So... as per usual, I'm late to the game again. Seems like it always happens that it takes me months or sometimes years to catch up to trends. This weekend, that was proven once again. But, now that I've caught up... I thought I'd share a couple finds with you! Two movies my son told me about that I had never heard of before (how is that even possible)?Friday night, my eight year old came into the kitchen to say there were a couple of stop motion films he had heard about from one of the YouTube channels he follows and he wanted to know if we could watch them even though some of the "themes are a little depressing" (his words). Oh My! What's a parent to do? At least it wasn't a request to watch Chucky or IT or Halloween again. I probed him a bit on the titles and themes and told him maybe we could use the weekend to check them out. I am so glad we did. The first was called "My Life As A Zucchini" - which was nominated for multiple awards and holds a five star ranking on Rotten Tomatoes (our go to for decisions). Maybe you've heard of it? Maybe not? It's the story centered around the tragic but hopeful experiences of children without their parents. Within the first ten minutes, both my eight year old and I were staring at the TV enthralled at the story telling and the scenes.By the end of this movie, my son had told me he loved me about twenty times and when it was over I turned into the best mommy in the whole world. While I wouldn't recommend this movie for very young children, I felt that my son was mature enough and I'm the kind of parent that uses films like this to help us in our conversations about navigating real life grown up stuff. I don't want to give too much of the movie away - let's just say, there is a happy ending but there is also an ending that gives room for parents to teach their children it's not always that outcome.(I also told him I actually wasn't the best mommy in the world but I'd gladly let him crown me that title). After we had absorbed the depth of this film, my son decided he didn't want to watch the second one. Turns out, as he told me, that one would be even more of an emotional roller coaster. Oh My!
We took a break and played some Animal Crossing and about two hours later he said he decided he did want to watch the other one afterall. This one is called Mary and Max and it's over a decade old. And yes, I know, late. And yes, it's far deeper than the other and I'd say absolutely requires parental discretion while watching. There may be times you want to pause this one but you definitely want to have a conversation after it's over. This is a story about pen pals covering decades across continents. This story has some pretty dark moments but there are also so many wonderful surprises included that depending on the threshold you have with your kids, you will be glad you took the time to see it. Parents might want to watch this one first without the children just to decide if yours are ready for quite this much grown up. You also might want to have some answers on the ready about some pretty heavy stuff. Not all parents would choose these films for their children, and that's more than okay. But I recommend them because these are themes they know already and I'd rather we be the ones to navigate them through the complexities and nuances than having others do it - especially a YouTube channel. So, if you get a chance and you haven't seen them yet, maybe consider them. Or, if you aren't so late to game to as me, you might already have. In that case, watch them again. And tell me what you think. Or, maybe you have a suggestion about a stop motion film to watch with the family that came out this year or even a decade or two ago that I might have missed. I'd love to hear about it!You can send an email or visit my social media pages. :)Liz