9 Family-Friendly Movies to Unwind and Stay Connected in 2022


Looking for new family friendly movies on Netflix or Disney+ so you can chillax with your folks and children over the weekend? Sure, there are tons of entertainment options out there, but the challenge is finding the best family friendly movies. Your mission is to find something that everyone will enjoy.

Maybe you’re browsing titles on Netflix and Money Heist and Squid Game appear as suggestions. Nope, those are too gory for the kiddos. But then again, you can’t just look for new kids movies or movies for 12 year olds — some might have an overly simplistic storyline that could send the teens and adults into Zzz-land. How about family comedy movies, or non-animated family movies then? Hmm… 

We’re here to help. If you’re looking for new family movies, here are some options to look at in case you’ve run out of ideas.

1. Encanto (2021)

Encanto is one of the liveliest family friendly movies of 2021. Available on Disney+, this animated movie is brimming with catchy songs, dancing, comedy and what everyone loves — magic. It’s also a great movie for the little ones to learn about the rich Columbian cultural heritage.

As the story goes, a couple fleeing armed conflict in Columbia are protected by the power of a magical candle. This same power creates a magical realm called the encanto. Fast-forward 50 years, there is now an entire village within the encanto, and each descendant of the original family receives a magical gift at the age of 5.

Somehow, the main character of the story, Mirabel, received no such gift. However, she’s suddenly the only one who can resolve her family’s deepest disputes, stop a disaster from happening and once again rebuild the family home.

Release date: 24 November 2021

Genre: Animation, comedy, fantasy, musical

Run time: 109 minutes

Rating: PG


2. How to Train Your Dragon (2010)

Everyone who has watched How to Train Your Dragon has become an instant fan of Toothless, the rare Black Fury breed of dragon. This animation showcases the friendship of a young Viking called Hiccup who befriends a dragon in a world where humans aspire to slay them.

In the first How to Train Your Dragon movie, we see how humans and dragons become allies instead of enemies, and how a young Viking who was often dismissed is now lauded as a courageous changemaker.

The movie was so well-received that How to Train Your Dragon 2 and How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World were later released, along with a bunch of TV series and short films. How to Train Your Dragon was based on a series of children’s novels and the movies, produced by DreamWorks Animation, are available on Netflix.

Release date: 21 May 21 2010

Genre: Animation, fantasy, action, adventure

Run time: 98 minutes

Rating: PG

3. Jumanji (1995)

It’s likely that those who grew up watching Jumanji in the cinema could already have kids of their own and it’s now time to rewatch this thrilling classic. However, Jumanji is quite thrilling and all that heart-racing action is more suitable for older children.

The story begins when siblings find a board game in their house — cue the movie’s signature drum beats. They start playing, and release a player who got stuck inside the game 26 years ago. As they play the board game, which is called Jumanji, they release hazards from the fictitious jungle into their reality. Think monkeys, giant mozzies, a stampede and even a dangerous hunter.

In order to reverse all the destruction and stop the game from wreaking havoc on the world, the players’ only option is to finish the game. Join the wild Jumanji adventure on Netflix.

Release date: 15 December 1995

Genre: Live action, fantasy, action, thriller

Run time: 104 minutes

Rating: PG


4. The Greatest Showman (2017)

The Greatest Showman is a musical drama film that tells the story of American showman P.T. Barnum’s founding of the Barnum & Bailey Circus and played a part in popularising circus entertainment in the US. This he achieved by combining theatre with live animals, music, clowns, and other acts from all around the world to create “The Greatest Show on Earth”.

This film, which is chock-full of music (awesome soundtrack), feel-good vibes, comedy and a whole lotta imagination (think kaleidoscopic scenes), will get even the non-circus fans in your fam off their devices. And with famed actor Hugh Jackman playing the main role alongside big names that include Zac Efron and Zendaya, The Greatest Showman certainly has enough star power to keep even the older adults riveted.

Find The Greatest Showman on Disney+.

