My aunt is coming to visit this weekend. This, of course, got me to thinking about family. Today’s list is going to be full of movies about all kinds of families. There are the families you’re born with and the families you choose. Now, these are some of my favorites that have been arbitrarily listed using my customary guidelines. If you’ve got some favorites, go ahead and let me know in the comments section. Before you ask, I’m saving my favorite mother/daughter movies for a later list. Now, let’s get to it!

11. Tortilla Soup (2001)

Tortilla Soup

I always managed to catch only bits and pieces of Tortilla Soup when it was on TV. I’d always enjoyed what I managed to catch and hoped that I’d one day be able to see the film in its entirety. Finally, I got my chance and sat down to watch the whole movie thanks to Netflix. Oh man. I loved it. It’s a movie about a father, his three daughters, and the restaurant he runs. It’s a great movie about taking some of the blows life hands you and making something great with them. It’s also about delicious food. Also, it stars Hector Elizondo. I love that guy.

10. The Jungle Book (1967)

Jungle Book

The Jungle Book is one of the earliest films I can remember watching that was a prime example of a family one chooses. Raised by Baloo (Phil Harris) and Bagheera (Sebastian Cabot), a bear and panther respectively, Mowgli (Bruce Reitherman) grows up to one day be the envy of apes and target of tigers. It’s got some catchy songs, occasionally awkward racial moments (it was the 60’s), and a lot of heart. Thanks to Tumblr, I’m not going to be able to look at Baloo and Bagheera the same way again (in a good way, not like that).

9. Practical Magic (1998)

Practical Magic

Despite knowing that it’s not the best movie, there will always be a soft spot in my heart for Practical Magic. Sisters Sally (Sandra Bullock) and Gillian (Nicole Kidman) grew up under the watchful eye of their witchy aunts, Frances (Stockard Channing) and Jet (Dianne Wiest).  Their paths go in two separate directions and the once-close sisters grow apart. Then, Gillian comes back to town and things get a little crazy. Between crazy exes and sisterly bonding, there’s a lot of great stuff in this movie about accepting family for who they are and allowing yourself to accept yourself, flaws and all. Also, midnight margaritas. Why don’t more people do that?

8. The Goonies (1985)

Goonies

What can one say about The Goonies other than that it’s awesome? A group of kids are faced with separation as developers have come in with a plan to level their neighborhood. Mikey (Sean Astin) discovers a treasure map that is said to lead to the lost treasure of the notorious pirate One-Eyed WIllie. With the hope that treasure might bring and criminals on their trail, the group of friends go on an epic adventure to save their homes. This movie has love, adventure, mystery, and, of course, a bit of a coming-of-age tale. It also has a fantastic cast. You’ll see some much younger, familiar faces.

7. Hellboy (2004)

Hellboy

Hellboy is a movie with a fascinating beginning. After Nazis try to summon otherworldly beings in an effort to gain allies during WWII, they’re stopped by Allied forces. While they didn’t succeed, the Nazis didn’t entirely fail in their summoning efforts. That’s what brings our titular Hellboy (Ron Perlman) into the world. While the movie is primarily about Hellboy’s adventures with the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense, a large part of the film is about his relationship with his father figure, Trevor Bruttenholm (John Hurt). Sure, there’s a romance between Hellboy and Liz (Selma Blair), but the father and son dynamic between Hellboy and Trevor is the real heart of the movie.

6. Pride & Prejudice (2005)

Pride and Prejudice

Pride & Prejudice, the most recent adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic novel with the same title, is not the best version of the novel. While I completely understand that, I’m just going to say that it’s easily one of my most favorite. It’s mostly because it’s got a lot of sentimental value attached to it. I saw it in theaters with my dad and we both got a little misty eyed thanks to Donald Sutherland‘s portrayal of the Bennet family patriarch. Also, the Bennets felt like a real family. They were a treat to watch together.

5. Frozen (2013)

Frozen

You guys knew this was coming. How could I not include what is arguably the most family family movie of the past year? Yes, folks, I had to include Frozen. I love it. It’s about sisters. It’s got great songs. It’s a fantastic return to form for Disney. Sure, it’s not entirely without its flaws, but it’s still an over all great film that I can easily watch over and over again. Also, I loved the story of Elsa (Idina Menzel) and Anna (Kristen Bell) finally coming to fully understand each other. More or less.

4. Big Fish (2003)

Big Fish

Big Fish is a weird movie. It is a weird movie that will always make me cry. It’s about a pragmatic son of an imaginative father. Edward Bloom (Albert Finney) is a man with a gift for spinning tales that his son, Will (Billy Crudup), no longer believes as he knows them to be exaggerations. When his father’s health begins to fail, Will and his pregnant wife Josephine (Marion Cotillard) travel to Alabama to be with him. The rest of the movie is spent just exploring Edward’s tales and Will’s growing understanding of them and his father. This is a sometimes forgotten gem when talking about Tim Burton‘s body of work. I think more people should remember it and Ewan McGregor‘s awesome performance as young Edward.

3. The Incredibles (2004)

Incredibles

The Incredibles was a superhero movie before superhero movies were a thing. It dealt with the possible realities of a world with superpowered individuals and all of the lawsuits and drama that would ensue. Years after having to hang up his suit, Bob Parr (Craig T. Nelson) gets nostalgic for the good old days when he roamed the streets as Mr. Incredible. Together with his buddy Lucius Best (Samuel L. Jackson) aka Frozone, he decides to try and relive some of his glory days. Then things get complicated. While it’s a movie about superheroes, it’s mostly a movie about a family coming together to face seemingly impossible odds. It’s the greatest good.

2. Belle (2013)

Belle Movie Stills

I’m not going to talk a whole lot about Belle other than to remind you guys that I reviewed it and that I loved it. You can go read my review for all of the reasons why I love this movie and why I think this movie is so important. Just go back and read it. Then watch the movie.

1. Lilo & Stitch (2002)

Lilo and Stitch

“Ohana means family. Family means no one gets left behind or forgotten.” Girl meets alien. Alien’s antics threaten to separate girl from the big sister with whom she already has a difficult relationship. Laser fights, Elvis impersonating, and visits with Child Protective Services ensue. While Lilo & Stitch may have started out with just Lilo (Daveigh Chase) and Nani (Tia Carrere) as a family unit, it’s a family that certainly increases in size by the end.



  • micahp

    In reference to Hellboy, you left off the fact that it’s a story of two father/son relationships: Hellboy/Trevor and Hellboy/Rasputin.

    Rasputin summoned Hellboy into this world, essentially making him the “biological” father who had a connection to Hellboy that was overridden by the “adoptive father”, Trevor. The theme being that nurture could override nature.

    • You bring up an excellent point there. At this point, I should mention that it’s been a while since I’ve seen the first Hellboy film. I’m very fond of the second which also brings up an interesting paternal dynamic.