I guess this rules out "Bambi"...
March 10, 2006 3:20 PM   Subscribe

What are your best recommendations for movies for 7 year-old girls?

In two weeks, we are hosting a sleepover party for my youngest girl's birthday. One of the attendee's mothers has said her daughter is very sensitive when it comes to movies, and has asked that I select something gentle, in her words, "nothing scary, fraught, where there is emotional conflict of any kind, no mothers dying etc."

Help me please, oh wise parents?
posted by DawnSimulator to Media & Arts (50 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If you can find it, Kiki's Delivery Service is great, as well as Spirited Away. I would go with the former, since Spirited Away might be a little scary even if it does have a happy ending. I'd recommend most of the movies from Studio Ghibli, but I'd stay away from Grave of the Fireflies to show to young children since it's pretty depressing.
posted by nakedsushi at 3:24 PM on March 10, 2006

Kiki's Delivery Service is very gentle and also lovely. My Neighbor Totoro is equally good and age-appropriate, except that the ending is somewhat frightening and makes me cry to this day. (The younger sister gets lost, and there's some fear that the mother will die, but she ends up not going).

Most Disney movies have at least one quite scary scene, and I remember Sleeping Beauty and Bambi as especially so.
posted by Jeanne at 3:53 PM on March 10, 2006

My favorite Disney movies at roughly that age were the Aristocats and Mulan. Excellent little girl movies.
posted by MadamM at 5:03 PM on March 10, 2006

The Secret of Roan Inish is a terrific John Sayles flick. I don't recall it having any emotionally fraught content.
posted by the duck by the oboe at 5:08 PM on March 10, 2006

Some movies I can think of are:

Dirty Dancing (maybe not appropriate?)
Home Alone
Sound of Music
Princess Diaries
Corpse Bride (not as bad as it sounds)
I've heard good things about "Holes"
Freaky Friday
13 Going On 30
Spy Kids
Dr. Doolittle

Can you uninvite the kid whose mother doesn't want her watching films "where there is emotional conflict of any kind"? I mean, really? Seriously? That kid is not going to grow up well. Just kidding...sort of.
posted by apple scruff at 5:09 PM on March 10, 2006

Surely your local video store has to have a crufty VHS section filled with kid vids.

Go retro: Get the original Herbie or 'Escape from Witch Mountain' (God, did I love that one). Old Yeller? Where the Red Fern Grows?
posted by unixrat at 5:09 PM on March 10, 2006

I'll vouch for Kiki's Delivery Service as well. Good fun and totally innocuous.

Now that I'm thinking about it, though, when I was a seven-year-old (full disclosure: I am not now, nor was I ever a girl), my favorite movie was The Never-Ending Story, but I remember that it did make my a bit weepy from time to time, so that's a no-go in your case.

The more I think about it, I don't think that there are very many children's movies that lack some kind of emotional conflict. Old Yeller, Bambi, the Iron Giant, the Black Hole; I can't hardly think of anything that doesn't get tear-jerky at one point or another.
posted by CRM114 at 5:10 PM on March 10, 2006

Unixrat, the specification was:
"nothing scary, fraught, where there is emotional conflict of any kind..."

If the child in question is that fragile, Old Yeller (featuring the horrible death of a family dog) and Where the Red Fern Grows (featuring the horrible death of TWO family dogs) are liable to have the kids in therapy the next day.
posted by CRM114 at 5:12 PM on March 10, 2006

I just can't think of any films that don't have any emotional conflict, except maybe a documentary I saw once about how crayons were made.

I would say that if you have to hold to the standards you have up there in quotation marks, then you're hooped. Dis-invite the kid and encourage your own to make some more hearty friends before her life is bogged down with other people's insecurities and intolerances.

If you do have the proper leeway to show a bunch of 7-year-olds movies that would be traditionally considered appropriate for a bunch of 7-year-olds, then show Aladdin. A classic for all ages.
posted by chudmonkey at 5:13 PM on March 10, 2006

Thirding Kiki's Delivery Service. Maybe Milo and Otis. It's a deeply sweet and entertaining movie, and I don't recall anything very scary (although someone who has seen it more recently may want to chime in).
posted by kimdog at 5:14 PM on March 10, 2006

the duck by the oboe writes "The Secret of Roan Inish"

I actually remember being at a party when I was a kid (I was probably 7-8 too) and that was the movie picked out. We were all bored to tears. Not right for 7-year-old girls, I think.

Oh, and I am forever shamed by not originally putting this down, but "Goonies" is a classic. Again, maybe it's a little too hard-core for some of the kids, but I watched it when I was really young and adored it.
posted by apple scruff at 5:15 PM on March 10, 2006

posted by phrontist at 5:15 PM on March 10, 2006

(Oh, and the subplot about the mother is really not all that important, and wouldn't upset even the most emotionally fragile... it's more of a McGuffin)
posted by phrontist at 5:18 PM on March 10, 2006

Mary Poppins!

