Films on Children

See also:





Fed Up

Documentary 2014 PG 90 minutes. The film focuses on the causes of obesity in the United States. It presents evidence showing that the large quantities of sugar in processed foods are an overlooked root of the problem. It points to the monied lobbying power of “Big Sugar” in blocking attempts to enact effective policies to address the issue. This eye-opening documentary examines the underlying causes behind the obesity epidemic, including the marketing strategies of major U.S. food producers. How did 60% of the country get so fat?  2 in 3 adults are considered to be overweight, with 1 in 3 adults considered obese. Childhood obesity has become an ever-more serious medical issue in the United States. The film includes touching video self-portraits by young people who belong to the almost 17 percent of children and adolescents, ages 2 to 19, who are considered obese. The obese parents who raise obese children — why aren’t they in the least bit curious as to how they’ve become 300 pounders when their ancestors were all normal. This film is an expose of the food industry’s pedaling of sugar-rich junk food to kids and the epidemic of obesity that has resulted from it. It rightly points to the chief villain in our food choices–sugar–as addictive and toxic. Sugar is clearly added to food products that historically had none in an effort to elicit a crave factor, so you can’t stop eating them. See Full Review

Killer at Large:
Why Obesity is America’s Greatest Threat

Documentary 2008 NR 1hr44m. This probing documentary explores the ever-expanding issue of obesity in America from individual, political, scientific and cultural perspectives. Obesity is the second leading cause of preventable death in the US today. But how did 60% of the country get so fat?  2 in 3 adults are considered to be overweight, with 1 in 3 adults considered obese. Childhood obesity has become an ever-more serious medical issue in the United States. The film includes touching video self-portraits by young people who belong to the almost 17 percent of children and adolescents, ages 2 to 19, who are considered obese. There are poignant moments, such as a 12 year old girl having liposuction. The film gives a range of reasons why we have this issue regarding obesity in America: school junk food, too much sugar, lack of information about high fructose corn syrup, portion sizes, television, intense advertising aimed at children, cozy cartoon characters hawking sugar, parents, food companies, politics, lobbying, greed, and economics. See Full Review

Growing Up Online

Documentary Frontline 2008 NR 56m. Take a look inside the lives of the most Internet-savvy generation ever with this PBS “Frontline” program that investigates teens and their cyber-existences. The kids and their parents discuss both the realities and the risks of this new frontier. As parents deal with their teens’ drastically different ideas about privacy, the kids confront cyber-bullying, Internet predators, YouTube fame and many other issues new to their generation.

Generation Like

Documentary Frontline 2014 TV-PG 53m. Author Douglas Rushkoff explores how social media is attracting teens but also exposing them to corporations who see them as young consumers. This film demonstrates a new way for persons savvy in technology and “social media” (YouTube, Facebook) to create economic opportunities that are relatively rare in this era. “Generation Like” can help persons of all ages to “get with the times” and become successful 21st century entrepreneurs. It is indeed empowering for young people, as they are learning marketing tools. There was a dream…years ago, you remember it, right? It was called the Internet and it was going to be a miracle that was going to change our lives for the better, forever. But then…the corporations got a hold of it. The marketing scum “discovered” it and now we’re all much poorer…and stupider for it. Oh what could have been! A gathering place for ideas, education, a place that would have made our lives rich and easier. A universal library that would have let to a golden age. But what did we end up with? The dreck, the absolute dung that this program is showing. Remember kids, the most important thing you do in a day is CONSUME. Oh and don’t forget to OBEY. FOLLOW. RETWEAT. LIKE. This is a quality documentary which shares some important insight into what is happening with the young generation and the media of today. This is not much fun to watch, but it can be beneficial to look at our vacuous consumer culture every once in a while.

Waging a Living

Documentary 2004 NR 85 minutes. This thought-provoking documentary tests the mantra “get a job” to see whether low-wage jobholders — otherwise known as the “working poor” — can pull themselves and their families out of poverty. Filmed in California, New York and New Jersey over a three-year period, the film tracks the ups and downs of four ethnically diverse Americans living below the poverty line as they face a persistent struggle to make ends meet.See Full Review

See also: The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio.

Let’s Talk About Sex

Documentary 2009 NR 1hr 2m. This earnest and engaging documentary about modern adolescent sex spotlights a host of alarming trends and truths: Thousands of U.S. teenagers contract a sexually transmitted disease every day, and approximately 2,400 young girls become pregnant. Looking for ways to confront these disturbing social realities, director James Houston visits the Netherlands, where alternative approaches are utilized to educate sexually active young people.


Documentary 2011 PG-13 99 minutes. Exploring the subject of school bullying from a personal angle, this eye-opening documentary tracks the stories of five different families whose children are struggling to defend themselves on a near-daily basis.

