Best Family Movies of 2014

Our top-rated films for kids, tweens, and teens are available on DVD and streaming. By Betsy Bozdech
Best Family Movies of 2014

Covering everything from dragons to Day of the Dead, robots to race issues, the best movies of 2014 for kids, teens, and families entertained us, made us think, and gave families plenty to talk about. At the same time, they offered up worthwhile messages, role models to write home about, and beautiful images that linger long after the credits roll.

These films are available on DVD or in your streaming queue -- and a few are still in theaters.

Ernest & Celestine, age 6+. With a powerful message about friendship, this Oscar-nominated film reinforces the idea that unconditional love should be defended and treasured.

 

The Lego Movie, age 6+. For something that could be considered a feature-length ad, The Lego Movie takes audiences on a surprisingly inventive and funny journey, emphasizing the importance of play, creativity, and parent-child togetherness.

 

Big Hero 6, age 7+. Doing for brotherhood what Frozen did for sisterhood, this exciting adventure (based on a graphic novel) about a genius teen and his marshmallowy robot is both action-packed and heartfelt.

 

The Book of Life, age 7+. Gorgeously animated, this vibrant tale about Dia de los Muertos combines Mexican folklore, ancient mythology, and pop culture in a refreshingly original animated film.​

 

How to Train Your Dragon 2, age 7+. It's rare to love a sequel as much as the original, but the filmmakers breathed magical fire into this follow-up, which is sure to please teens and adults as much as single-digit-age fans. 

 

Song of the Sea, age 7+. Beautifully hand-drawn, this adventure based on Irish folktales is about the power of sibling relationships, accepting everything you feel (no matter how sad or scary), literally and  figuratively finding your voice, and doing everything possible to protect the people you love.
 
 

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, age 9+. Loosely based on the classic picture book by the same name, this family comedy mixes seeming chaos with positive messages about finding humor in adversity and coming together as a family.
 

The Tale of Princess Kaguya, age 9+. This gorgeously animated retelling of a 10th-century fable about a tiny princess who sprouts from a bamboo stalk has thoughtful messages about what children need to thrive (love, encouragement, and the freedom to be themselves).
 

Underwater Dreams, age 10+. An inspiring documentary about an underdog high school robotics team that took on M.I.T. in a national competition, this is likely to get tweens and teens fired up about science. Bravo!

 

Belle, age 11+. This deeply affecting period drama about a mixed-race woman explores issues of race and gender equality with sensitivity and grace while offering tweens and teens a curious, courageous, and trailblazing heroine.

 

Guardians of the Galaxy, age 12+. Funny, fast-paced, and hugely entertaining, this space adventure about a misfit group of outlaws/superheroes has less edge than Iron Man or The Avengers, making it a great fit for a slightly younger crowd.

 

Selma, age 13+. Thanks to the fabulous performances, the gripping script, and the important subject matter, this powerful, educational drama is one of the finest films ever made about the civil rights movement. Parents can and should watch with their mature tweens and teens.

 

The Fault in Our Stars, age 14+. As long as your teens are ready for all the feelings, sadness, and romance at the heart of this adaptation of John Green's best-selling YA novel, it's a lovely film to watch with them. Have the tissues handy.
 

 

Next Goal Wins, age 14+. You don't have to love soccer to be inspired by this excellent documentary, which is filled with positive messages, wonderful role models, and exhilarating results.

 

Birdman, age 16+. This bold, beautiful movie is thorny and forceful in the best ways possible; its power for mature teens and adults lies in its unequivocal attempts to address questions about identity, failure, and relevance.

 

Boyhood, age 16+. Original, engrossing, and truly extraordinary, Richard Linklater's fascinating drama follows the main character from age 5 to 18 and is bound to spark fascinating discussions about life for teens and their parents.
 

 

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About Betsy Bozdech

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Betsy's experiences working in online parenting and entertainment content were the perfect preparation for her role as Common Sense's executive editor of ratings and reviews. After earning bachelor's and master's... Read more

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Comments (2)

Parent of a 1 and 4 year old written by Betsy Bozdech

Thanks for your comment! While we enjoyed The Boxtrolls very much, it didn't make our final cut for the best of the best of the year. But it's a lot of fun and really well made.

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