ave no fear! Josie Ortega recommends her favorite spring movies to lift spirits and give everyone a laugh.
As days grow longer and the earth blooms back into life, the season of spring beckons us to play outside! That said, with spring’s wide temperature variations and unpredictable rainy weather, it behooves all of us to keep a list of cheerful spring movie recommendations in our back pockets. You know, in case of April showers or, ahem, pandemic quarantines.
Let’s gear up for a spring awakening, grab the jelly beans, and settle in for Family Movie Night, spring edition!
If it were up to my kids, they’d convince my husband to see Peter Rabbit 2 in the movie theater. However, the CDC and I recommend staying home and sticking to these Disney classics:
Sword in the Stone. In order to train up the young future King Arthur, the memorable wizard Merlin employs his preferred educational technique, which includes transforming both teacher and student into squirrels and other creatures. In contrast to many of our beloved Disney classics, this film spotlights a boy protagonist and doesn’t feature a romantic storyline. (Except for the squirrel bit.) Another bonus for sensitive viewers: the villain, the Marvelous Mad Madam Mim, plays as funny, rather than frightening. I suppose the film’s true antagonist is ignorance and the idea that Might Makes Right. I mean, feel free to use this classic cinema as a basis for an entire week of homeschool.
Robin Hood. Raise your hand if your romantic awakening felt somewhat confusing because of how attractive the fox versions of Robin Hood and Maid Marian are. Foxy, I guess! This is my fave Disney movie. Ooh, de lally!
The Princess and the Frog. Our whole family enjoyed this more recent creole take on the frog prince fairy tale, which is available on Netflix.
Honorable mention: Darby O’Gill And The Little People, featuring young Sean Connery! *Heart skips a beat.* But maybe also skip the terrifying banshee scene.
Because if there’s singing, the kids will probably be into it.
Singin’ In the Rain. What a fun movie, great numbers, and no scary bad guy except for Lina Lamont’s grating voice. A bright, funny classic that everyone should see.
The Sound of Music. Kids will enjoy songs like “My Favorite Things” and “Do Re Mi.” Parents will be inspired to “Climb Every Mountain.” (If the Von Trapps could escape from Nazi-controlled Austria with seven children, I can homeschool my three.)
Sister Act. I’d call it a new classic. With the exception of the mafia-related violence that sets up the film’s premise, our whole family loved Whoopi Goldberg as lounge singer Doloris, hiding out in the convent. And in case you forgot! The inimitable Dame Maggie Smith shines as the Reverend Mother.
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. As odd as it sounds, a 1954 frontier musical based on the tale of the Rape of the Sabine Women from Plutarch’s Life of Romulus—is utterly charming.
Return to Me. I have a real soft spot for this under-the-radar rom-com starring David Duchovny and Minnie Driver. Their performances are fine, but the quirky setting and supporting characters (led by Bonnie Hunt and Jim Belushi) really won me over.
Anne of Green Gables. Always. It should go without saying that I of course refer to the CBC Megan Follows version. Obviously.
These fellas have gumption.
Newsies. A musical based on the real-life newsboys strike of 1899, featuring a young Christian Bale dancing in the streets of New York—sign me up! I loved this when it was first released, and I love it now. To watch the powerless young workers banding together to stand up to corrupt power and win? Of course I cried.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Speaking of corrupt power: Let us never forget principal Ed Rooney. Now's the time to ditch school and run around Chicago on a gorgeous spring day. Currently available on Netflix.
Nacho Libre. Well, Jack Black as Ignacio, an anonymous, aspiring Lucha Libre wrestler who lives in a Mexican monastery, may or may not make a great role model for our children. But they will laugh. And so will we. Available on Netflix.
It occurs to me that we could’ve created a category called “Spring Movies Featuring Nuns.” Sure, the films may not portray perfectly what life is like in religious orders. Chances are, though, if there’s a nun, there’s a storyline to do with redemption, hope, and identity. That’s just what we need this season!
What spring movies are on your list? Share in the comments, and schedule your next Family Movie Night using FamilyApp!