More than once, around Christmas time, we have suggested films to watch together with family. This year we are making a new proposal - and we address it to grandparents and their grandchildren - by recommending some titles of films that, in our opinion, have something to tell and teach about the special relationship that can be established between a grandparent and a grandkid.
If it’s true that misunderstandings and difficulties can often arise, due to the great diversity of experiences and views between people of different generations, it is also true that children or young and old can enrich each other’s lives very much: the first transmitting vitality and enthusiasm, the latter teaching the virtue of patience and passing on their wisdom. At least this is what happens in the stories represented in the films that we propose below...
And so we must wish you happy choosing and have a good watch!
The Princess Diaries (2001 film, directed by Garry Marshall)
Mia, the fifteen year old main character of this comedy, is the classic clumsy and unlucky girl (so dear to romantic fairytales) who then redeems herself from a non-popular high school student, with shallow friendships and mocked by her peers, as she discovers that she is the only heir to the throne of a kingdom called Genovia. She learns that following the death of her father, that the queen of that principality, Clarisse, is none other than her grandmother.
Mia therefore finds herself in a short time having to follow her grandmother's good manners lessons in order to become a good princess, but the new conditions on which she will have to live her life in the future will put her so in crisis, that she will think seriously of renouncing the right of succession.
They are two completely different worlds, those of Mia and Clarisse: the first is a disordered little girl unaccustomed to respecting rules of etiquette, the second a queen with elegant manners that does not tolerate little mess-ups. For the kingdom to have its heir, however, it will be necessary for the grandmother to learn to accept and enhance the originality and spontaneity of the girl, while the latter will have to become more docile to the advice of her grandmother. Only when one is willing to give up some of her rigidity and the other to some of its carelessness, the kingdom will have a future.
Why we recommend it:
This story, endearing and pleasant, can be read as a beautiful metaphor, useful also for us: only if young and old (from families) can collaborate, combining the wisdom of those who lived in the past and the vitality of those who are going to live out the future, a good society can be built in the present.
Up , 2009 animated film directed by film Peter Doctor e Bob Peterson
Carl and Ellie, the protagonists of this touching feature film, sincerely and deeply love each other since they were just kids and spend a full and happy life together, until she is taken away by a bad illness, leaving her husband alone with an empty sense of living. The couple, unfortunately, could not have children, although they strongly hoped for them. But this only helped the spouses to grow closer to each other, and the weight of her loss and the loneliness that comes with it becomes unbearable for Carl.
For a long time, the elderly man can’t find valid reasons to live a full life again, and somehow he lets himself die too. Having become grumpy and anti-social, he continues to live in the house where he and his wife lived together, opposing himself to the idea of letting it break down, thus hindering the construction of a new residential district.
Following a bad fight with a construction worker, however, the court establishes that the elder, defined as incapable of looking after himself, must be taken to a retirement home and the house to which he is very attached will be torn down. The night before his admission to the home, when Carl is almost resigned to his fate, however, begins the most sensational adventure of his life: in an unrealistic but suggestive way, the elder manages to uproot his house from the ground using tons of colored balloons, to soar in the air and leave for the Paradise Falls, a destination he and Ellie had dreamed about for a lifetime. Carl starts his journey confident and satisfied with his decision, but will soon have to deal with a small inconvenience: outside his door, suspended in the air with him, is Russel, a young boyscout who has pursued the elderly for a long time to "assist" him and so he might receive a badge that he believes would make him win his father’s praise, always distracted and absent.
Initially annoyed by the presence of the boy, the elderly man will end up becoming attached to Russel during their trip and a wonderful relationship between the two, built on compromise and support, will be established. They form a pair that might mirror that which exists between a grandfather and his own blood grandson. Thanks to Russel, Carl will find out that in life there are always people for whom it is worth being strong for.
Russel, with his sympathy and his “go-get-‘em attitude,” will cause a smile to return to Carl’s face, while Carl, in turn, with his cares and his advice will be a guide and fatherly figure for the boy that has looked for this unconsciously for a long time.
Why we recommend it:
This film can inspire courage and hope in all the elderly people who risk feeling empty and useless. At any age and perhaps especially as an elderly person one can have a lot to offer, especially to the boys, who need wise, strong, loving guides.
Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince), a 2015 animated film directed by Mark Osborne
The protagonist of this story is a child with two absent and distracted parents who are very busy with work and unable to understand her needs. Without realizing it, they treat her as if she were already an adult and lock her up in a cage of pre-established duties and commitments, forgetting how much play and fantasy count for her.
The girl then tries to escape from the routine by making friends with her old, strange family friend, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, famous author of the book The Little Prince and will dive, thanks to him, into a world of fantasy.
The relationship that is created between the two will end with a resemblence of that between a grandfather and a granddaughter: she can no longer do without listening to him and asking him questions, he can no longer do without the amazed and wonderous looks on the child’s face.
Even in this case, the grandfather is adoptive, but the story manages to reveal to us just how the elderly and children need each other. For the prior: to continue laughing and playing, despite the suffering that one may have to face in life. For the latter: to learn something from the many experiences accumulated by those who have lived longer than them.
Why we recommend it:
Grandparents are often irreplaceable points of reference for children. This film shows how enriching it is for older people to keep up with the younger ones to maintain an active and “sparkling” mind, just as it is important for kids to listen to those who have a lot to tell them.
And you, dear readers, what do you think? Did we convince you? If so, take your grandkids arm in arm, rent one of these films, and enjoy it with the ...
If you have other film titles to suggest on this subject, write it in the comments.