Friday, August 20, 2010

For the Older Kids - Part 1 in a Series

A selection of movies, books, and other cultural events I, as a Mom, recommend for the 10+ crowd.

I'm in no hurry to see my little ones grow up, but every once in a while I will see, hear or read something that I wish to mentally file away because I feel it is important for my kids to experience, but not at their age. Granted, there are not many shows, movies, books, websites, that fit into this category, but the ones that do deserve some acknowledgement, I believe.

One such movie is The Final Days of Sophie Scholl. While she is a household name in Germany, I live in the US, I'm in my 30's and I never heard of her until about two years ago. I don't understand why she hasn't been a household name in the US for at least a few decades because, while she was German, she embodied American ideals, and ended up paying the ultimate price for it. She, along with her older brother Hans, a few other German college students, and one professor were members of The White Rose, a resistance movement during World War II who expressed anti-nazi sentiments.

Because she exercised American ideals in a place and time when it was dangerous to do so, I don't want my kids, as Americans, to walk around on this earth for 30+ years without knowing the courageous story of Sophie Scholl, her older brother Hans, and others in the White Rose resistance movement.

The average child may not be ready for The Final Days of Sophie Scholl until around 14-15, however, it might be worthwhile for an exceptionally bright, mature 12 year old. Be prepared to talk with your child following the movie, as it is disturbing. Your child may even be depressed for a couple of days after watching it, if he or she is sensitive. But I feel the lesson is worth a couple of depressing days, and we do our kids no favors by shielding them from realities of tyrannical governments and the gruesome lessons from history. You may want to stress how apathy leads to tyrannical regimes and the people must maintain diligence.  

If you know your history, you won't consider this a spoiler when I tell you this movie, based on a true story, doesn't end well. There is no gory violence so to speak, but the viewer is left to imagine the gore for themselves, which may make the movie more terrifying for some. This is the first, and to date, only subtitled movie I have ever seen. Subtitles may elicit a collective groan from most teens, but I feel the real-life characters are likable and will make the subtitled movie watchable. Most gripping is the realization as the movie unfolds that these weren't just a bunch of bored teens and twenty somethings looking for a cause of the week, but rather serious resisters who knew the risks and were quite stoic in the face of their inevitable fate.

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