The Imitation Game- A Mom Review

The Imitation Game, ok for kids, child appropriate, is Imitation Game ok for kids, movie, benedict cumberbatchThe Imitation Game is a brilliant movie based on the real life of Alan Turing, who is the pioneer of modern-day computing.  Benedict Cumberbatch is one of the many amazing actors who bring this story to life.  He plays Turing, who is recruited by MI6 to break the Nazi Enigma code and help win the war.  He leads a team of geniuses, including Keira Knightly and Allen Leech (of Downton Abbey).  The team dynamics are interesting to watch since there is a battle of egos and Turing is very socially awkward.

Turing’s life is also very difficult because of his homosexuality at a time when it was considered illegal.  In fact, the movie begins with the police investigating a burglary at Turing’s home.  Later they arrest this war hero for gross indecency.  It is a touching story about the life of this genius to whom we owe so much.

My 12-year-old son wanted us to take him to see this movie but we didn’t take him.  I had read some reviews that made it seem like the homosexuality angle was discussed a lot.  Though my son knows about homosexuality, I really didn’t want him going to a movie that went into details about any sexuality.  However, when I went to the movie, I didn’t feel like there was too much inappropriate discussion for a boy his age.  I thought the movie might be interesting for him despite being a mature drama.  Turing’s hard work, brilliance, perseverance, and dealing with his social issues would be good to show a child.  There was one scene where he mentions his penis being touched but that was the only thing I flinched at as far as inappropriate for a child.  There are no sexual scenes though.  I may let my kids watch this on DVD and try to forward or gloss over that one discussion.

For adults, however, I think this movie is very good and compelling to watch.  I learned so much that I didn’t know.  It also tugs at your heartstrings to watch the personal struggles and achievements of this brilliant man.  I definitely recommend it and think Benedict Cumberbatch deserves an award for his acting.

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The Hobbit- The Battle of the Five Armies, A Mom Review

The Hobbit, The battle of five armies, Tolkien, Peter Jackson, kid-appropriateThis weekend we watched The Hobbit- The Battle of the Five Armies in 3D.  It was quite a spectacle.  As the title suggests, the movie is basically a battle.  There is not too much else going on but it does wrap up the story nicely.  I will miss my trips to Middle-earth.  J.R.R. Tolkien, I wish you were around to write more!

The elves were my favorites and Peter Jackson did an amazing job with the special effects. They fight in an almost choreographed, graceful style.  We also get to delve into the psyche of Thorin Oakenshield.  He shows his dark and light sides and it keeps us guessing (unless you’ve read the book).  It’s also interesting to watch the choices and actions of Bilbo Baggins, who is our real hero.

As for a mom review….both my boys really enjoyed the movie.  They are now 12 and 10 years old and had seen the first two Hobbit movies as well.  Because of that, we didn’t even debate whether this would be appropriate.  However, I must warn that this installment is definitely more violent and gory than the first ones.  I guess the story is about a battle mainly so it is not surprising.  Overall, I recommend watching this movie in the theater since it is an epic story with great visuals!  So long, Middle-earth….

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The Theory of Everything- Mom Review

Theory of Everything,  Hawking, movie, good for kidsThe movie, The Theory of Everything, leaves you quite in awe of Stephen Hawking if you weren’t already.  It is a story about his struggles with his career interests and his struggles with his disease and how the illness pushes him to succeed.  It is also a story of his marriage to Jane and all that they go through together as she cares for him through his decline.

Eddie Redmayne does an amazing job portraying the character of Stephen Hawking.  It is a tough role physically to show the symptoms of ALS while still maintaining the amazing mind and personality of Hawking.  Felicity Jones also does a great portrayal of his wife, Jane.  She shows strength of character and sensitivity while also making us feel her pain and struggles as a mother and wife in this difficult situation.

