Parental Guidance

Three Female-Driven Adventure Films You Can Watch with the Family

If you don't plan on seeing Tomb Raider this weekend, here are three worthy substitutes you can watch at home.

by | March 16, 2018 | Comments

Alicia Vikander dons the tanktop and cargo pants to play Lara Croft in this week’s Tomb Raider, but it isn’t doing particularly well with critics, and it might be a little too intense for younger viewers. With that in mind, Christy Lemire gives us the rundown on the movie and recommends three more that you may serve as worthy substitutes if you decide to stay home this weekend.


THE MOVIE

Tomb Raider (2018) 51%

Rating: PG-13, for sequences of violence and action, and some language.

Alicia Vikander takes over the role of the adventurous, aristocratic video-game heroine Lara Croft, 17 years after Angelina Jolie first brought her to the screen. Norwegian director Roar Uthaug’s version is a bit of an origin story, introducing us to Lara as she lives a boho-chic life in London and learns what her long-missing father (Dominic West) really has been up to all these years. She travels to a mysterious and secluded island, teaming up with an inebriated boat captain (Daniel Wu) whose father also disappeared. Along the way, Lara gets the stuffing beaten out of her repeatedly, and usually by men, which is thoroughly unpleasant to watch. She also gets shot at, sucked down some roaring rapids and buried under the rubble of an explosion. Eventually she outwits, outplays, and outlasts them all, but the road there is brutal. There’s a lot of other potentially scary stuff for younger viewers, including dark and foreboding tombs, deadly booby traps and – ultimately – a cursed corpse. Through it all, Lara is brave and resourceful but also feels like a real human being with the fear she understandably conveys in a variety of situations. Vikander is such a good actress, she brings this larger-than-life character to life, and Tomb Raider is actually a more interesting and a better movie before Lara heads off on her adventure. I’d say this is suitable for viewers around 12 or 13 and older.


THE RECOMMENDATIONS

Tomb Raider might be too grown up for your kids. If so, here are some other movies featuring female action heroes that you’ll enjoy sharing with your family:

Brave (2012) 79%

Rating: PG, for some scary action and rude humor.

Pixar’s first film with a strong, young woman at its center is beautiful, thrilling, and long overdue. And while it may not be as novel from a narrative perspective as such an unprecedented story deserves, Brave has connected with a lot of little girls who look up its heroine for her fearlessness and pluck. Kelly Macdonald provides the voice of Merida, a feisty and free-spirited Scottish princess who makes a huge mistake and must use her bravery and archery skills to undo a curse and restore peace to her kingdom. Like many teenagers, Merida thinks for herself always, defying her mother’s wishes to be ladylike and prepare for marriage and beating the boys at an archery contest. Its positive messages are all more than worthwhile for young girls – and boys – but I wish the story as a whole didn’t rely so heavily on hackneyed fairy-tale tropes. There’s some vaguely unsettling stuff here for the littlest viewers involving animal transformations and some sorta-scary growling. But for the most part, this is a fine choice for viewers around 6 and older.


Wonder Woman (2017) 93%

Rating: PG-13, for sequences of violence and action and some suggestive content.

You probably saw it last year – Wonder Woman has made nearly $822 million worldwide since its release last summer – but any opportunity to revisit Patty Jenkins’ beautifully crafted superhero origin story will do. Gal Gadot radiates charisma, bravery, and feminine power as the title character: an Amazon princess who comes into her own and learns how to use her formidable physical abilities for the good of humanity. Wonder Woman features a crucial, fundamental message about the importance of balancing empathy and strength. But it’s also rather intense — a big, violent superhero movie with long, graphic action sequences. Several characters die (albeit with little blood) and countless others are in peril during World War I battles. I’d say this is fine for viewers around 8 or 9. But the film’s driving themes of idealism and intelligence make it valuable for viewers of all ages.


Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2001) 97%

Rating: PG-13, for martial arts violence and some sexuality.

Ang Lee’s martial-arts masterpiece was nominated for 10 Academy Awards and it won four, including ones for best foreign language film and for Peter Pau’s exquisite cinematography. Lee reinvented the genre here, turning punishing hits and kicks into a dreamy, gravity-defying ballet. Crouching Tiger features not one but two powerful women at the center of its ancient yet thrillingly modern tale: the gorgeous and commanding Michelle Yeoh and Zhang Ziyi as women of different generations united by their shared desire for freedom. Both figure prominently in many of the film’s dazzling fight scenes, staged by the great Hong Kong action choreographer Yuen Woo-ping. So yes, there is a ton of action here, and a couple of characters die, but there’s very little blood. Crouching Tiger is also swooningly romantic and it’s suggested that a couple of characters have sex, although we never see any nudity. If your kids are into action movies and want to see something truly groundbreaking – and they don’t mind reading subtitles for two hours – this is an excellent choice for tweens and older.

Tag Cloud

20th Century Fox blaxploitation HBO ABC Family Tomatazos Paramount Lifetime Disney Channel aliens Certified Fresh Dark Horse Comics BBC America ESPN MTV Extras diversity TIFF Ghostbusters comiccon First Look thriller crime Christmas Calendar cats 21st Century Fox Cosplay Pirates ratings Countdown Spring TV Drama crime thriller zombies Polls and Games Toys technology Video Games Reality Competition Character Guide Marathons CW Seed cinemax Lucasfilm CMT See It Skip It YouTube Premium TV A&E Amazon biography Star Wars Marvel Fox News NYCC Oscars zombie Crackle DC Comics President 2015 singing competition ITV Food Network CBS All Access Kids & Family Biopics LGBTQ Martial Arts San Diego Comic-Con Country adventure Nominations Hulu BBC Superheroe anime CBS political drama GoT Britbox Awards discovery 24 frames Spike Comic Book science fiction cooking Masterpiece robots Columbia Pictures Action 007 Photos Election transformers Mindy Kaling Acorn TV Sci-Fi Paramount Network politics Fall TV El Rey Trailer Starz period drama TruTV Sneak Peek Sony Pictures composers Comedy romance VH1 Superheroes Lionsgate Year in Review Interview dramedy New York Comic Con USA Network Premiere Dates docudrama SDCC serial killer golden globes Watching Series mutant FOX TCM Pixar talk show dc Rocky Thanksgiving WGN Cartoon Network Sundance TCA Podcast Comics on TV Music war YouTube Red Musical Musicals VICE festivals psycho jamie lee curtis AMC Writers Guild of America Esquire sitcom Ellie Kemper 2017 Holidays Teen Pop Universal historical drama Sundance Now Song of Ice and Fire finale Star Trek History NBC Walt Disney Pictures E3 Rock USA Nat Geo Grammys SundanceTV National Geographic Infographic American Society of Cinematographers 45 Creative Arts Emmys TBS what to watch Set visit justice league Warner Bros. crime drama vampires Bravo DC Universe Winners OWN Fantasy PBS TNT Rom-Com Valentine's Day supernatural Box Office Emmys RT History Freeform Horror YA cops Trivia X-Men Logo Winter TV spy thriller Showtime Summer police drama CNN PaleyFest TV Land Netflix crossover TCA 2017 Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt IFC Super Bowl Tumblr TLC dceu travel E! Animation Ovation IFC Films Disney ABC based on movie 2016 Comedy Central DirecTV BET Mystery Schedule The Arrangement SXSW sports Opinion Red Carpet medical drama GIFs The CW FX cults MSNBC streaming Western Syfy social media FXX Shondaland Shudder binge GLAAD hist Nickelodeon Best and Worst doctor who APB boxoffice harry potter Adult Swim unscripted DC streaming service Mary Tyler Moore Reality Apple Epix