sense it appeals to moviegoers young and old alike.
In “My Neghbour Totoro”, 10-year-old Satsuki, 4-year-old Mei and their father move to the countryside where their mother is hospitalized with a long-term illness. As they get settled into their new home, the girls discover there are magical creatures, like dust sprites, that inhabit their house and neighborhoud. One day, Mei sees two little rabbit-like creatures and follows them through their forest, where she meets a much larger version of the creature, whom she calls Totoro Eventually Satsuki also meets Totoro who also introduces the girls to a magical soaring cat-bus. Totoro, who is “keeper of the forest” aids Satsuki and her father when Mei decides to walk to the hospital alone to present her mother with a fresh ear of corn. For fans of Miyazakiʼs later work who havenʼt had the chance to check out his classics, this is a perfect movie to start. “My Neighbour Totoro” is considered Miyazakiʼs breakthrough film. Re-released and dubbed in English for a wider audience by Disney, the movie introduced Americans unfamiliar with anime to Miyazakiʼs signature themes: strong, independent girls as protagonists; whimsical creatures; an imaginative story; and a focus on how families interact with each other and their surrounding environment. Satsuki and Mei need Totoro to help them through a difficult time in their lives new home, sick mother and itʼs quite lovely to see the sweet little moments that cement their friendship.
By Dilnavoz NAJIMOVA