In a recent Hollywood trend, parents in children’s films apologize to their children instead of traumatizing them or simply dying. Thinking back to our youth, far too many Disney films and other children’s movies had one parent who died and the other parent who just didn’t understand what the child was going through. Not only do today’s children’s films portray them as individuals with feelings, desires and dislikes, but the parents in these films see their own flaws and admit them. They back off and trust their children. They say they are sorry.
Children’s films have evolved with the way we treat children
This is a welcome change considering that just 100 years ago we lived in a society where children were to be seen and not heard. Children really aren’t seen as people with their own thoughts and opinions and as that has slowly changed, we have our views on entertainment as well. We’ve seen movies for years where our heroes and heroines clashed with their parents and what was expected of them.
- Ariel in The little Mermaid rebels against his father, King Titan, to become a human able to walk the earth.
- Princess Jasmine in Aladdin refuses to marry simply because his father wants him to.
- rapunzel in Tangled openly leaves her tower after being suspicious and bored with her life.
Looking at the movies our kids watch today, there’s a new trend where parents and grandparents are becoming more aware of the generational trauma that can be caused and seeing that there are different ways of doing things that can be dominating your children and grandchildren with outdated family traditions and values is not a good thing.
VOX explored this new trend in depth and praised the filmmakers for changing the way stories are told, but acknowledges that there have been these types of films in the past. They write,
“Stories of parents realizing they’ve let their kids down and should apologize before it’s too late haven’t been made up in the past two years.”
While that may be true, these films that confront parents and their fault are made by millennial filmmakers who now have children of their own. Encanto and Turning Red tell both the story of generations of kind people and the realization that listening to our elders may not be the only way.
to Encanto is the only member of his family not endowed with magical powers. Other members of his family with powers are expected to use them for the good not only of the family but of the village. All this pressure comes from the matriarch of the Madrigal family, Grandma AKA Abuela. Without a clear villain and a huge fight scene, Encanto is a different type of film where the main conflict of the film is the family and their expectations.
turn red is the story of Chinese immigrants and the generational trauma passed on to female relatives as they enter puberty. Every woman has an angry red panda inside of her in the movie and she is taught to hide it and be ashamed. That’s until 13-year-old Mei decides to use her panda however she wants because it’s hers. This triggers a power struggle with his own mother. Mei also learns that her own mother has her own trauma related to her grandmother. It is this relationship that helps Mei’s mother consider her daughter’s feelings much more.
The Mitchells Vs. The Machines
The Mitchells Vs. The Machines is yet another family animated movie with another generational power struggle between a daughter and a father. In this film, the father finally sees his daughter as a capable young adult instead of a child. These movies for a new generation follow the trope that kids are people and have their own needs and wants, and parents are indeed wrong, and they should admit it.
Source: VOX, NPR, Reddit