Looking for a film about Easter for a small child
April 21, 2014 7:29 PM   Subscribe

Small child paid more attention than expected at our Easter services and is now retelling us with gusto how Mary nailed Jesus to the wood and then he melted (death as understood by her from Raymond Brigg's The Snowman) and then woke up again. Only with a lot more details and blood. The story is quite mixed up in her mind because she's pieced it together from icons and gospel passages and questions we've answered. We're matter-of-fact about death etc in our household, and she's very interested in emotional narratives, so this is fascinating and confusing her. The children's bibles we have elide over the actual details of the crucifixion, and while I can and have read her the actual accounts, they're a struggle for her to follow the language. Is there a film or animation out there that includes the crucifixion and resurrection but doesn't revel in the gore like Mel Gibson, or reduce it to singing vegetables?
posted by viggorlijah to Religion & Philosophy (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
How small is small? Are we talking 4, 5,6,7,8? Knowing the age would help with recommendations.
posted by misha at 7:39 PM on April 21, 2014

She's two and a half, but can sit through and follow a disney film - Tangled and Frozen are her big things now. She understands most of the narrative. I'm happy for her to watch something meant for older kids because she likes repeat viewing a film while interrogating me about it and then re-enacting the film in play until she gets it.
posted by viggorlijah at 7:51 PM on April 21, 2014

Your description is utter childhood gold and I was sitting here cracking up until I realized that the Mormons may have fulfilled your wishes--I remember tons of religious stuff like this growing up. I know LDS theology isn't quite like most Christian sects, but the Easter stuff might be generalized enough to work for you:


I watched "Chapter 53: Jesus Is Crucified":


And it has some fairly simple language and animated still paintings. Maybe it'll do?
posted by foxfirefey at 8:03 PM on April 21, 2014 [6 favorites]

The beginners bible, both the book and the videos. Or The greatest adventure, although that is geared to school age kids. You can find both on YouTube.
posted by SyraCarol at 8:05 PM on April 21, 2014

Gerbert might have something appropriate, although its not far above singing vegetables. My kids loved Gerbert when they were that age, even though we are not very religious.
posted by raisingsand at 8:35 PM on April 21, 2014

The Miracle Maker might do the job. It's stop-motion animation and is really nicely done though there is a slightly freaky bit about half-way through... On the whole it's Jesus' life story but the Easter part is well put together.
posted by IncognitoErgoSum at 3:15 AM on April 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

This isn't a film, but when I was three, I had The Picture Bible. I loved that thing. It's like a comic book, but toned down for kids.
posted by sevensnowflakes at 4:34 AM on April 22, 2014

You totally want Superbook.

I ended up watching a lot of Superbook when I was a kid, thanks to my mother's occasional desire to get my sister away from watching Dirty Dancing and Top Gun (sadly, it just meant she watched all three rather than just the latter two).

They're not great, but they're definitely meant for kids, and they definitely tell the story without making it too horrifying. Plus, from what I recall, there's no singing.

You could always go for the big 60s' Biblical epics - they're fairly light on the gore, but they might be a bit slow for her. However, if you wanted to go down that road, King of Kings isn't just the whole story of Jesus, it has the rather dishy Jeffrey Hunter as Jesus.

You might need to quickly go past some of it (it's the 60s, you can't have a Biblical epic without Salomé dancing), but I watched it this weekend, and it still holds up nicely.
posted by Katemonkey at 4:59 AM on April 22, 2014

If you are looking for details about crucifixion, you might want to look at some resources by googling "Stations of the Cross for Children". There are tons of books/coloring books/comics/etc, and also some films.

Pro: they are pretty detailed about the cross and the pain involved.
Con: there are some stations which are a bit woo (Veronica's face on the cloth?)

You might want to read through them and see if each of the stations is appropriate or if maybe you get a book and remove pages that you don't think she needs.
posted by CathyG at 6:35 AM on April 22, 2014

Miracle Maker is brilliant, and everyone in the family has watched it now. The animation is wonderful, and the story was exactly what we needed. Thank you!
posted by viggorlijah at 4:58 AM on May 10, 2014

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