Release date: 20 December 2017

Genre: Live action, musical, biographical, drama

Run time: 106 minutes

Rating: PG

5. Inside Out (2015)

What if our emotions were actual characters living in the control station of our mind? In this animation produced by Pixar Animation Studios, we go inside the head of Riley, who recently moved from Minnesota to San Francisco with her parents.

Inside her head, we see how Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust, and Anger play a part when she goes through this major change in her life. Actually, they also try to help Riley out, by replaying some of her happy childhood memories to dissipate the sadness and fear she feels in her new environment.

Inside Out was inspired by the writer and director’s personal experience, when he noted how his daughter’s personality changed as she grew up. To ensure that the film portrayed the mind as accurately as possible, the team also consulted neuroscientists and psychologists. This has got to be one of the best family friendly movies that your entire fambam will enjoy. Catch it on Disney+.

Release date: 19 June 2015

Genre: Animation, coming-of-age, comedy

Run time: 95 minutes

Rating: PG


6. Matilda

Those who grew up reading Roald Dahl’s books will definitely remember Matilda, which is about the titular character, Matilda, who has to deal not just with her neglectful family but also the overbearing principal at her elementary school.

Thing is, Matilda has a very high IQ of 170, but her parents see this as a threat to her authority. They attempt to stop her from reading (she learnt how to read and write at the tender age of 4) and from going to school.

Her life changes for the better when she realises that she has psychokinetic abilities, allowing her to move things with her mind. With this newfound power, Matilda overcomes oppression and can finally realise her full potential.

This movie, which is available on Netflix, is set to see a new remake by Netflix scheduled for release at the end of this year.

Release date: 2 August 1996

Genre: Live action, coming-of-age, drama, fantasy

Run time: 98 minutes

Rating: PG

7. The Lion King (1994)

Roar into the weekend with one of the best family friendly movies of all time — Disney’s The Lion King, which has seen multiple iterations as carton series, musicals and so on. This classic is, of course, available on Disney+.

You’re probably already familiar with the story: Simba, a lion cub, is born, and the movie opens with him being presented atop Pride Rock. However, shortly after, Simba’s father is murdered by Scar, who puts the thought into young Simba’s mind that the lion cub was responsible for his father’s death.

Ashamed, Simba flees and goes into exile, where he meets the carefree pair, Timon and Pumbaa. However, eventually, Simba must uncover the truth, dethrone Scar, reclaim his rightful place as King of the Jungle, and restore peace and order to Pride Rock.

Release date: 15 June 1994

Genre: Animation, coming-of-age, musical

Run time: 88 minutes

Rating: PG


8. My Neighbour Totoro (1988)

My Neighbour Totoro is a charming, whimsical Japanese animated movie that’s available on Netflix by the acclaimed Studio Ghibli. One of the best family friendly movies for both kids and adults alike, this fantasy film filled with cute characters was written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki.

We follow the adventures of two sisters who move into a new house in the countryside. There, the young girls discover a giant cat-like creature that magically appears in their garden, who they call “Totoro”. Eventually, the sisters will need Totoro’s help, as one of them goes missing while on the way to look for their sick mum, who is receiving treatment in hospital.

Release date: 16 April 1988

Genre: Animation, coming-of-age, fantasy, Japanese

Run time: 86 minutes

Rating: G

9. Home Alone (1990)

Somehow when Christmas season rolls around, repeats of Home Alone will be screened on the telly. But of course, it’s a classic — once the adults get past the hilarious beginning: A young boy is left behind in a large home as his family all head overseas after forgetting to take him along.

We then see how the boy enjoys himself, doing anything he wants and even ordering pizza. But then, things take a turn for the worse and he encounters bumbling burglars, where he sets traps for them. Hilarity ensues, which is perfect for tummy roaring laughs for your whole fam.

Has it really been 32 years since this movie was first released? You can still relive the comedy on Disney+.

Release date: 16 November 1990

Genre: Live action, Christmas, comedy

Run time: 103 minutes

Rating: PG

So many great movies, which one to watch first?

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