Three movies to see before the age of 10
By Manuel Reynoso
Movies, as with all art mediums, have the power to change someone’s outlook on life, especially during our more formative years. Themes of love, family and coming of age serve to lay down a path of discovery for who we are as a person, and these three films are perfect for a youth just now beginning to experience this in their daily life.
- Stand by Me (1986)
When four young boys go on a hike to find the dead body of a missing boy, what they find is an adventure of self-discovery. Stand by Me, which is unequivocally my favorite film adaptation of a Stephen King work, is an excellent example of a true coming-of-age drama. The sense of childhood adventure that is soon lost with adulthood is captured immaculately in this film. But most importantly, Stand by Me really teaches how the events in our life shape us, and makes us grow as a person. It’s powerful seeing how a hike to fulfil a macabre curiosity leads to such personal growth for these four young boys, and there’s a lot on growing up to be gleaned for a younger audience. However, use your best judgement for when you believe an adolescent is ready for this film.
2. My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
Truthfully, you can place nearly any Studio Ghibli movie in this slot and my point stands, but this is my list, so I’m putting my single favorite film of all time on it. My Neighbor Totoro is an animated film that tells the story of two young girls and their father, and the adventures they had with the woodland spirits of rural Japan. Despite the many times I’ve seen My Neighbor Totoro, I’ve always walked away with some new insight in life. From learning to appreciate family and nature when I first watched it in my youth, every subsequent viewing just always seemed to have more lessons for me to take in. Learning the importance of allowing children to express their imagination and how to cope with something as traumatic as a sick mother, My Neighbor Totoro is not only for the children among us but for the child within us. It’s a masterpiece, and a film for children of all ages. Even those of us who refuse to grow up.
3. Bicycle Thieves (1948)
An Italian, black and white film from the 40’s may be a little bit of a hard sell for younger audiences, but the message behind it is invaluable. The story of a poor father searching post-World War II Rome for his stolen bicycle is not as simple as it may seem. It’s a story of the fallibility of the very person we once thought perfect at some point in our lives. Seeing the adventures of a young boy and their father is equal parts heartwarming and tragic. Bicycle Thieves serves to bring to light how complicated right and wrong can sometimes be, and will serve to make a child more well-rounded in understanding the world around them.