Catching up with the family is a top priority, especially at the end of a grueling week filled with work and school. But when your kin is too tired to swing a tennis racket, go fishing, or exert themselves physically in any way, what’s left to keep everyone close? Movies, of course! If you’re an Amazon Prime subscriber and want an easy way to decompress with your favorite people this weekend, the streaming platform is home to hundreds of great family films for all to love. To help you skip scrolling through pages of flick-fodder, we’ve hand-picked the top content for your enjoyment. Here’s a roundup of the best family movies on Amazon Prime this month.
Sonic the Hedgehog (2020)
It’s about time everyone’s favorite blue speed-demon received a major Hollywood film. When the titular hedgehog (voiced by Ben Schwartz) is beamed to Earth by way of a portal conjured by magic rings, the critter finds life in peaceful Green Hills, Montana, to be anything but lively. When a game of baseball (with Sonic as the only player) goes haywire, Sonic ends up taking out the power grid of the entire town. Attracting the attention of the U.S. military, top officials reach out to Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) to analyze and track down Sonic. But evil geniuses typically come with an ulterior motive or two, and Robotnik is no exception. A fun, off-the-wall video-game-to-film adaptation that works in more ways than one, Sonic the Hedgehog incorporates everything we love about the Sega canon into a cohesive and dizzying CGI-meets-live-action adventure.
Rotten Tomatoes: 63%
Stars: James Marsden, Ben Schwartz, Jim Carrey
Director: Jeff Fowler
Runtime: 100 minutes
Ernest & Celestine (2014)
Based on Belgian author and illustrator Gabrielle Vincent’s book series of the same name, Ernest & Celestine follows the daring adventure of a mouse named Celestine (Mackenzie Foy) and a bear named Ernest (Forest Whitaker). When Celestine is forced into dentistry by her rodent superiors, the young mouse journeys to the world above-ground to collect the teeth of bear cubs. When Celestine is caught by a family of bears and held captive at the bottom of a trash barrel, a hungry Ernest attempts to eat her the next morning. After convincing him not to consume her, Celestine helps Ernest find food, a breaking-and-entering ordeal that puts authorities of both mouse and bear cities on the literal tails of the dynamic duo. Lovingly animated, the beautiful tale of Ernest & Celestine is an homage to the heyday of hand-drawn feature films, buttressed by a charming and clever story of two species colliding in unexpected ways.
Rotten Tomatoes: 98%
Stars: Lauren Bacall Mackenzie Foy Paul Giamatti, Forest Whitaker
Director: Stephane Aubier Vincent Patar Benjamin Renner
Runtime: 79 minutes
The Adventures of Tintin
When Tintin (voiced by Jamie Bell) purchases a model ship from an outdoor bazaar, the unsuspecting reporter is descended upon by Mr. Sakharine (Daniel Craig) and Barnaby (Joe Starr). When we learn that the model contains an ancient secret that will lead its owners to untold riches, Tintin has little time to act on the knowledge before Sakharine kidnaps and hands the boy over to the booze-addled Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis). Escaping the captain’s vessel at sea, we discover that the descendants of the drunken Haddock are the original bearers of the treasure. It’s a race against time as Tintin, his dog Snowy, and Captain Haddock must uncover the trove before Sakharine and his cronies do. A riveting animated adventure from Steven Spielberg, The Adventures of Tintin is a head-spinning feature and a fitting homage to the Georges Remi comics that inspired the film.
Rotten Tomatoes: 74%
Stars: Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Cary Elwes
Director: Steven Spielberg
Runtime: 116 minutes
Storm Boy (2019)
In Storm Boy, Geoffrey Rush stars as Michael Kingley, a retired businessman that begins experiencing fleeting visions of his past. As the film unfolds, we learn that in his youth, Michael spent his days on a largely uninhabited part of the Southern Australian coastline. It was here that he rescued and formed a close bond with an extraordinary pelican he deemed Mr. Percival. A rather faithful adaptation of a novella by Colin Thiele and the second film adaptation of the source material, Storm Boy is a loving and heartwarming film that’ll charm the whole family.
Rotten Tomatoes: 69%
Stars: Jai Courtney Geoffrey Rush, Finn Little
Director: Shawn Seet
Runtime: 98 minutes
Playing With Fire (2019)
After coming to the rescue of three siblings stranded in the wild, fire superintendent Jake Carson (John Cena) and his elite team of firefighters discover a far more daunting challenge: Babysitting the kids. As their lives, jobs, and fire depot are turned upside down, the three men learn a valuable lesson about family.
Rotten Tomatoes: 23%
Stars: John Cena, Keegan Michael-Key, John Leguizamo
Director: Andy Fickman
Runtime: 95 minutes
Troop Zero (2020)
In rural Georgia in 1977, a misfit little girl (McKenna Grace) dreams of one day going to outer space. So when a national competition offers her a chance to be recorded on NASA’s Golden Record, she jumps at the chance. The only problem is that she has to be a part of the Birdie Scouts to compete. In a rush to enter the competition, she assembles a ragtag crew of misfits like her, only to unwittingly forge friendships that will last a lifetime.
Rotten Tomatoes: 68%
Stars: Viola Davis, McKenna Grace, Jim Gaffigan
Director: Bert & Bertie
Runtime: 97 minutes
Instant Family (2018)
It may not be great for families with very young kids (note the PG-13), but Instant Family will be a hit for families with tweens and teens. When Pete (Mark Wahlberg) and Ellie (Rose Byrne) decide to start a family, they stumble into the world of foster care. Hoping to take in one small child, they instead wind up with a trio of siblings, going from zero kids to three overnight. Instantly, they’ve got a new family and must learn the ropes of parenthood in hopes of becoming a family.
