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After our excitement about seeing Dreamworks Home, my daughter has asked to see Annie with Quvenzhané Wallis. You bet we’re getting a copy for our next family movie night! This shows how important it is for Sophia to see girls that look like her on the big screen. Especially girls who are the lead character of the movie.
I figured if my kids want to see more multicultural family movies, especially with strong brown-skinned girls, then your family might be too. So I put together this list as a reference for all of us. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but it’s a good start. I see a movie marathon in our future!
Family Movies with Multicultural Heroines
1. I’ll start with Dreamworks Home since we just saw it. It’s still in the movie theaters so take your family. Studios hear us better when we speak with our dollars. When the Boove aliens take over Earth, Tip is separated from her mother. With the help of her new alien friend Oh, they go on an adventure to reunite the two.
2. We’re adding Annie with Quvenzhané Wallis to our movie collection. This remake of a classic gets a lot more color. Orphan Annie is played by the adorable, super talented Quvenzhané Wallis and Daddy Warbucks (renamed Will Stacks in this version) is played by Jamie Foxx. My husband and I have passed our love of musicals on to our children. I know they’ll begging for the Annie soundtrack after watching this version.
3. Disney’s Princess & The Frog was fun for our family to watch. Sophia was big into princesses when it was released in 2009. My husband and I grew up in Louisiana and we enjoyed the (caricatured) version of New Orleans. This version of the fairy tale has a fun twist that makes it much more interesting.
4 & 5. Next is one of my favorites, Disney’s Mulan. I loved Mulan because she’s Asian (ha) and she kicks butt! Mulan dresses as a boy so that her elderly father does not have to fight in the army–since he has no sons. AND Disney is working on a live action version slated for release in 2017. Let’s hope that Mushu is less annoying in the new version. Both 1 & 2 are currently available on Netflix.
6. I’m not sure why Book of Life didn’t do well in theaters, but our family really enjoyed it. I learned a lot about Day of the Dead culture and tradition (as much as an animated movie could teach me). Our heroine Marla is headstrong and independent. She does not wait for her night in shining armor to rescue her.
7. This remake of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella is what colorblind casting is all about. The king (Jason Alexander) and queen (Whoopi Goldberg) are an interracial couple and it’s not part of the storyline! It just is. I love that. Cinderella is played by actor/singer Brandy. There’s fun songs, bright costumes, and a very talented, all-star cast.
8. I haven’t seen Disney’s Lilo & Stitch yet, but it looks adorable.An alien creature lands on Hawaii and befriends a girl named Lilo. Of course, crazy and funny antics ensue. Currently available on Netflix.
9. I highly recommend anything from Studio Ghibli, but Spirited Away was the first one my sister forced me to watch. I’m glad she did. The Japanese film is about young girl, Chihiro, trapped in a strange new world of spirits. She must rescue her parents, who were transformed; and find her way out. This movie is a little dark/scary for younger kids, so you might want to watch it before show it to your kids.
10. My Neighbor Totoro is a lot lighter than Spirited Away and has an adorable gray cat. Ok, I’m biased about the gray cat part. We seen this movie many times and it gets better with each viewing. Two young girls move to the country with their father and meets forest spirit Totoro who takes them on all sorts of adventures.
11-14. All the Spy Kids movies. I’ve been subject to multiple viewings of all four movies. Lucky me. The kids love this franchise because they like to pretend the are kid spies. Siblings Carmen (Alexa Vega) and Juni (Daryl Sabara) falls into spy life when their parents are kidnapped. As a team, they save the world multiple times over (in the different movies.) All four are currently available on Netflix.
15 & 16. I would be remiss if I didn’t include Disney’s Pocahontas. Obviously this is not the true story of Pocahontas, the movie version of her is spirited and not afraid to speak her mind. That makes her a heroine to me. Both 1 & 2 are currently available on Netflix.
There’s a few more family movies with multicultural heroines, but I couldn’t find as many as I wanted. You know what we need? A feature length movie with a brown skinned female superhero. With no sidekick. I’m not sure Hollywood is ready for that but our family is.
What multicultural family movies with strong heroines would you add to this list?