This is my compiled list of favorite movies for Pagan families to watch together. They have the potential to spark thoughtful discussion of values and themes that Pagan families often hold dear. These are in no particular order and I will continue to add to the list as I discover or remember more.
Brother Bear – I do not know how accurately this portrays historical customs of any particular tribe, I am assuming it’s a composite, but it does carry themes that Pagan children will recognize and values that are important to us. Honoring family, our ancestors, honoring Nature, the importance of all living things and empathy. It starts pretty scary with two violent deaths, but that seems to be typical of children’s movies. I don’t like to anthropomorphize animals, but, you know, kids like it. (Brother Bear II is meh. For once Disney made a movie without romance, but they had to do a II to get it in.)
Ferngully has been a family favorite in our house for years. It’s got fairies and magic and a message about the importance of wild places and the dangers of pollution and toxic emissions. Tim Curry is the bad guy, Robin Williams is a funny bat. It’s corny. We love it.
Room on the Broom – This is cute and I like it, but the teenagers won’t. This one will best appeal to the younger set. It is a sweet story about kindness and loyalty with a little bit of excitement near the end. It is based on the children’s book.
Kubo and the Two Strings – This story is beautiful and heartbreaking and I love the animation. While I do not believe it accurately depicts any story associated with the Japanese Moon God, (I don’t know, not a Shinto expert) he and his daughters are highly featured. The movie also shows ancestor veneration rituals and it’s all about music and magic.
Tuck Everlasting – When I watched this movie with my teens, it led to spirited philosophical discussion about when the best time would be to commence eternal life with your body exactly as it was. My beloved and I agree that to do so while a teenager would be a horrible idea. My daughter does not agree. In the end, I think we all agreed that not having an exit option would suck and decided that becoming a vampire would be much cooler. This is a great movie to get conversations started about the circle of life and such.
Song of the Sea – Is so beautiful. The music, the imagery, it’s gorgeous. Everyone loves it, from littles on up. Well, maybe not serious menfolk. It’s about selkies and fae and it’s set in Ireland with a great deal of Irish Gaelic singing that will have you singing the catchy tunes you don’t understand. While the story isn’t anything I recognize from Irish lore as I’ve studied it (again, not an expert) you will recognize many of the names.
Mulan – This movie is fun and has girl power going for it, as well as ancestor veneration. (Don’t bother with Mulan II, they ruined it.)
The Last Unicorn – People don’t seem to remember that this movie is very scary for the littles. It can be quite terrifying with images of flaming bulls herding unicorns into the ocean, so maybe reserve this for say 8ish and up? You know your kid. This movie has a great message about loving people for who they are and letting them be what they are. And unicorns and magic, of course.
Moana – Girl power, ancestors, Gods, demi-gods, raw power of Nature, fabulous music. What’s not to love here? The whole family loves this one, even the grown kids. I think this might be my favorite Disney movie.(And I was really worried they were going to mess it up.)