Rotten Tomatoes: 81%
Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Rose Byrne, Octavia Spencer
Director: Sean Anders
Runtime: 119 minutes
Dora and the Lost City of Gold (2019)
The popular Dora the Explorer cartoon comes to life in this action-packed adventure! Dora (Isabela Merced) has spent most of her life exploring the jungle, but it’s nothing compared to high school. But when her parents disappear, Dora embarks on a quest to save them while trying to solve the mystery behind a lost Incan civilization.
Rotten Tomatoes: 85%
Stars: Isabela Moner, Eugenio Derbez, Michael Peña
Director: James Bobin
Runtime: 102 minutes
Who would have thought watching two bumbling fools hunting a mouse for an hour and a half could be so fun? The Gore Verbinski-directed Mouse Hunt stars Nathan Lane and Lee Evans as two greedy brothers who move into their recently deceased magnate father’s decrepit mansion. Trying to keep a promise to not sell their father’s factory, they decide instead to restore the house and sell it for a big windfall. Unfortunately, there’s an extremely malicious mouse on the loose that is determined to keep its home intact.
Rotten Tomatoes: 42%
Stars: Nathan Lane, Lee Evans, Vicki Lewis
Director: Gore Verbinski
Runtime: 97 minutes
Benji is a stray dog that doesn’t need an owner. He likes to roam freely in his friendly Texas town where people give him treats and he can hector the local cat as much as he wants. But when two children that Benji loves are kidnapped and held for ransom, Benji takes it upon himself to save the day. Who needs Lassie when Benji is around?
Rotten Tomatoes: 86%
Stars: Frances Bavier, Edgar Buchanan, Peter Breck
Directors: Joe Camp
Runtime: 86 minutes
Belle and Sebastian (2015)
Adapted from the 1965 novel Belle et Sébastien by Cécile Aubry, our story follows Sebastian (Félix Bosseut), an orphan boy living with an adoptive grandfather and his niece in the German-occupied French Alps in 1943. With dreams of reuniting with his mother, who he believes is just beyond the mighty mountain range, Sebastian spends his days in the shadows of the vistas. Returning home from one such excursion, he encounters a towering stray dog who he names Belle. The two take to each other right away, but just as trouble strikes. A Nazi patrol strolls into Sebastian’s villa, with intentions of cutting off the local French Resistance that has been transporting Jews into Switzerland. Nicolas Vanier’s film weaves a beautiful tale of companionship, humanity, and authentic depiction of a hardship-laced era.
Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Stars: Félix Bosseut, Tchéky Karyo, Margaux Châtelier
Directors: Nicholas Varnier
Runtime: 99 minutes
Alain Gsponer’s Heidi is the most recent adaptation of Johanna Spyri’s 1881 Swiss novel about an orphaned girl named Heidi that spends her days roaming the valleys of the Swiss Alps with her grandfather. The child’s way of life is totally uprooted when she’s forced into the care of a bourgeoisie Frankfurt family, where she pines for her days of carefree country living. This is perhaps the closest to the original text as an adaptation has ever neared, with Anuk Steffen delivering an earnest and emotional portrayal of the titular character. Rounding out the talented cast are a host of other great German actors, including the late Bruno Ganz and Anna Schinz. If you and the little ones are OK with subtitles, this is an incredible foreign language entry for the entire family.
Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Stars: Anuk Steffen, Bruno Ganz, Anna Schinz
Directors: Alain Gsponer
Runtime: 111 minutes
The Addams Family (2019)
The macabre clan is back in this visceral 2019 animated reimagining. After Gomez (Oscar Isaac) and Morticia (Charlize Theron) are run out of their own town for their ghoulish deeds, the infamous Addams clan relocates to a condemned asylum in New Jersey. Over a decade later, the Addams children, Wednesday (Chloë Grace Moretz) and Pugsley (Finn Wolfhard), are each faced with unique coming-of-age experiences. Wednesday wants to be a part of the world outside her family’s gloomy estate, while Pugsley is forced to prepare for his Mazurka, a rite of passage for every member of the Addams clan. Then, a reality TV host named Margaux Needler (Allison Janney) pledges to force the family out of town once more. We’ve seen the Addams Family in everything from New Yorker serials to TV to live-action films. It’s only fitting that an animated feature would come about. In fact, co-directors Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan made such a splash with this 2019 iteration that a sequel is already in the works.
Rotten Tomatoes: 44%
Stars: Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron, Chloë Grace Moretz, Finn Wolfhard
Directors: Conrad Vernon, Greg Tiernan
Runtime: 87 minutes
Ben Crandall (Ethan Hawke), a San Francisco youth, keeps having dreams about flying through the sky on some kind of manufactured spacecraft that resembles a circuit board. Ben eventually reports his dream-visions to wunderkind school-friend Wolfgang (River Phoenix). With the help of a third friend, Darren (Jason Presson), the three boys actually construct the circuit board, using the device to create an electromagnetic field around an old Tilt-a-Whirl car that they’ve fashioned for their flight vehicle. Explorers is a fun film that was quickly relegated to cult status upon its release. According to director Joe Dante, the production was infamously rushed by studio executives and released only a week after Back to the Future, the year’s mega box-office hit.
Rotten Tomatoes: 77%
Stars: Ethan Hawke, River Phoenix, Jason Presson
Director: Joe Dante
Runtime: 109 minutes
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