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With the heat these days, most of us would rather spend time in air-conditioned comfort.
And what better way to be indoors than to curl up in front of the TV with family and loved ones?
It’s Kindness Month this May and Kindness Day SG is just around the corner on May 20. This year’s theme is “Amp Up Your Kindness”, which takes small acts of graciousness to the next level.
Need a nudge to get you in the spirit? I’ve got you. Here are some inspiring films to enjoy with friends and family!
The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse (G)
Charlie Mackesy’s bestselling children’s book comes to life in this beautifully animated 2022 film.
The 34-minute animated adaptation won this year’s Oscar for Best Short Film (Animated) and the Bafta for Best British Short Animation.
The simple heart-tugging, hand-animated story of the unlikely bond between four creatures as they trek across a snowy landscape talking about the meaning of life is a wonderful starting point for conversations with children on the meaning of kindness, courage and hope!
The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse is available on Apple TV+.
The Good Dinosaur (PG)
From hand-drawn animation to big studio projects, we head next to Disney’s Pixar.
Pixar has a host of great animated movies, such as the Toy Story series and Inside Out (which was also one of the contenders for this list).
But we decided to go with 2015’s The Good Dinosaur because it’s a beautifully animated children’s tale about family, friendship, and conquering fears.
Oh, and it has a cute dinosaur too.
The story revolves around the adventures of a young dinosaur named Arlo who gets separated from his family. He meets Spot, a human, and the friends embark on a journey to help Arlo reunite with his family.
The Good Dinosaur is available on Disney+.
Spirited Away (PG)
Although there are more recent popular anime movies, we decided to put Studio Ghibli’s classic Spirited Away on this list because of its timeless themes of courage and selflessness.
Director Hayao Miziyaki’s 2001 magnum opus tells of Chichiro, a young girl who stumbles into an alternate dimension filled with strange spirits from Japanese folklore. When her parents get bewitched into pigs by an evil sorceress named Yubaba, Chichiro is forced to work in a bathhouse to save them, armed with nothing but her determination and compassion.
Surreal and unforgettable, the movie weaves lessons of perseverance and the consequences of greed as Chichiro puts the needs of others above her own.
Spirited Away is available on Netflix and HBO Max.
Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil (PG)
The next one on the list may be a little surprising.
We put 2019’s Maleficent: Mistress of Evil here because there are themes of kindness and goodness to be found even in Hollywood blockbusters.
(Also, it’s Angelina Jolie!)
She returns as Disney’s iconic villain, complete with devilish black horns and gargoyle-like wings. The sequel to the massively successful Maleficent (2014) continues to explore her complex character and her dynamic with Princess Aurora (played by Elle Fanning).
In typical Disney fashion, this film imparts an essential lesson, one that Maleficent learns through Aurora’s example: True strength comes from empathy and compassion, not fear and aggression.
Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil is available on Disney+.
Homeschooled his whole life, 2017’s Wonder follows a timid boy who enrols into public school for the first time. August Pullman, or Auggie, is like every ordinary 10-year-old child — he plays on his XBox, he loves astronomy, and he is the biggest Star Wars fan.
But there’s one thing that sets Auggie apart — he was born with a rare facial deformity that has kept him at home for all these years.
Based on the 2012 best-selling novel of the same name, Wonder teaches a valuable lesson on bullying and empathy, acceptances and staying true to yourself. As Via, Auggie’s sister whispers to him on his first day at school: “You can’t blend in when you were born to stand out.”
The movie is beautifully narrated, heartwarming and emotionally powerful. Bring the tissues.
Wonder is available on Netflix.
Crip Camp (NC16)
If you’re in the mood for a documentary, Crip Camp describes how the disability rights movement was revolutionised by a small and inspiring community In the hazy days of 1970s upstate New York.
Released in 2020, Crip Camp chronicles the experiences of a group of paraplegic individuals at Camp Jened, a summer camp designed for people with disabilities in the 1970s.
This powerful and incredibly inspiring film humanises and challenges stereotypes of disabilities, while celebrating the power of community and collective action.
Crimp Camp is available on Netflix.
With a title like Ajooma, you’re probably thinking that it’s a K-drama inspired flick. And you’re not too far off the mark!
Veteran actress Hong Hui Fang plays a K-drama obsessed widow who feels neglected by her son. Travelling to Seoul to do some “Seoul” searching, she strays from her tour bus and quickly finds herself lost in an unfamiliar land.
With the help of kind strangers, she must navigate her way back home.
The local film, directed by He Shuming, received four Golden Horse award nominations including Best Actress for Hong and was Singapore’s submission to this year’s Academy Awards in the Best International Feature Film category.
Ajumma is a charming and poignant film about self-discovery following loss. It also teaches us that kindness transcends cultural and language barriers.
Ajooma is available on Prime Video.
A Land Imagined (NC16)
There are films that document the lives of migrant workers in Singapore, but this 2018 local production takes a different approach to telling their stories.
A Land Imagined is a gripping and thought-provoking thriller that delves into the dark underbelly of Singapore’s migrant worker community.
Directed by Yeo Siew Hua, the story involves a detective named Lok who gets entangled in a case of disappearing migrant workers. As Lok delves deeper, he begins to uncover a complex web of secrets and hidden agendas, revealing the gritty reality for Singapore’s often-overlooked migrant community.
It won the Golden Leopard and Golden Horse Award for Original Screenplay and was Singapore’s entry for Best International Feature for the 2020 Oscars.
A Land Imagined is available on Netflix.
Lighting Up the Stars (PG13)
This Chinese drama released in 2022 takes on the taboo subject of death with a light but poignant touch.
San Ge, an ex-con turned mortician, meets Xiao Wen after the little girl’s grandmother passes away. Despite their differences, a bond forms between them as they navigate grief and love, becoming an unlikely father and daughter duo.
Lighting Up the Stars takes audiences on an emotional journey with humour and tact while tackling heavy themes of loss and abandonment. Through the laughter and the tears, we learn a vital lesson: That life is brief and it is our connections with others that are invaluable.
Lighting Up the Stars is available on Netflix.