Timetraveller Wife
by Timetraveller Wife

This week, let’s take a look at movies that are suitable for a family night in. However, these are not your usual Disney animation movies or Harry Potter adventures. These five movies go beyond exaggerated smiley faces; they talk about life and the meaning behind it. 


Moonrise Kingdom
Moonrise Kingdom is a small, pretty cove that a pair of twelve-year-olds, Suzy (Kara Hayward) and Sam (Jared Gilman), rename when they run off to a remote island and fall in love. Both act beyond their age - Suzy wears bright blue eyeliner and Sam puffs on a corncob pipe. This is the story of how they write to each other, make a pact to run away and go off on their adventure, and of the chaos the community is thrown into searching for them.

Moonrise Kingdom is the first Wes Anderson film without any involvement of Owen Wilson

Multiple Oscar-nominated director, Wes Anderson, gives the film a yellow-green and pale blue tone. This gives it a feel of autumn, awkwardness and playfulness. The film is refreshing given that the Romeo and Juliet-like characters are at that awkward age where they are stepping into their teen years. 

The movie also boosts a strong, veteran cast - Edward Norton, Bruce Willis, Bill Murray, and Tilda Swinton

Moonrise Kingdom


The Impossible
The 2004 earthquake in the Indian Ocean occurred on 26 December and caused the most deadly tsunamis in living memory. Over 200,000 people died and more than half a million were injured. 

The Impossible brings us the aftermath of the disaster through the story of a family and how love keeps them going.

It’s 2004 and the Bennett family, Henry Bennett (Ewan McGregor), his wife Maria (Naomi Watts), and their three sons Lucas (Tom Holland), Tomas (Samuel Joslin), and Simon (Oaklee Pendergast), go on a Christmas holiday to Khao Lak, Thailand. Arriving on Christmas Eve, unbeknownst to them, they will soon face separation. 

The real family that the main characters are based on are in fact Spanish, living in Japan at the time of the Tsunami

After the tsunami strikes, Maria and Lucas are separated from Henry, Thomas and Simon. Henry leaves the two boys with another family who is heading for higher ground while he stays on to search for the other two. 

There are many moments, both heart-breaking and joyful, that will bring tears to your eyes: such as when Henry promises Maria's father that he will find them; or when Lucas has a scare while waiting for his mother to come out of surgery; or the reunification of the family. Most of all, you will feel immense gratitude for having your own family by your side long after the movie ends. 

The Impossible


The Joneses

The Jones family is perfect - beautiful wife Kate (Demi Moore), well-established husband Steve (David Duchovny), and their two perfect children Jenn (Amber Heard) and Mick (Benjamin Hollingsworth). However, far from being a perfect family, the Joneses are part of a marketing organisation, and their task is to make everyone want what they have. 

Marketers will love The Joneses for its brilliant marketing concept

Kate is the leader of the team while Steve is new to the game. The panic button is activated when Steve realises that he has the lowest sales numbers. In desperation, he finds something that works perfectly. 

There is plenty of fun and lots of holding your breath moments as their cover is almost blown a couple of times. Besides the popcorn, holiday seasons can always do with a little more laughter. 

The Joneses


The Tree of Life
A movie that explores the origins and meaning of life through childhood memories and through a middle-aged man’s relationship with his family. The Tree of Life is an experimental drama epic that stars Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain and two-time Oscar winner Sean Penn

Young Jack (Hunter McCracken) is born to Mr O’Brien (Brad Pitt) and Mrs O’Brien (Jessica Chastain). While Mrs O’Brien is gentle and nurturing, constantly presenting the world as a place of wonder to her children, Mr O’Brien is a strict authoritarian. Jack is confused by the differences between his parents. Jack's perception of the world begins to change after one of his friends drowns at the pool and another is burned in a house fire. 

Ranked at #79 on BBC Magazine's The 100 greatest American films

After a career setback, Mr O’Brien’s attitude also changes. He questions if he has been a good enough person and asks Jack for forgiveness for his harsh behaviour towards him. 

As an adult and an architect in the present day, Jack (Sean Penn) experiences a vision, seeing the brother who passed away in his teens. When his vision ends, he is satisfied and happy. 

A line by Mrs O’Brien that’s worth mentioning: Unless you love, your life will flash by. 

The Tree of Life


Two-time Award-winnng director, Alexander Payne, has a knack for making movies that deal with a sense of loneliness, one way or another, like Sideways and About Schmidt. Nebraska is filmed in black and white, but that doesn’t take away from any of the humour. Perhaps, it brings it out even more. 

Alexander Payne tried to get the movie made for several years. The success of The Descendants (2011) finally gave him the leverage to do it.

Woody (Bruce Dern) receives a sweepstakes letter and believes that he has won a $1 million prize, while his son, David (Will Forte), knows immediately that it is a scam. Woody plans to walk to Nebraska to collect his winnings. The problem: he lives 800 miles away in Montana. After several attempts at taking off on his own, David finally decides to drive his father there. 

The movie tells the tale of a father-and-son adventure and how they discover that love is always there. The two bond along the way, with the son finally understanding his father in a way he has never done before. 


This gem is definitely worth your time and is guaranteed to leave you laughing and crying at the same time. 

Watch these five movies, and rediscover love and meaning of life.