Oh and definitely NOT The Neverending Story - it's scary AND upsetting!
posted by Lotto at 5:18 PM on March 10, 2006

Last year, when my daughter turned 6, she had her first sleepover, and her friends brought their favorite DVDs to watch. Most of the night was spent running around shrieking and playing, doing some group art projects, or doing "beauty parlor" stuff, but when they settled down for movie time, their picks were some Hello Kitty DVD one of the girls brought, "Fairytopia" (a Barbie thing), and "The Princess and the Pauper" (another Barbie thing).

Re: Neverending Story, my (now almost 7-year-old) daughter watched some of that this past weekend and found it a little scary...
posted by mothershock at 5:18 PM on March 10, 2006

Yeah, Totoro is great.

Our kids loved "Because of Winn Dixie". I thought the book was better, but I always think that.
posted by GuyZero at 5:18 PM on March 10, 2006

The Lion King!
posted by Dasein at 5:19 PM on March 10, 2006

Oh, don't disinvite the girl, that's just mean. There are plenty of movies that would work that won't bore the non-sensitive kids. I second the Aristocats-and as a bonus, it has some great jazz that even adults will enjoy. Another second for Kiki's Delivery Service. In the non-animated category, there's Bedknobs and Broomsticks, The original Parent Trap,and the original Freaky Friday. (Avoid the newer Lindsay Lohan versions of those last two. Yech.)
posted by cilantro at 5:22 PM on March 10, 2006

I'm seconding whoever said Totoro and Babe and then once those are done, slap the bitch who wants to shelter her child instead of giving her the opportunity to learn about something unpleasant without having to go through it.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 5:42 PM on March 10, 2006

The Muppet Movie doesn't have any particular 'big mean conflict' and it has the added bonus of being great for parents too.
posted by softlord at 6:21 PM on March 10, 2006

It occurs to me that while there are no "mothers dying" in The Lion King, there is a father dying, if animals count for that. If the 7 year-old can't deal with that...well, I mean, of course it will probably make them cry if they haven't seen the movie, but this kid can't be sheltered from every movie that isn't all happy.

This thing about "where there is emotional conflict of any kind" - as in, any movie with a plot or characters worth mentioning? I mean, come on. What's that supposed to mean? Kids can deal with kid-movie-level emotional conflict; it's part of growing up.

I do remember reading that characters like Cruella De Ville can scare little kids, though. So I don't know.... (Hell, I got freaked out in Lady and the Tramp when I was 6, but that doesn't mean it was silly of my parents to take me, I was just an uber-wimp.)
posted by Dasein at 6:27 PM on March 10, 2006

Babe would be a bit rough for an oversensitive kid. He's separated from his mom, he nearly gets shot by the farmer, Maaaa gets mauled by dogs and dies. The Lion King has that sad Mustafa death scene and the menacing hyenas. The Incredibles has violence and a scene with a skeleton. This is a toughie.
posted by jrossi4r at 6:28 PM on March 10, 2006

Oddly, I was just thinking about this today, as it wasn't until last night that I was able to get all the way through The Muppet Movie. When I tried to watch it as a 7-ish kid, it completely freaked me out. I gathered from it that a man wanted to make frog's legs out of Kermit, and thus even now, my memories of it are tinged with pure evil.

Maybe Muppets Take Manhattan would be better. No evil whatsoever in that one. My sister and I loved it as children, and I rewatched it about a year ago and it's even better than I remember.

Any Disney movie (except The Lion King) would also be good, if the kids haven't seen them a thousand times already. And another vote for My Neighbor Totoro - WONDERFUL.
posted by granted at 6:56 PM on March 10, 2006

mothershock called it: Have the kids all bring their favorites, and then chose the sensitive girl's movie.

Or what about Lilo and Stitch? There isn't anything particularly sad, but there is one scene where it is implied that Lilo and her sister are orphans. But they're not pitiful orphans, if that makes a difference.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 6:59 PM on March 10, 2006

Freddie as F.R.O.7. Simply brilliant.
posted by Orange Goblin at 7:06 PM on March 10, 2006

I'd recommend Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit to anyone and everyone. Genius on many levels.
posted by dong_resin at 7:24 PM on March 10, 2006

Part of the conflict in Lilo & Stitch is that Lilo and her sister Nani have a broken home (due to the death of the parents,) which is repeated often, and in arguments, and that storyline culminates in the social worker coming and forcibly removing Lilo from the home. I cry when Nani tries to say goodbye; my kids cried when Mr. Bubbles puts Lilo in the car and they drive away. So, uh... my advice is to avoid Disney. Somebody's parental figure is always being ripped away.