The Lottery

Documentary 2010 NR 1hr 20m. In this penetrating look at public education in America, filmmaker Madeleine Sackler follows four children through the highs and lows of a life-changing lottery, where the prize is a spot in one of New York City’s best charter schools. When presented with a chance to pull their youngsters out of a failing system, some parents dare to be cautiously optimistic, knowing full well there are hundreds of thousands of kids in the pool.

Nursery University

Documentary 2008 NR 90 minutes. Follow five families through the harrowing process of applying to nursery school in New York City, where hypercompetitive parents and elite institutions have made pricey consultants and toddler tutors part of the admissions process. Marc H. Simon’s insightful documentary uses wry humor and drama to examine the increasingly common belief that securing entrance to the “right” preschool classroom is a critical first step to success. Welcome to the alternate universe of the city’s preschool admissions process. Humorously portrayed in the upcoming indie movie “Nursery University,” it’s a world of tantrums, bluffs and bribery – and that’s just the parents.Kids barely out of diapers cram for IQ tests. Type-A dads plan their tots’ freshman year at Yale. Consultants charge $10,000 a pop to share their secrets of success. A nose-picking habit is considered special needs.

Race to Nowhere

Documentary 2009 PG-13. Director Vicki Abeles interviews numerous teachers and children in this cautionary documentary that focuses on the potential adverse impacts of parents’ increasing obsession with their children’s academic results. The collateral effects of this extra stress on students and the impacts on entire families are hard to quantify, but the highly emotional reactions of parents and kids captured on camera underscore its importance as a social issue.

The War on Kids

Documentary 2009 NR 1hr 35m. Filmmaker Cevin D. Soling offers this provocative documentary that examines the appalling condition of America’s public schools, which often resemble high-security prisons more than places of learning.


Documentary 2002 G 97 minutes. This Oscar-nominated entry documents the intense experience of the National Spelling Bee as seen through the eyes of eight young spellers, with viewers glimpsing the kids’ private lives as they train for and compete in the ultimate cerebral showdown. While they try to keep their eyes on the $10,000 prize, their personal stories illuminate their quirks, their obsessive study habits and their alternately heartbreaking and inspiring family dynamics.


Documentary Directed by Kelly Amis, a former corps member of Teach for America, Teached examines the “achievement gap” encountered by urban, minority youth. “What motivated [Amis] was a fervent belief that film could reach new audiences beyond the policy elite—and with emotional storytelling that would be much more powerful than anything written on the printed page.”

A Place at the Table

Documentary 2012 PG 1hr 24m. Using personal stories, this powerful documentary illuminates the plight of the 49 million Americans struggling with food insecurity. It is a startling fact that so many millions in the US don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Food insecurity is an invisible, but very real problem in our country. Of the developed world, the US ranks 23 in food security. This film looks at several individuals, all basically members of the working poor, and their struggles to provide their families with good nutritious meals. Their poor kids didn’t choose to be born into such adversity, and all the families profiled are hard-working and trying their best to just barely keep their heads above water. One out of two children in the USA will be on food stamps at some time. Our country has a lot people who are both fat and undernourished. I have always wondered about the obesity epidemic in our country. Obesity results from hungry people eating cheap low-nutrient foods of empty calories. What the filmmakers attempt to point out is the link between obesity (which believe it or not is a sign of poverty in some), the disparity in subsidies provided to monopoly-farms vs. smaller vegetable-producing farms that directly affect the prices of fruits and vegetables, and how this is all linked to the common problem of hunger. Food insecurity and proper nutrition are major issues in the United States. When it comes to feeding families most Americans are aware that broccoli and asparagus contain more nutritional value than boxed macaroni and cheese — but guess what? Boxed Mac and Cheese is a quick and much cheaper financially feasible fix. A McDonald’s value menu is much more feasible on the poor budget than baked chicken, fresh string beans, corn on the cob (not canned), and yams. It’s not that poor parents want to feed their children less-nutritious food, it’s that they have to feed them something affordable or nothing at all. Hungry kids do not do well in school and have less chance to pull themselves out of poverty. It just goes to show that childhood obesity and the daily struggle to provide is a social problem, due to the inefficiencies of society. Tears came to my eyes when a hungry little girl hallucinates and sees her teacher as a banana. Wow! This movie gave me an idea why there are families having such an unhealthy lifestyle and children starving.  See Full Review

Hunger in America

Documentary 1968 CBS reports (Television program); CBS News. A researched study of hunger and malnutrition in the United States, showing views of Negro sharecroppers in Alabama, Navajo Indians in Arizona, starving tenant farmers near Washington, D.C. and improverished Mexican-Americans in San Antonio. Includes a discussion of surplus foods, stamps, and farm subsidy program of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.