It is touching as a story of a relationship but also inspiring to watch one of the greatest minds fight to get his theories across.  I really enjoyed this movie.  My older son, who is 12, wanted to watch this movie with us but we didn’t take him and told him maybe on DVD if we deem it is appropriate.  I think it is fine for him to watch because there isn’t an issue of bad language, gore or sexual scenarios.  However, I don’t think he would really enjoy it.  It is less about the scientific discoveries and more about his relationship.  It is inspiring to see him defy the 2 year life expectancy he was given with his diagnosis but I don’t think my son would’ve appreciated the movie.  I think he might have gotten bored since he would have wanted to hear more about space.  For adults, however, it is not boring at all!

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Loss and Understanding

Today I woke up to learn that a neighbor of our’s died of cancer.  Her kids are in 4th and 7th grade and her son is very close to my boys.  I’ve been so sad because they are a very nice family and the kids are sweet and wonderful and this all seems so unfair.  I have had friends who have lost parents at early ages (some in their teens or twenties) and I know what a hole it left in their hearts and lives.  These kids are even younger and at a much more needy and impressionable age.  Their mom was well in the beginning of the year and then gone by the end.  I can’t even fathom.  It could have happened to anyone but God or fate chose them.

I hope my prayers can help them gain strength.  They are a well-liked family so I know there will be support but it won’t replace their loss.  There is really no understanding all this.  I’m not in anyway ready to lose my parents and I am grown with children of my own.  All I can do is cherish all the blessed time I have with my family.  I can make sure my kids stay close to her son since this 9 year old will need friends.  I can tell from the reaction of my kids that they don’t understand death at this age.  I don’t know if we ever do.

I just think these tragedies remind us not to take each other for granted.  It shows us that silly things are not worth getting upset over.  It reminds us that we should cherish each moment with our loved ones.  We can just pray that none of our loved ones are taken too soon but we can’t really control fate.

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Big Hero 6 – Mommy Review

Big Hero 6, Big hero 6 movie, Disney, Hiro, BaymaxThis past weekend our family enjoyed watching Disney’s Big Hero 6.  It’s an action-packed, animated film based on a lesser-known superhero comic.  It is the story of Hiro, a 14-year-old boy of exceptional intelligence and how the events in his life change his path.  The story also deals with grief, loss and the importance of friendship.  It is emotional and hilarious.  I think all age kids would enjoy this movie because the story is mature but the antics are amusing.  The only concern would be for a young child who might be sensitive to the death of a character but that is not new for Disney movies.

It is also more geared around boys, as most action comics are, however there are decent female characters too.  I think the humor would appeal to all genders.  I really loved this movie and so did my husband so I think it is great for the family and not something the parents must be dragged to.  The robot character Baymax is very endearing.  He is built to heal and not hurt which is a nice message.  He is also very funny as this mix of action hero meets loving nurse.

I was also, as a parent, happy that they showed the characters working hard to achieve goals and not giving up.  I’m always looking for a teaching point with my kids and this gave me a good one.  Keep trying and you can do great things!  This was one of the best kid’s movies I’ve seen in a long time. Check it out!

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Interstellar- A Mommy Review

Interstellar movie, Interstellar, Kid appropriate, review, sci-fiAs a big fan of Christopher Nolan’s movies, I made sure to go see Interstellar this past weekend and I was not disappointed.  We watched it in IMAX which made it even more visually spectacular..  I thought Matthew McConaughey did a great job, along with the rest of the impressive cast of Nolan favorites, like Anne Hathaway and Michael Caine.  It was a long movie of 2 hours and 49 minutes but none of it dragged.  The concept was so big actually, that some parts were rushed through.  They didn’t have time to show us astronaut training or further develop certain relationships.  Regardless, it came together very well.

I took my 10-year-old son with us to this movie.  I can’t say that there was anything I regret him seeing even though it was PG-13 but he definitely didn’t appreciate the movie as an adult would.  He enjoyed watching it since the space scenes were cool and he liked the characters and the robots.  However, there was a lot of science, even quantum physics that he and even many adults would not understand.  I did my best to explain what was going on but on a deeper scientific level, even I was at a loss.  I was impressed that this movie did have a lot of real scientific basis and the Nolans even hired renowned physicist Kip Thorne to consult.  It was still science fiction though, so one had to be flexible with their imaginations and not get caught up in every detail of the believable science.  Just relax your mind and believe in wormholes and time/space travel for 3 hours.