Try the Barbie videos, DawnSimulator. The writers' contract for Barbie works (books, comics, video games, movies, etc.,) all stipulate that Barbie must always be upbeat, cheerful in meeting her challenges, and never ever made to look unpleasant, frustrated, or petty, so I'm betting the Fairytopia stuff may be bland, but completely trauma-free.
posted by headspace at 7:32 PM on March 10, 2006

Another vote for My Neighbor Totoro.

I think it (finally!! it's been a several year wait) just came out on a decent DVD instead of the wretched dubbed Fox VHS tape.

There is an element of the mother being sick, but she doesn't die, and I think comes home at the end.
posted by robbie01 at 7:37 PM on March 10, 2006

How has no one suggested The Princess Bride?
posted by BiffSlamkovich at 7:43 PM on March 10, 2006

The original Fantasia. Weird, stirring, odd, yet harmless.

Also, the kid needs to be stretched. I was a hypersensitive, precious little flower too. You need to get out of that or you will die, and seven is about the right age to start the process. "Babe" is a good suggestion. It has some unpleasantness in it but it turns out well in the end. I'd advise looking for movies like that. She needs to be exposed to something that's not entirely saccharine pablum. The worst thing you can do for a sensitive child is wrap them in cotton wool and pretend bad stuff doesn't happen.
posted by Decani at 7:50 PM on March 10, 2006

How has no one suggested The Princess Bride?
Maybe because it's got people hitting each other with rocks, fighting with swords, blood, poisoning, getting bitten by giant rats, death of the main character (!!), ... There is no way that qualifies.
posted by Rhomboid at 8:27 PM on March 10, 2006

My favorite Disney movies at roughly that age were the Aristocats and Mulan. Excellent little girl movies.

Good god you've made me feel old!
posted by delmoi at 9:00 PM on March 10, 2006

Also, the kid needs to be stretched. I was a hypersensitive, precious little flower too. You need to get out of that or you will die, and seven is about the right age to start the process.

Did you miss that it's not the poster's girl we're talking about, but a buddy comming to a sleepover. While I would agree with you, it's not up to the poster to decide.
posted by delmoi at 9:03 PM on March 10, 2006

Thirding or fourthing the recommendations for Ghibli movies. And also Princess Diaries.

It's important to remember that the little girl probably isn't a delicate little flower. It's the mother projecting her own feelings on the kid. You could probably show Eraserhead and the kid would sleep like a log. Not until the moment her mother heard about it she would start to be "disturbed".
posted by AmbroseChapel at 9:28 PM on March 10, 2006

Let me jump back into the thread here, to thank you all for your comments and recommendations. I especially like the idea of the earlier live-action Disney movies. L'il Jodie Foster and Hayley Mills. I'll definitely check those (plus Totoro) out at the video store!

Note about the sensitive guest: she and her non-identical twin sister will both be coming to the party. The mother expressed concerns for the one girl, but not the other. So I don't think the mom's necessarily trying to mandate some kind of overprotective agenda on the sleepover. But I could be wrong.
posted by DawnSimulator at 9:44 PM on March 10, 2006

The Black Stallion- an incredible movie you rarely see these days.
posted by mkultra at 9:48 PM on March 10, 2006

The orignal Star Wars. The one where Han shoots first.

Or maybe The Wizard of Oz, Snow White, Cinderella, or Kiki's Delivery Service.
posted by ilsa at 10:34 PM on March 10, 2006

I'm positive that 1/2 of the kids at the party have already seen anything made in the past 20 years or any of the big Disney films.

Why not go with a muscial or something old?
posted by k8t at 12:21 AM on March 11, 2006

I have a 7 year old daughter and she and her friends love the Lizzie McGuire movie as well as Ella Enchanted.
posted by gfrobe at 1:38 AM on March 11, 2006

OK, for all the posters saying "Don't shelter the kid, she's got to get exposed to it sooner or later" I am calling complete b#lls!t. Why would you wan't to expose a kid to an emotional experience she is not ready for? Whether or not she SHOULD be ready for the experience is an unrelated issue. It is not responsible parenting to force your kid into something they are not ready for, whatever their age. Heck, by that reasoning, might as well have 'em watch Eyes Wide Shut - they're going to have to deal with those types of issues eventually.

My daughter is a couple of years youger, but she also has problems with seeing "evil" and "trauma" in movies. Some of her favorites are the Barbie movies -- Princess and the Pauper is the best of the bunch in my opinion (don't let them miss the "blooper" reel during the credits). She also loved Madagascar, Kiki's Delivery Service, My Neighbor Totoro, Milo and Otis, and Pooh's Heffalump Movie (maybe too young for 7-year-olds).

Have fun, DawnStimulator, and bravo for being so responsive to other parents' concerns about their kids -- it's not all that common in my experience.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:10 AM on March 11, 2006

Sorry, I did forget about that scene where Lilo has to leave with the social worker.

