SNUGGLED UP COSILY on the sofa in slouchy pyjamas and soft blankets, a big family movie night is the perfect way to spend a lazy evening. Don’t forget the popcorn, of course – freshly popped and served up in retro bowls (we recommend our delicious Nacho Flavoured Popcorn recipe!). Make an adventure out of the experience by encouraging your child to make posters and tickets for the event, draw the curtains to create an ambient atmosphere, and show guests to their seats using a torch.
Apart from the family bonding opportunity, watching a good movie also has lots of educational benefits for your child. There are often recurring themes in films that provide a chance to explore moral dilemmas, problem- solving, emotions and social issues, such as friendship, loyalty, jealousy and betrayal – even if the characters in the film are, say, dancing penguins (Happy Feet explores the notion of being different and finding the confidence to be yourself) or cowboys and spacemen (the Toy Story trilogy explores themes of friendship and loyalty, as well as being brilliant entertainment). Many family films have been recognised with a Truly Moving Picture Award by the Heartland Film Festival, an organisation with a heartwarming (if rather gushing) motto: We love inspiring movies and believe they can influence life. Films that are honoured – around twenty every year – are deemed to be thought-provoking and embrace a variety of positive values, such as respect, honesty and humility, which might sound a bit worthy but are qualities most parents are keen to nurture.
When you consider this year’s winners include Brave and The Lorax, you’ll soon realise that the winning movies are also great entertainment for all the family. The Heartland Institute also provides interesting topics for discussion and tips to promote your budding film critic’s powers of cinematic appreciation. Stovetop Popcorn Maker, £27, and retro Popcorn Bowl £3.50 from Cox & Cox.