Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Movie Picks: Special Needs Parenting Edition

If you are like me, the easiest hobby to have as a parent is Netflix. If it's not officially a hobby, just let me live in peace please.

I generally have a nice time right before bed when I watch a DVD or stream a movie. It may take me 4 nights to watch that movie, but it will get done eventually. If you are a fellow parent out there with a child with a disability or special needs, then I have a few movie picks just for you. You know...if case you are searching through thousands of movies trying to figure out what to watch. 
1. Wonder  2017
The previews for Wonder interested me, but, like most movies, I see them long after they were on the big screen. In Wonder, a child with a facial deformity starts school for the first time, and everything that you would expect to happen in the film does.

I rented this movie with intentions to watch it with my 8 year old son. I hoped it would spark a conversation between us, and it did. To my surprise, my daughter joined in on the movie viewing as well and seemed to enjoy it.

There's all sorts of topics the movie brings out regarding bullying, acceptance, peer pressure, loneliness, and the sibling's perspective. This is a great movie for the whole family, and it provides an opportunity to have conversations about tough topics.

2. Arrival  2016
This movie has nothing to do with special needs...or does it? Amy Adams plays a character who must learn to communicate with aliens who mysteriously arrive on Earth. I know what you are thinking. Why is this movie on the list? You have to watch it and then you'll understand. Arrival absolutely tore me up when I watched it. There was serious blubbering happening after the movie ended. My husband had to ask if I was ok. It was that bad. Ha! I don't usually get emotional watching movies, but there was a certain aspect of the story that got me. I don't want to ruin the movie if you haven't seen it. But, there's a question within it. If you knew some aspects of your future life would be painful and difficult, would you still choose that life? Hmmmm...

3. Where Hope Grows  2014
This is a sweet little movie featuring an actor with Down syndrome as one of the lead characters. The person with Down syndrome in the movie is employed and is a valuable member of the community, which are both positive representations I like to see. The story line in this movie was so-so compared to my top picks, but it's a nice little movie to watch.

4. Monica & David  2009
Before the hit television show, 'Born This Way,' there was this amazing documentary called Monica & David. This award winning documentary follows a married couple in love who happen to have Down syndrome. The film explores the topics of independence, expectations, and parenting adults with disabilities. I loved peeking into the lives of this family and seeing perhaps what may be in store for myself one day.

5. The Shack  2017
The Shack...where do I begin? This is a faith-based film, which I know may not be of interest to everyone, but I absolutely loved this film. In the movie, a grieving father meets with God at a shack that was an essential place in his daughter's death. There, he bears his heart and soul out to God while God teaches him about love, forgiveness, and the complexity of trials. If you are a person who has struggled to understand why bad things happen or why our loved ones suffer, then this movie will be of help to you. Sometimes, I feel like faith-based films don't have the best scripts or actors, but The Shack is different. I had some insightful moments while watching this movie and tears too. Excellent movie!

I hope I've given you some cinema inspiration. Enjoy these movies in your spare time!

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