The first three Wallace and Gromit short movies would also be a good choice. Each one is only a half-hour or so long, so the kids with short attention spans can get a break in between.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 7:42 AM on March 11, 2006

Hell, I got freaked out in Lady and the Tramp when I was 6

Well, nothing SCARY there, but it's one of the most cynical Disney movies I've seen. I mean, this family gets a puppy and it's spoiled to death until they have a baby and suddenly she's completely unwanted. Not much more depressing for a kid.

Kiki's Delivery Service was great, though.
posted by dagnyscott at 8:13 AM on March 11, 2006

On an aside, when I was 8, I was invited to a birthday party where we watched PURPLE RAIN and FRIDAY THE 13th part ?????. I tell you, I was scarred for life. I used to love going camping and playing games in the dark and after seeing Friday the 13th, I was TERRIFIED. For years. I'm serious. It truly messed me up-and years later made me really angry that the mom okayed showing a movie like that to a bunch of 8 year olds. I mean, my god.

And Purple Rain, while I was excited to see it (because I LOVED prince and my parents wouldn't let me see it), it messed me up too. The sex and suicide and wife-beating and everything. Wow.

I didn't think of myself as a sensitive or particularly sheltered kid, but that evening really messed me up for a long while. So this isn't a crazy thing to ask.
posted by aacheson at 8:38 AM on March 11, 2006

Thomasina. It's sad for a bit, but turns out well. The Borrowers is fun. Indian in the Cupboard was good.
posted by deborah at 8:53 AM on March 11, 2006

lol, I think granted and I are in the minority, but The Muppet Movie did freak me out a little bit as a kid--the part where the bad guy puts Kermit in the electric chair thing.

But I do highly second Muppets Take Manhattan. It's actually one of my favorite movies of all time. Lots of funny stuff for adults too. I've seen it probably literally close to 1000 times I still notice things I didn't get as a kid.

Mary Poppins I love. And Bedknobs and Broomsticks. They have their share of darker moments, as all Disney movies do, but nothing traumatic.

I'd maybe ask the mother which particular kids movies have bothered her daughter. Almost all Disney movies, live action or animated from every era, have something traumatic or dark in them. But different ones affect different people. If she's cool with The Lion King but is scared by Pinocchio (who isn't?) you'll have a good idea where you should go with it. Kids movies are often darker than adult. When I was that age the least threatening movies were PG comedy live action "romps" for all ages. Things with grown-ups acting crazy. Or yes, old musicals like Guys and Dolls or Seven Brides for Seven Brothers or the Rogers and Hammerstein Cinderella...but if these are "cool" 7-year-olds that might be a little too innocuous for them.
posted by lampoil at 10:45 AM on March 11, 2006

Rock Steady writes "Why would you wan't to expose a kid to an emotional experience she is not ready for?"

No one is saying have the kids watch Dawn of the Dead. I remember as a kid seeing some particularly graphic images and getting really freaked out by them, and wouldn't want a child to get scared just because I'm trying to expose them to the world or whatever. But I think everyone was just amused by the silliness of the mother requesting that her daughter not be exposed to "emotional conflicts" in film. That doesn't distinguish between a CGI Barbie choosing who to go to the ball with and the choosing of which hostage to rape first in Pulp Fiction.
posted by apple scruff at 11:24 AM on March 11, 2006

" A Little Princess" directed by Alfonso Cuaron is just an amazing film for children and parents alike. Trust me on this.
posted by vronsky at 1:48 PM on March 11, 2006

apple scruff - I am actually watching Pulp Fiction while I read your post. You are probably right. I guess as a parent who has had to deal with other parents who are not as concientious as DawnStimulator, I am a little sensitive on the issue.

Let me also add, even though the tykes are probably already in bed, I should have added Babe, The Muppets Take Manhattan, and the Aristocats to my daughter's list.

In a more generalized sense, I have recently started to realize that movies with a particularly dominant or disturbing "bad guy" (Cruella Deville, Scar, Syndrome, the Skeksis) are harder for kids like my daughter, while movies where the conflict somes from without (natural forces/animals, sickness, being lost) are easier to deal with. Your Kid May Vary, of course, but it's something to think about.
posted by Rock Steady at 10:16 PM on March 11, 2006

Why would you wan't to expose a kid to an emotional experience she is not ready for?

I don't think anyone suggested that. Calm down.
posted by Decani at 5:20 PM on March 12, 2006

My kids, ages 5/6/9 were totally entranced by The Secret of Roan Inish. I challenged them beforehand to try and guess the secret. The ending credits are scrolling past as I write this. The last time I saw it was ten years ago in Portland, Oregon, at an art theater in Portland on Hawthorne. The sense of confusion from the hipsters expecting something different from John Sayles was palpable.
posted by mecran01 at 8:36 AM on September 3, 2006

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