Common Sense Media’s 20 best family films of 2022


Like windows, movies help us see out of our world and into others. These titles from 2022 have impressed us with their meaningful themes, including friendship, adventure, courage and overcoming adversity. They’ve stood out as entertaining family favorites, they’ve made us think and they’ve given us plenty to talk about. Our picks below also all earned the Common Sense Seal, which means they offer an exceptional media experience to families with kids of all ages.

With its appealing stars and inventive visualization of children’s imaginations, this adaptation (which was followed by two more) is worthy of the best-selling books by Annie Barrows that inspired it. (TV-G, Netflix)

Packed with positive messages about family, overcoming challenges and managing disappointment, this colorful animated film about the unluckiest person in the world is a gentle, charming adventure. (G, Apple TV Plus)

Taking an empathetic approach to a crew of thieves who only pretend to “go good,” this lighthearted, amusing heist comedy is so fun it’s (almost) criminal. (PG, Netflix)

Boasting fabulous animation, an honorable hero and lovable sidekicks, Pixar’s tribute to a host of space adventures is a story of perseverance, teamwork and friendship. (PG, Disney Plus)

This stunning documentary follows a mother bear and her two cubs through the seasons, offering beautiful imagery, breathtaking close-ups and meaningful environmental lessons. (PG, Disney Plus)

Marcel the Shell With Shoes On, age 8+

Sweet, poignant and funny — but also intentionally calm and thoughtful — this movie about a tiny shell’s unique perspective on life will have you looking at your own surroundings in new ways. (PG, on demand)

Inspiring and heartwarming, this fact-based story about a naughty but lovable dog will tug at your heartstrings and have you rooting for the (under)dogs. (TV-G, Netflix)

Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical, age 8+

Charming, joyful and with a big dose of good triumphing over evil, Dahl’s tale about a girl with extraordinary gifts who uses them to stand up to bullies and defend her friends is timeless. (PG, Netflix)

Anyone who loves a good swashbuckling adventure will delight in this beautifully animated tale, which weaves big messages into its gripping story. (PG, Netflix)

This uplifting, gender-swapped musical take on the classic Cinderella tale has great messages about staying true to yourself and letting your talent speak for itself. (TV-G, Disney Plus)

Better Nate Than Ever, age 10+

Any kid who’s ever felt different is likely to appreciate this energetic book-based musical, which has positive messages about acceptance and staying true to yourself. (PG, Disney Plus)

Delightful, funny, unapologetically girl-centered and a surprisingly touching allegory for adolescence, this is Pixar’s most teen-friendly film to date. (PG, Disney Plus)

Teamwork and ingenuity shine in director Ron Howard’s excellent, intense true story, which superbly showcases the real-life heroes who pulled off an extraordinary feat to save lives. (PG-13, Prime Video)

This fantastic film is as heartfelt as it is scary, with relatable messages about grief and the courage to overcome your demons — real or otherwise. (PG-13, Netflix)

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, age 12+

Ultimately, this action-packed MCU movie belongs to the women of Wakanda, who pull off the nearly unimaginable feat of proving that the story can go on. (PG-13, in theaters)

Catherine Called Birdy, age 12+

Based on Karen Cushman’s popular 1994 book set in medieval England, this coming-of-age comedy skillfully manages to land its jokes consistently, despite dealing with some heavy subject matter. (PG-13, Prime Video)

The Bob’s Burgers Movie, age 13+

Full of charming family togetherness and silly shenanigans, this adaptation of the popular animated TV comedy is fittingly funny and sweet. (PG-13, Hulu)

Danielle Deadwyler’s unforgettable performance carries this powerful true story of how a mother’s love forced people to see that racism and lack of accountability killed her beloved boy. (PG-13, in theaters; available Jan. 17 to rent on demand)

Marvelous and the Black Hole, age 14+

Charming and surprisingly touching, this coming-of-age story centers on an angry, grieving teen who learns magic from an unexpected mentor. (Unrated, on demand)

Director Gina Prince-Bythewood’s powerful, poignant epic — which boasts an excellent cast led by Viola Davis — celebrates Black sisterhood and strength. (PG-13, in theaters; available Jan. 17 to rent on demand)

Common Sense Media helps families make smart media choices. Go to for age-based and educational ratings and reviews for movies, games, apps, TV shows, websites and books.

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