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Parenting, That Sacred Gift

4 Movies to Inspire Weary Parents:

Parenting is simultaneously the hardest and most joyful sustained work of my life. So many days are so hard, and I desperately need to be reminded of the importance and beauty in it to keep going. All these movies have had something to say about parenting that I needed to hear, in that way that the best works of art speak – communicating right to my gut or heart something that can’t be expressed by words alone.

1. Arrival [Hulu, 1h 56m]

This one has a slow build so don’t hit play if you’re tired, but the ending, wow! (Bonus points – check out Ted Chiang’s amazing collection “Stories of Your Life and Others,” which includes the short story Arrival was based on.)

2. Little Women (2020) [Hulu, 2h 15m]

This movie is primarily about teenage Jo, and her relationships with her sisters and their neighbor, Laurie. However, limited screentime for the sisters’ parents didn’t stop me from being inspired at how their parenting had resulted in a joyful, loving family culture that bursts from every frame of this film. (Of course, I like the 90s version of LW too! But I think the parenting magic comes across stronger in the writing and cinematography of this version.)

3. Midnight Special [Amazon (rental fee), 1h 52m]

This is a film by one of my favorite directors, with some stellar acting by Kirsten Dunst, Adam Driver, and Michael Shannon. And, man, there’s a scene near the end that is like a punch to the face (in a good way).

4. Boyhood [AMC+, 2h 43m]

Although this movie has some flaws, the unique way it was filmed (with the same actors in real time as they aged over 13 years), makes it a powerful watch that gets at the way time feels simultaneous fast and slow as a parent.


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