Teaching children not to bully is part of good parenting, but sometimes it helps to have a good book or movie to make the case.
One of the best films on the subject of bullying — 2017’s “Wonder” (PG) — began streaming in November on Amazon Prime and Hulu. It tells the story of a boy named Auggie Pullman who was born with facial differences and must learn how to navigate life while transitioning from homeschooling to public school.
Some of the kids treat him with kindness but others don’t. By the end of the movie though even the mean kids have a change of heart.
Based on a novel that is read by schoolchildren across America, “Wonder” does a masterful job of walking a fine line between showing too much bullying (which would make it too painful to watch) and not enough (which would lessen its emotional impact).
It helps children understand what it’s like to be bullied. Faith is never mentioned, but Jesus’ command in Luke 6:31 — “Do to others as you would like them to do to you” — is reflected throughout the story. That’s one reason I took my 10-year-old son to watch it in the theater.
It stars Julia Roberts as Auggie’s mom and Owen Wilson as his father.
The movie is mostly family-friendly, although there are a few caveats. It contains one misuse of “Jesus” (said by a bully) and three or so OMGs.
It also shows two fights that could give the impression that violence is OK. But that can be corrected with a post-movie discussion.
Other new releases on Amazon Prime, Netflix and Hulu:
- “Christmas With the Kranks” (Amazon Prime) — A family that often wins holiday-themed yard-decorating contests decides to skip Christmas. Their neighbors — who love decorations — aren’t pleased. Tim Allen stars in this comedy that is hated by some, loved by others. Rated PG for brief language and some suggestive content.
- “Hoosiers” (Hulu) — A high school boy’s basketball team from a small Indiana town reaches the state championship. Rated PG and contains some language.
- “Transcendence” (Netflix) — A brilliant researcher in artificial intelligence is shot and nearly killed but is saved (sort of) thanks to his creation. Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action and violence, some bloody images, brief strong language and sensuality.
- “The Great British Baking Show” (Netflix) — Some of Britain’s best cooks face off in a competition to design delicious sweet treats. Rated TV-PG.
- “Angela’s Christmas” (Netflix) — A young girl is inspired with an extraordinary idea while attending church. An animated Netflix original. Appropriate for all ages.
- “Treehouse Detectives” (Netflix) — Young bear siblings explore nature and learn about the world. My 3-year-old enjoys this series. Rated TV-Y.
- “Wild Kratts: Creatures of the Deep Sea” (Amazon Prime) — Brothers and animal explorers Chris and Martin Kratt teach children about deep-sea ocean life. Appropriate for all ages.
- “Big Hero 6” (Hulu) — A genius boy name Hiro designs robots to help heal from his brother’s death. Rated PG for action and peril, some rude humor and thematic elements.
Meet the reviewer
Michael Foust covers the intersection of faith and entertainment as a media reviewer for The Alabama Baptist. He also is the husband of an amazing wife and the father of four young children.
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