As the official film geek here at Bold Brains, I’ve nominated myself to review family-friendly content that, if not educational, at least won’t turn your kids’ brains into oozing puddles of goop (SpongeBob, I’m looking at you)!
The only problem with starting the movie review series with this one is that it is just so darn good – it sets the bar very high!
The story is classic: Katie Mitchell is about to start college (where she’s going to study film), and her dad, Rick, is having trouble not only letting go, but relating to his maturing daughter. Katie’s got a younger brother and a very sweet, quirky mother – but it’s the Katie and Rick relationship that’s the beating heart of the movie.
Sprinkle in a tech mogul who inadvertently unleashes a super powerful AI that seeks to enslave the world via smart phones and, eventually, the titular machines, and you have an adventure film that taps into the current zeitgeist and pulls at the heart strings all at the same time.
To say much more about the plot would just be too spoiler-laden, but it’s the kind of family viewing that can be enjoyed by quite young kids (my 5 year-old had a blast), teens, parents, and grandparents. Which is kind of unusual. A lot of films – like DreamWorks or Disney stuff – tends to be aimed at younger kids, and we adults are just along for the ride.
Here, the bittersweet storyline is all too resonate for parents.
One of the biggest challenges parents face is – and this is tough to admit – accepting your children as they are. Sometimes, their interests differ from ours. Other times, they follow in our footsteps in ways that make us feel pretty proud of ourselves, although, surely every parent can also relate to the challenge of watching their kids making the same mistakes they made growing up.
Of course, parents and guardians are there to help shape the next generation, and we all wish to make that positive impact on our kids, without being overbearing, and without letting them just run wild. Striking that right balance is tough.
And this is right where we find Rick Mitchell – he’s worked incredibly hard for his kids, made sacrifices, and now, his first born is ready to venture forth on her own, and he just can’t quite relate to her passion for film. But he tries.
What Rick discovers is, well, that balance. He can’t make Katie more like him. And he wouldn’t want to. But he remains curious about her, and tries to see her perspective. And this really hit home for me – any time, as a parent, I’ve blown it, it’s because I’ve tilted too much one way or another, but that sweet spot is just remaining interested. Approaching our kids with curiosity is so crucial. You might not always like what you see, but we parents are on a journey with our children – and sometimes, what we learn from them is that there are parts of ourselves we’re not that comfortable with, and by remaining curious about them, we can actually make progress in understanding ourselves.
Anyway, that’s my philosophy.
What do you think?
Check out THE MITCHELLS VERSUS THE MACHINES and post your own review, and any parenting or philosophical insights the movie stirs up!
Also – bring the tissue box.
Side effects of the movie include getting the sniffles and a little misty-eyed.