With this year's Oscars behind us, we’ve taken a look at the themes of some of the movies nominated for awards (and a few we wish were nominated) and how they’re relevant to the work we do at CASA. The films released over the past year cover topics including trauma, foster care, diversity, culture, confronting our own biases and more. Here are some of our staff-recommended films of the year:
Aspiring musician Miguel, confronted with his family's ancestral ban on music, enters the Land of the Dead to find his great-great-grandfather, a legendary singer. (via IMDB)
“CASA volunteers should watch this movie because it can give them a better understanding of what the idea of family means, whether they’re still alive or if they have passed away. Especially if they haven’t grown up with this sense of family, it’s a real window into what it’s like for a lot of the children we serve. Even though most of these children have been abused or neglected, there is always that pull to family that kids feel that needs to be respected.
Also, it’s like a love letter to Mexican culture in a time when being Mexican is often spoken about as a negative. Latino kids need to see themselves being represented in the media. It’s important to see ourselves on the big screen, being proud of who we are.” – Lydia Garcia, Training Director
The Florida Project*
Set over one summer, the film follows precocious six-year-old Moonee as she courts mischief and adventure with her ragtag playmates and bonds with her rebellious but caring mother, all while living in the shadows of Walt Disney World. (via IMDB)
“I don’t want to give the ending away but there’s a moment in the film where Moonee and her mother go through a traumatic event that illustrates just how harrowing some experiences can be for the children we serve. It was really enlightening to see how this event plays out from Moonee’s perspective. I think that’s why every CASA volunteer needs to watch this film, so they can understand how poverty and neglect affects a child through the child’s point-of-view.” - Diana McCue, Teen Advocacy Specialist
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill's true parentage. (via IMDB)
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is not only a fun action movie (with a great soundtrack and a wonderful sense of humor), it also is a celebration of building family where and when we need it. Both of the films have focused on the loss of a parent or family members. The second movie goes deeper into this theme as the main character, Quill, finds his biological father who doesn't quite live up to expectations. At CASA, we have seen youth who work to build their own family, and we must always try to ensure youth have supportive adult connections in life, especially when their bio parents cannot play that role. Family can be defined in many different ways and sometimes youth may need to define their own sense of permanency, just as Quill and his friends do in Guardians.” – Callie Langford, Director of Communications
A young African-American visits his white girlfriend's parents for the weekend, where his simmering uneasiness about their reception of him eventually reaches a boiling point. (via IMDB)
“Get Out tackles the issue of race relations in America from the perspective of an African-American young man. The main character, Chris, is constantly bombarded with warning signs that his girlfriend’s family isn’t as welcoming to people of color as they claim to be. This film highlights larger issues of racial biases at play in our country that need to be highlighted more in film and pop culture canon, and that need to be watched for in our advocacy for children, especially considering the disproportionality that exists within the child welfare system." - Ashika Sethi, Marketing Coordinator
And, with hope for the 2019 award season... Black Panther
Technically Black Panther will (hopefully) be a part of the 2019 awards cycle, but when it comes to a movie that's all about vital representation for a large number of the children we serve, don't miss this while it's still in theaters!
*These films count for Continuing Education credit for our CASA volunteers.
March CASA Recommends 2018