Netflix has been around for so long, and has so many films, that it can be hard to know where to start, especially if you’re trying to watch something that caters to both adults and children.
Netflix has one of the largest collections of original movies, which is great, but the quality levels can be inconsistent. For every The Mitchells vs. the Machines, there’s something like the fine-but-forgettable Goonies knockoff Finding ‘Ohana.
Here are the best kid-friendly family movies on Netflix, from sci-fi to fantasy to whatever the heck the Pee Wee Herman movie is. Also, be sure to check our suggestions for kids’ streaming services and the best Pixar films.
Over the Moon is a fresh take on the familiar “early trauma leads to a series of adventures and eventual self-discovery” trope. Produced by Jackie Chan, this is the story of a young girl, Fei Fei, who builds a rocket so she can visit a goddess who’s been exiled to the moon. It’s simply charming.
The Mitchells vs. the Machines
Phil Lord and Chris Miller (Lego Movie, Spider-Man Into the Spider-verse) bring their considerable production talents to this Netflix exclusive. As you’d expect, the animation is top-notch and the story is suitably larger than life. It’s a tale of modern technology gone haywire, and it’s up to the dysfunctional Mitchell family to save the world.
Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood
Apollo 10 1/2 is an amalgam of three of Richard Linklatter’s previous films — Bad News Bears, Boyhood and Through a Scanner Darkly. It offers the rotoscoping animation style of Darkly while delivering a nostalgic reimagining of the 1969 moon landing.
Though Paddington is narrowly edged out by its sequel, the original is still great, with a winning set of performances by the entire cast.
Unlike the saccharine fluff of most Christmas movies — especially the ones on Netflix — Klaus is an origin story that’s both thoughtful and entertaining.
Though this is officially the third Pee-Wee Herman movie, the kids don’t need to have seen the others to know what’s going on. The plot is everything you’d hope for: “Charming man-child gets into a series of scrapes and meets colorful characters along the way.” It’s fun, and even funny, and not quite the cynical cash grab you might expect after a 28-year gap.
Vivo (Linn Manuel Miranda) is a “honey bear” who tries to deliver a love song, written by his Cuban owner, to a famous singer (Gloria Estefan). With music by Miranda and a joyful combination of characters, it’s a sweet story about making up for lost time.
So much more than “Moana with pirates,” The Sea Beast is an entertaining nautical adventure about how to not judge a book by its cover.
Lemony Snicket and Roald Dahl fans will find much to like about The Willoughbys — it’s a tale of four kids who try to send their uncaring parents away for good.
The Adam Project is one of the better Ryan Reynolds movies on Netflix. It’s a time-travel story of a man who needs to team up with his younger self to save the world.
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