Common Sense Media’s 21 best family films of 2023

Common Sense Media’s 21 best family films of 2023

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A city populated by the elements of nature? Check. A journey involving a boy, his sister and a magical elephant? Check. And the most talked-about doll of the century? Of course! From movie theater seats to our own couches, these films held our full attention — and sparked important conversations, too. And all of our picks this year earned the Common Sense Selection Seal, which means they offer families a positive and rewarding media experience.

Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie, age 5+

The adorable rescue pups continue to charm little kids and their parents, and this sweet sequel reminds all viewers that even the tiny can be mighty. (PG, Prime Video, YouTube)

Elemental, age 6+

This beautifully animated allegory is a simple but sweet story that brings the immigrant journey and the first-generation experience to vibrant life and emphasizes the importance of inclusion, family and love. (PG, Disney Plus)

Ernest and Celestine: A Trip to Gibberitia, age 6+

Sweet and insightful, this sequel delights with its memorable animation, lovable main characters and meaningful messages. (Unrated, Apple TV Plus, Prime Video, Google Play, YouTube)

The Little Mermaid, age 8+

Singer/actor/Beyoncé protégée Halle Bailey makes Ariel’s siren songs her own, hits all the right notes (literally and emotionally), and is irresistibly charming. (PG, Disney Plus)

The Magician’s Elephant, age 8+

This wonderful animated adaptation of Kate DiCamillo’s book offers a visually engaging take on a very sweet tale about family and hope. (PG, Netflix)

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, age 9+

Imaginative and intense, this sequel impresses with its layered, moving storyline; like the first film, it will be a joy to watch and re-watch. (PG, Apple TV Plus, Google Play, Prime Video, YouTube)

The Boy and the Heron, age 10+

Hayao Miyazaki hasn’t lost his touch, creating another hand-drawn world that’s infused with supernatural wonder as a tween facing a difficult moment follows his curiosity and finds his courage. (PG-13, in theaters)

Chang Can Dunk, age 10+

Ranging from giddy teen coming-of-age comedy to poignant family drama, this engaging film offers a fresh perspective, fine acting, and an entertaining and emotional tale. (PG, Disney Plus)

A Million Miles Away, age 10+

This feel-good biopic tells the story of José Hernández, the first migrant farmworker to travel to space. It’s filled with positive messages about hard work and the importance of family. (PG, Prime Video)

True Spirit, age 10+

Uplifting and family-friendly, this biopic based on the inspirational real-life journey of an Australian teen encourages kids to work hard to make their dreams a reality. (Unrated, Netflix)

World’s Best, age 10+

This comedy musical about a 12-year-old “math nerd” who — inspired by his late father — decides to give rap a try is full of positive messages, including having the courage and perseverance to try new things. (PG, Disney Plus)

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, age 11+

Writer-director Kelly Fremon Craig’s adaptation of Judy Blume’s timeless tale is a nostalgic, relevant look at early adolescence, friendship, spirituality and parent-child relationships. (PG-13, Prime Video)

Barbie, age 11+

Greta Gerwig’s delightful comedy adventure is bolstered by Margot Robbie’s and Ryan Gosling’s impeccable performances, a top-notch ensemble cast, and a witty, sophisticated screenplay. (PG-13, Max)

Nimona, age 11+

This engaging animated film based on the best-selling graphic novel by ND Stevenson includes important messages of inclusivity and acceptance. (PG, Netflix)

Blue Beetle, age 12+

Jaime Reyes isn’t just the first DC film superhero who’s Latino. He’s also the first movie superhero to show that while his physical power comes from his super-enhancements, his fortitude comes from a loving family. (PG-13, Max)

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, age 12+

A fun, funny family movie pick, this entertaining comic adventure takes full advantage of its “ragtag misfits on a mission” theme and star-studded cast. (PG-13, Apple TV Plus, Google Play, Prime Video, YouTube)

Polite Society, age 12+

This British action-comedy has an empowering female lead who rejects gender stereotypes. It also boasts a diverse multicultural cast. (PG-13, Apple TV Plus, Google Play, Prime Video, YouTube)

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, age 13+

Tender and heartwarming, this YA adaptation about teen friendship, first love and sexual identity in 1980s Texas explores mature themes with kindness and grace. (PG-13, Apple TV Plus, Google Play, Prime Video, YouTube)

Radical, age 13+

Moving and powerful, this fact-based film will take viewers from laughter to tears and shows that integrity and the desire to do things well are ultimately contagious. (Unrated, not available to stream)

Shooting Stars, age 14+

This fun sports tale about young LeBron James focuses on friendship and identity, making it a rewarding and enjoyable watch. (PG-13, Apple TV Plus, Google Play, Prime Video, YouTube)

Rye Lane, age 15+

Set in multicultural London, this heartwarming British rom-com boasts a diverse cast and offers a positive and authentic depiction of young people navigating their way through the trials and tribulations of love. (R, Hulu)

Common Sense Media helps families make smart media choices. Go to commonsense.org for age-based and educational ratings and reviews for movies, games, apps, TV shows, websites and books.

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