Marona's Fantastic Tale (Unrated)

Streaming

Age 10+

Beautiful, heart-tugging dog drama has some sad moments.

Marona’s Fantastic Tale” is a French animated film about a dying dog who reflects back on her both melancholy and joyful life. It’s like an animated and philosophical version of “A Dog’s Purpose,” except the dog never reincarnates into new bodies, just changes names and owners over the course of one life span. The movie can be heartbreakingly sad but is also tender as it explores the various humans that 9/Ana/Sara/Marona bonds with throughout her life. Those sensitive to dog deaths should know that, as she says in the first scene, the movie is about Marona rewinding and reflecting on her life as she’s dying. There’s also a scene of violence against an animal by an ill older woman: She is so consumed with pain that she throws a plate that shatters and injures her dog. Expect to see a bit of smoking and drinking by adults; language includes words like “turds” and “jerks.” Lots of bittersweet sequences will probably make viewers of all ages emotional, but this is a beautiful tribute to the life-changing relationship between dogs and humans, and it promotes compassion, gratitude, empathy and perseverance. (92 minutes)

Available at afisilver.afi.com.

Feel the Beat (TV-G)

Streaming

Age 10+

Dancer learns kindness from her students; mild language.

Feel the Beat” will appeal largely to young dancers. Sofia Carson from the “Descendants” movies stars as April, a selfish dance instructor who learns kindness and patience from her misfit students as she prepares them for a competition. Language is infrequent but includes “a--,” “butt,” “suck,” “wiener” and “crap.” “S---” appears in a song lyric (easily missed unless you’re using captions). Dance teams cheat by putting a 10-year-old in an 8-year-old-only category. A woman falls off a stage, and viewers later learn she broke her leg and wrist. Dance routines performed by young girls are sexualized; they twerk while wearing Vegas-inspired outfits. (109 minutes)

Available via Netflix streaming.

A Whisker Away (TV-PG)

Streaming

Age 11+

Lovely coming-of-age anime explores identity, first crushes.

A Whisker Away” is an anime fantasy in which a free-spirited girl nicknamed Muge (voiced by Mirai Shida) finds a way to transform into a cat to get to know her crush, Hinode (Natsuki Hanae), better. Muge’s transformation is accomplished by putting on an enchanted/cursed cat mask: It’s an obvious symbol for the “masks” Muge and Hinode wear in public as they try to hide inner depression and anxiety. While overhearing two boys saying mean things about Hinode, Muge jumps from a second-story walkway to confront them and falls through a tree, resulting in scratches and injuries. Muge and her stepmother get into a physical altercation that includes slaps and hair-pulling. Two bullies steal the love letter Muge has written for Hinode and read it aloud in class, resulting in deep humiliation for her. Others in class stand up to the bullies by knocking them over with a desk. When Muge’s body is taken over by her stepmother’s cat, Muge suggests to Hinode that they go back to her house where he can spend the night with her. Some drinking in a “cat bar,” where cats drink alcohol and lament their life decisions. A villain cat smokes a pipe. (104 minutes)

Available via Netflix streaming

Miss Juneteenth (Unrated)

Streaming

Age 14+

Courage, humility, empathy in mother-daughter drama.

Miss Juneteenth” is a drama about a former beauty queen named Turquoise (Nicole Beharie) who hopes that by enrolling her daughter (Alexis Chikaeze) in a local pageant, she can ensure her an easier life. Though pageants are a somewhat old-fashioned way for young women to seek approval and attention, “Miss Juneteenth” understands and celebrates both the symbolic importance of the Juneteenth holiday and the hopes and dreams of pageant participants. Turquoise’s looks are mentioned frequently, but it’s made clear that her most valuable asset is actually her genuine, supportive relationship with her daughter. Several characters smoke cigarettes, and Turquoise manages a bar; many adult characters drink to the point of sloppiness. In one scene, characters kiss passionately in bed before the camera cuts away, next showing them in the morning as they lie in bed in their underwear. A character works in a funeral home; two dead bodies are shown, looking as if asleep. A parent violently slaps an adult child; two men almost get in a fistfight over a woman. Language includes “f---,” “motherf---ing,” “s---,” “hell,” “damn” and the n-word (said affectionately by a black character). The meaning of Juneteenth is explained, and viewers will get a greater understanding of the holiday’s history and significance. Characters demonstrate courage, humility and empathy. (103 minutes)

Available via various streaming platforms, including themiracletheatre.com.

Common Sense Media helps families make smart media choices. Go to commonsensemedia.org for age-based and educational ratings and reviews for movies, games, apps, TV shows, websites and books.