Without a doubt, Christmas is one of the most cherished and anticipated times of the year in traditionally Christian countries. It is a time of joy and reflection for those who believe in God incarnate, as well as a reason of celebration for those who recognize it as a feast inspired by positive values such as brotherhood, generosity, and togetherness.
The festive season is a time that families spend together. And if the cold weather in many parts of the world mean that it can’t be spent outdoors, the family home, richly decorated with lights and ornaments, is the ideal place to wipe away pleasant hours together. And perhaps even watch a good movie.
So this Christmas season, if you’re in the mood for a good film, here are some titles we recommend.
Finding Dory, animated film of 2016, directed by Andrew Stanton
“How do you remember that you have a mom and a dad, if you constantly lose your memory?” say a few small fish to Dory.
“Well, I can remember some things because I have a family, because everyone has a family” replies Dory.
Dory, a hilarious blue fish, has only vague memories of her childhood because of short-term memory loss. Within minutes she has forgotten what has happened.
Her impairment led to losing her way in the ocean and for many years she has been unable to find her way home. Yet, despite not being able to remember precisely how her parents look, her strong bond with them has remained, and she has never stopped loving them.
This is the astonishing adventure of a slightly unhinged and witty fish who, with the help of her many friends, tries to return to her parents, who have never stopped looking for their daughter or hoping for her return.
This film, the sequel to 2003’s Finding Nemo, is a new tale full of details that do not reference the original, so it can be enjoyed even without even knowing the story of Nemo.
The tale can be considered a bastion of one of the most obvious, and at the same time most challenged, truths of our time: everyone needs the love that only a father and a mother, or two step-parents, can provide: their love above all else for their children and the desire to care for and raise their children together.
In a society that often forgets the importance of family, it is almost paradoxical that a film starring a forgetful child, in which it is clear and indisputable that the love of a father and a mother are absolutely irreplaceable.
The Little Prince (Le Petit Prince), animated film of 2015, directed by Mark Osborne.
In this film, the young protagonist has for parents an absent father and a mother who are always busy working and planning every minuscule detail of her daughter’s life, leaving no time for laughter, talk, or play.
The little girl, treated like an adult, or worse, like a robot, tries to escape from the cage in which they want to keep her, befriending an old and eccentric neighbour, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, the famous author of the book The Little Prince.
Thanks to him and the story written by this unusual gentleman, the little girl will discover what it means to be “a little girl” and will understand the importance of reminding adults that accepting and embracing the imagination of children can benefit the whole of society.
What would the world be without children, with their imaginations, their purity and their desire to dream? Or rather, what would become of the world if the adults stopped being challenged by and touched by the simplicity of children?
In The Little Prince the answer is presented in all its drama: a world without children or one that does not respect them is a world without hope and without a future.
Little boy, film of 2015, directed by Alejandro Gómez Monteverde.
We are in the in the United States, at the height of World War II and little Pepper is desperate because his father, who he is very close to, in involved in the fight against Japan. Then he hears a passage from the Gospel cited in church: ” If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey.” (Lk 17,6)
Touched by the words of Jesus, the child decides to take them literally. He collects a mustard seed and goes to a priest and asks what should do to make God listen and bring home her dad.
The minister, touched by this simple faith, takes the opportunity to teach an important life lesson, gives him a “list” of things to do: This is a note, in which the seven corporal works of mercy are written (feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, house the pilgrims, visit the sick, visit those in prison, bury the dead): he suggests he do them one by one, because God loves and listens to those who know how to serve others. Also it gives him another task: make friends with a Japanese man who lives not far from his home, and who is hated by his family (especially his brother) because he belongs to the “enemy race.”
Both funny and touching, the film shows with skill and delicacy commitment to others that the young protagonist is capable of. The viewer cannot be but touched by the tenderness with which the child seeks to implement – with the help of her mother, the priest and his new Japanese friend – all the works of mercy written in his precious list … ultimately, the most painful: the burial of a loved one.
This 2015 film, successfully and relevantly draws to a close the Jubilee Year of Mercy proclaimed by Pope Francis, and shows the beauty of an authentic and genuine faith, which is truly capable of performing miracles.