Brave Writer mom, Robin, writes:
I don’t know if this is done all over the US, but our local theater has a Summer Movie program for kids each year. For $5 per person you get tickets for 10 kids’ movies, one a week for 10 weeks. For the most part they are old movies, ones we’ve seen before at home, but when temperatures soar over 105°F all summer long any A/C’d activity is appreciated.
Your Movie Wednesday blog post last week inspired me to make more of our Friday morning moving watching, and I incorporated it for the very next movie we saw, Epic. The 20 minute drive to the theater, plus the 10 minutes to pump gas, allowed us plenty of time for discussing character, plot, foreshadowing, and flashback, pulling lots of examples from recent books we’ve read and movies we watched. Since we had seen this movie before, I challenged my kids to be on the lookout for the things we had discussed so that we could talk about them on the way home.
It was such a success! Can you believe my “attention span of a gnat” 7 year old identified the flashback scene while her 11 and 9 year old brothers were still frowning in thought?
All of the kids could identify the protagonist and antagonist, although only my 11 year old remembered how to say the words. They got into a nice discussion over whether Mandrake was a dynamic or static character too. Did he change at all or was how he acted and what he wanted the same throughout the movie regardless of what happened around him?
The concept of plot was equally easy for them to grasp, although this particular movie didn’t lend itself easily to discussing sub-plots so that didn’t come up.
None of the kids could identify the instances of foreshadowing in Epic, but I really didn’t expect it; foreshadowing is subtle. So I told them about how the narration at the beginning told of “needing help” and how the father said something along the line of, “Just because you can’t see something doesn’t mean it’s not there.” These weren’t the greatest examples of foreshadowing, so we ended up referring to the book Johnny Tremain that we have been reading aloud.
All in all, our first foray into mindful movie discussion was a huge success. We will be doing it again, although we may skip this week’s Summer Movie (Smurfs 2, uh) and watch Mulan or Prince of Egypt or something.
Attached is a photo of my three younger kids waiting for Epic to start (my two teens weren’t interested in the Summer Movie program, so they have been staying home each week).
Need help commenting meaningfully on plot, characterization, make-up and costumes, acting, setting and even film editing? Check out our eleven page guide, Brave Writer Goes to the Movies. Also, tell us about a film you and your kids watched together (along with a pic if you have one) and if we share it on the blog you’ll receive a free copy!