Generation RX

Documentary 2008 NR 81 minutes. Filmmaker Kevin P. Miller offers this unflinching examination of the unsettling trend in the American medical establishment toward prescribing powerful psychiatric drugs for children more often — and at a younger age — than ever before. Families devastated by the consequences of overmedication share their stories, and doctors, ethicists and other medical professionals weigh in on whether pharmaceutical companies put profits before patients.See Full Review

Generation RX: Reading, Writing and Ritalin

Documentary A&E; 2008 NR 50 minutes.Exploring both sides of a controversial issue, this A&E; documentary asks whether Ritalin — the tiny yellow pill prescribed to millions of kids with Attention Deficit Disorder — is a miracle cure or merely a quick fix that does more harm than good. The drug’s supporters and detractors weigh in on the sharp increase in Ritalin prescriptions since 1990 and debate its effectiveness in keeping youngsters focused at home and in the classroom.

The Merchants of Cool

Documentary Frontline 2001 The award-winning “Frontline” television show trains its investigative lens on marketing moguls who conduct endless surveys and focus groups sampling the tastes, attitudes and aspirations of American teens to determine exactly what they want. As Hollywood and Madison Avenue craft tailored versions of teenage life in movies, TV, music and advertising, just how far will they go to reach the hearts — and wallets — of American youth? They will do anything to tap into the 150 BILLION dollars of spending power that 12 to 19 year-olds possess. They are the “Merchants of Cool”, and they will use every technique in the book just to sell to you. This Frontline special is an exploration into the marketing machine that controls nearly 90% of what we read in print, see on TV and movies, and listen to on the radio. The Merchants of Cool (2001) is slightly dated at this point, and it contains many examples that were relevant during its release but less so now. Still, it is important that teens understand that not all images they encounter are benign, but rather a calculated effort to dip into their wallets.

Secrets of the SAT

Documentary Frontline 1999. How fair are standardized tests? What do they measure? And what’s their impact on racial diversity on America’s college campuses? Frontline examines the debate over fairness in college admissions, looking at the national obsession with test scores, the multimillion dollar test prep industry, and the legal challenges to race-sensitive admissions policies. A diverse set of students are followed through the stressful college admissions cycle as they dream of attending some of the country’s most prestigious universities.

Does TV Kill?

Documentary Frontline 1995. Before the average American child leaves elementary school, researchers estimate that he or she will have witnessed more than eight thousand murders on television. Has this steady diet of imaginary violence made America the world leader in real crime and violence? Frontline correspondent Al Austin journeys through what is known about television violence and how it affects our lives. The program reveals some unexpected conclusions about the impact TV has on the way we view the world.

School Colors

Documentary Frontline 1994. Integration. It was called the greatest social experiment of our generation. But 40 years after Brown v. Bd of Ed, many of our schools are still sharply segregated along color lines. America’s changing demographics have tested the limits of our racial and ethnic tolerance, leaving many of us to ask whether the nation’s diversity will enrich us or tear us apart. Follows one year in the lives of Berkeley CA students and principal.

It’s A Girl

Documentary 2012 NR 1hr3m. This grave documentary spotlights the cultural traditions that surround widespread female “gendercide”, female infanticide, and violence toward women in India and China. It tells the stories of abandoned and trafficked girls, of women who suffer extreme dowry-related violence, of brave mothers fighting to save their daughters’ lives, and of other mothers who would kill for a son. Global experts and grassroots activists put the stories in context and advocate different paths towards change, while collectively lamenting the lack of any truly effective action against this injustice.

Lord of the Flies

Drama 1963 UR. Based on William Golding’s famous novel, Peter Brooks’s daring 1963 film follows schoolboys stranded on an island after a plane crash. Two factions quickly form between the boys — one being more civilized, concentrating on finding shelter and food, and the other more savage, hunting wild pigs and having fun. Tension builds between the factions’ leaders, Ralph and Jack, leading to a battle for control of their own micro-civilization.

The Children’s Hour

Drama 1961 NR 108 minutes. In this daring drama, Karen and Martha are the headmistresses of an exclusive school for girls. When they discipline a malicious little girl, the vindictive child twists an overheard comment into slander and accuses her teachers of being lesbians. Soon the scandalous gossip engulfs the school’s community, with repercussions that are swift, crushing and tragic.


Little Sugar Addicts

Sugar Blues
Sugar Nation
Why Diets Fail: Because You’re Addicted to Sugar
Suicide by Sugar
Overcoming Sugar Addiction
Beat Sugar Addiction Now
I Quit Sugar
The Sugar Addict’s Total Recovery Program

See also:






Custom Search


Must-See Movies—For What You Need to Know