Christmas is a time for many things: gifting and receiving presents you really don’t need, hearing the political views of your distant cousins, and eating way too many sugary desserts that you’ll start to regret on December 26 (if not earlier).
It’s also a time to watch movies, and what better way to celebrate the holidays with your loved ones than sitting in front of the TV set and loading up one of the many streaming services that are out there? These five family-friendly movies are ideal to watch on Christmas or any day of the year.
Need more holiday viewing suggestions? Then please check out the best Christmas movies on Netflix, the best Christmas movies on Hulu, the best Christmas movies on Max, the best Christmas movies on Disney+, the best Christmas movies on the Hallmark Channel, 7 great Christmas movies you can watch for free, and 7 best funny Christmas movies you should watch this season.
One of the best movies of 2023, and also an instant family movie classic, Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret adapts the classic novel by Judy Blume and keeps everything about the book intact: the frank discussion of sexuality (so parents, be warned: This movie is probably better for preteens than young kids), the groovy ’70s setting, and the sweet, gentle tone that made Blume so beloved by her readers.
The movie tells the story of Margaret, who, in addition to undergoing a big change by moving from New York City to New Jersey during the sixth grade, is also undergoing some physical changes. Puberty, however, is the least of her problems, as she struggles to find her place in her new school and understand the complex personalities of her parents, who have their own growing pains to bear as they struggle with their internal conflicts with their parents. As directed by Kelly Fremon Craig, Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret is utterly sweet and disarming and boasts terrific supporting performances from Rachel McAdams, Benny Safdie, and Kathy Bates.
Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret is now streaming on Starz.
In the mood for an animated movie? Then, venture to the animated world of Element City in Pixar’s Elemental. In the city, various elements – fire, water, land, and air – coexist and represent different social classes. Ember Lumen is the daughter of two fire elements who emigrated to Element City. The family now owns and operates a convenience store, which Ember hopes to take over after her father retires and hands it over to her.
When she oversees the shop alone while her parents are away, Ember unwittingly bursts a pipe and floods the basement. Wade Ripple, a water element, is a city inspector sent to report the leak. Wade helps Ember fix the problem and save her family’s shop. While spending time together, Ember and Wade slowly fall for each other, but outside forces will try to tear these two elements apart. It’s a classic Pixar movie that proved to be one of the sleeper hits this past summer.
Elemental is now streaming on Disney+.
Fans of Mary Poppins, Emma Thompson, and magical whimsy are in for a treat if they watch Nanny McPhee. The now-classic family film concerns young widower Cedric Brown (Colin Firth), who has seven rambunctious children who have a habit of chasing away all of their nannies. But when they try their old antics with Nanny McPhee (Emma Thompson), they find she has a few tricks up her sleeve.
Using mystical powers to instill discipline, Nanny McPhee soon acts as a ringleader to stop the children’s great aunt and benefactor, Lady Adelaide Stitch (Kelly Macdonald), from breaking the children apart. A pleasant throwback to British family films of the 1960s and 1970s, Nanny McPhee is great viewing for both adults and children.
Nanny McPhee is now streaming on Prime Video.
Christmas just wouldn’t be complete this year without watching a movie based on Roald Dahl book. But instead of watching Wonka, treat yourself to The Witches. No, not the recent horrible remake starring Anne Hathaway but rather the original 1990 gem starring Angelica Huston, who gives one of the hammiest, juiciest performances of her illustrious career as the Grand High Witch.
The plot is pretty simple: a young boy, Luke, and his grandmother, Helga, vacation at a seaside resort, which just so happens to be hosting a convention for the witches in Europe. They are gathered there to reveal their latest plot: to turn every child into a mouse. Poor Luke soon finds himself turned into one and must stop the witches from doing the same to all the other children.
The Witches can be purchased or rented on Apple TV and other digital vendors.
No, it’s not deja vu you’re experiencing; it’s just another Pinocchio movie. But hasn’t there been enough Pinocchio remakes over the past few years to ponder why the public needs another one? That Tom Hanks Disney+ version was bad enough!
But Guillermo del Toro isn’t just any regular director, and his interpretation may just be the best thing that has happened to the tale since the 1940 animated classic. The director’s stop-motion reimagining of Carlo Collodi’s tale of a wooden puppet longing to be a real boy is an engaging musical that never fails to charm. There’s a reason why it won the Academy Award for Best Animated Movie last year.
Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio is streaming on Netflix.
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