Several of my previous discussion guides have been about current movies (Lego Movie & Frozen), but I also wanted to share some home movie options.
Today's guide is for one of my favorite family movies , "Meet the Robinsons". I'm pretty sure I cried like a baby after watching it the first time.
Beyond it's tear-jerker finale, I liked that this film isn't filled with "potty humor" or a "mindless" plot. In fact, because of the time travel element, you actually have to pay close attention so you don't get confused.
There are soooo many great topics brought up in this film. I think we should just get right to it.
(For the curious. . . here's the film's synopsis and the parent guide. I'll tell you some kiddos think the bowler hat is a little scary. But they haven't been too phased by it).
(If you want to rent it for tonight, the SD version is available on Amazon for $2.99--click here. And it's available through Netflix DVD, sadly not through streaming. We just got a copy from our church library. Thanks Diane!)
1. Family Matters
The absolute best message of this movie is, "family matters". Having people who know your quirks, want to spend time with you and support you no matter what. . . is a gift.
Lewis' desire to know his birth mom spurs the action of this movie. He uses his ingenuity and intelligence to find a way to get back to her. Moms matter. Not having a mom care for you, highlights their value even more.
Then Lewis meets the Robinsons, a group of misfits, who all love each other and love to be with each other. AND they love and accept him. Family Matters.
Conversation Starters: What is your favorite family tradition or memory? What rituals can you start? What do you love about your mom?
2. It's a wonderful life
My dad's favorite classic film is, "It's a wonderful life". the main character gets the opportunity to see what life would be like if he'd never been born. The message being: "our lives matter, but it's impossible to measure just how much".
Well, this movie introduces the same concept. What would the future look like if the main character, an orphan named Lewis doesn't invent his memory scanner?
Conversation starters: Talk to your kids about their grandparents or great-grandparents. How did they meet? Did anything happen to bring them together? What about your own marriage story?
For our family Bruce has great grandparents that would not have met if it wasn't for the big San Franciscan earthquake in the early 1900s.
3. Keeping promises
Two different characters in the film (bowler hat man and Wilbur Robinson) lie to Lewis. They both cross their fingers behind their back when making a promise.
Discovering they lied to him is devastating to their relationships. He trusted them and they broke that trust.
At the end of the movie, Wilbur decides to keep his promise to Lewis and take him back in time. His choice was a step to mend and heal that very important relationship.
Conversation Starters: Why does it matter to keep a promise? What promises have you made to family/friends? What promises has God made us? Does He ever not keep a promise?
4. Leave the past behind
Lewis learns that even when he gets what he wants (going back in time to see his mom), it isn't the solution. He realizes what happened in the past was for a reason.
His mom him on the orphanage steps for a reason. There is a great family waiting for him in the future. So he decides to leave the past behind. Stop yearning for things to be different and embrace how they are.
Another character Goob, his orphanage roommate, learns through the course of the movie to forgive and forget. A past mistake bred bitterness and plans for revenge. By the end of the movie he also finds healing by leaving the past behind.
Conversation Starters: Share something from your past that you wish was different. Maybe talk about something they had bad happen at school last week or last year. How do we not let past hurts affect our present and future? (deep stuff but a good conversation). Here is a good time to talk about how God's plan is the best & how He can redeem all things.
5. Keep moving forward
In conjunction with leaving the past behind, Lewis' adult motto is "Keep moving forward". No matter how many times his time machine invention flopped, he just kept working on it.
Eventually, by learning from past failures, he figured out the best way to build a time machine. And the tear jerker moment. . .when he lets go of trying to go back and talk to his mom, he gets to know a couple who end up adopting him. AND support his love of science. (pass the Kleenex).
Conversation Starters: What have you tried to make/write/draw and you kept messing up and wanted to give up? What was something you kept working on and eventually figured out the best way to do it no matter how many times you failed?
Additional topics: Most likely your kids will ask questions about orphanages (if you've never talked about them) and adoption. Just like in my review for "Mr. Peabody & Sherman", you can talk about how we have been spiritually adopted by the Creator of the Universe, God.
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will. (Ephesians 1:4-5)
What is your favorite part of this movie? What topics/conversations have you had with your kids?