The thing I liked most about this movie was that it was very thought-provoking.  It shows a dismal view of Earth, one that is running out of food and becoming uninhabitable.  It shows the government controlling people’s education and jobs based on what they feel the planet needs.  NASA is a hidden organization since their work wouldn’t be seen as necessary to feeding the starving population.  It is a scary world and though fictional, it really makes you think because until now, we have been taking from our planet without any thought to how we might damage the Earth.  There are still so many entitled people who deny the future consequences of our treatment of the planet.  The majority of humans are not thinking about what could happen with excessive pollution and population, climate change, or dwindling fossil fuels.  We are still in a place where money is the driving force and concern for the environment is a hassle.  There is growing environmental awareness now but hopefully things improve and people become more responsible.  We need to keep our home healthy for many future generations.

The bleak and scary view of the planet was another thing that I think wasn’t something you really want to have your children see.  However, I don’t think it had the same impact on my 10-year-old that it had on me.  I think kids at that age generally see things on the surface while an adult will feel what is going on because they can analyze the deeper meaning.  I didn’t want my son to see that the people on Earth could die but I think he just saw it for what it was, a science fiction movie about a fake Earth.  Meanwhile, I was much more shaken because of the parallels that I mentioned above.  In any case, I don’t think this is an inappropriate movie for kids but my son enjoyed Big Hero 6 more.  As for the adults, I thought it was a great movie and I recommend watching it!

 

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Tween Parenting

parenting, tweens, parenting tweens, tween behaviorEvery stage of child rearing has its own unique challenges.  I sometimes learn that the hard way.  I’m glad I no longer have to change diapers, carry around a diaper bag and stroller or pull them in and out of car seats.  However, now they have lots of opinions and social plans of their own.  Taking them to run errands interferes with ‘their time’ and ‘their plans’.  It was almost easier when I dragged them around in a stroller.  Now, at ages 10 and 11, there are a lot more arguments and struggles of a different nature.  Oh and the tantrums of the toddler age didn’t go away, they just morphed into ‘tween-trums’ as I call them.

At these ages, there is a lot more going on with school pressure and socially.  They are also trying to assert their independence and push their limits.  With the older one, I think hormonal changes are adding to all of this by making him moodier and harder to understand.  I feel like I need to research and study child psychology just to keep a happy family.  This part was definitely easier when they were babies.  At that age, you just wanted to make sure you didn’t drop them and fed them on time.  Now, you worry that if you don’t say or do the right things, you will damage their psyche for life.  It doesn’t help to watch crime shows that make you believe that people become crazy killers because their parents messed them up!  No pressure…

I try to do all the things that make sense to me.  I am there for them as much as possible to give them a sense of security.  I try to teach them right from wrong to give them a good moral foundation.  I try to stress the importance of hard work since being smart will only get you so far (that one is a challenge).  I try not to overwhelm them with studying and activities, since I believe free time to have fun and be creative is an important part of childhood.  Oh, and I enforce consequences for bad behavior and disrespect.  I know there are a lot of studies that say punishment is not effective at this stage and you need to just maintain a positive relationship with your child.  I agree with trying to keep a good relationship with my kids and make sure they know I’m their biggest fan, but sometimes they do need consequences to learn a lesson.

Some of the struggles I’ve seen are the result of insecurity and building their identity.  I’m sure these will last a while.  All I can do is make sure they know that we are proud of them and that they can work hard to achieve things that seem too tough.  I also want them to not worry too much about what their peers think they should be or wear or like.  They need to have friends but still have an identity of their own and a bit of a thick skin.  It’s so complicated!  We want the best for our kids but we don’t have control over their minds or the various elements in their lives.  Just do the best we can and hope it works out!

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