Movies Can Build character

One of my favorite things to do when my children were little happened because VHS tape were invented. In my childhood, we had to wait a whole year for “The Wizard of Oz”, or “Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown”. There was no owning movies!!! In the 1960’s we had to wait and wait and wait. In the 1990’s, movies could be bought and rented. No more waiting!

We rented the movie, “Mosquito Coast”, from the library. We watched it as a family and I would stop it every once in a while and we would talk about what we had just watched. We talked about Harrison Ford’s brilliance and his pride and ego. We talked about what it would feel like to leave everything that was safe and familiar to go and live on an island jungle. This movie especially shows when ego turns to danger and destruction. Ultimately, Harrison Ford’s character destroys his family’s safety with his pride. He wasn’t honest or responsible.Take pauses in the movie so you can ask your child,

  • How would you feel leaving everything you are familiar with behind like the family in the movie did?
  • What do you think the father’s motive was in leaving America?
  • When did the father’s pride become destructive?

I saw the movie, “Founder” and again, thought it was a perfect “character strengths and weaknesses” movie. This movie shows a big ego and integrity issues with broken contracts and a man who is determined to have what he wants no matter who is in his way. I also loved the retro appeal of the ’50’s. That was a really fun part of the movie.

More good questions could be:

  • When did Ray Kroc cross the line with the McDonald Brothers?
  • Was Ray Kroc optimistic? Hardworking? Or just greedy?
  • How do you feel about the MacDonald brothers? Were they too trusting? Can you be too trusting?

I want our time watching screens together to mean something. Now that we can own movies, and also have devices that stream them, we can use them as a teaching tool and teach all of those good old-fashioned character traits.

After we had watched “Mosquito Coast” together back in the day, my daughter Nico watched it with her best friend and tried to stop and explain it as I had. She said, “It wasn’t the same, Mom!”

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