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31 Best Family Movies Of 2023

Filmgoing audiences were treated to a number of wonderful movies for the whole family in 2022, from Disney's "Turning Red" to the offbeat "Marcel the Shell with Shoes On." Not to be outdone, 2023 arguably equaled or surpassed the previous year, with a number of movies that fans of all ages could enjoy. Plus, now more than ever, there's no shortage of great family films you can watch both in theaters and at home, thanks to streaming.

From fantasy to sci-fi and everything in between, we saw a wide variety of exciting adventures, captivating cartoons, and touching tales that mom and dad could watch with their kids. Whether you were looking for a whimsical journey into a magical realm, an action-packed roller coaster ride, or an emotionally affecting drama that tugs at your heartstrings, we've compiled a list of the cream of the crop that earned accolades and are still sure to satisfy. So gather 'round, grab some popcorn, and mute your cell phones, because we're taking a look at the best family movies of 2023.

Dog Gone

"Dog Gone" was a January release that might have slipped under your radar. That's because it's a Netflix original and not based on a major comic book property or young adult novel series. Instead, it's adapted from an autobiographical novel entitled "Dog Gone: A Lost Pet's Extraordinary Journey and the Family Who Brought Him Home." It comes from director Stephen Herek, who's probably best known for "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure," though this lacks the sci-fi silliness of that 1989 classic.

Starring Rob Lowe and Johnny Berchtold, "Dog Gone" is the story of Fielding Marshall (Berchtold), a young man at a crossroads in life who adopts a dog named Gonker. The pup is soon diagnosed with a disease that requires a life-saving injection once a month. When he goes missing while on a hike, the clock is ticking to find him and get him the medicine he needs to stay alive. Then Fielding's own health begins to deteriorate as the search drags on. Suddenly, there are two lives at risk. Can the town band together to find Gonker and reunite him with the young man who needs him?

A heartwarming tale of friendship, "Dog Gone" is a dramatic tale about the love between a boy and his dog. And worry not, parents — it ends on a high note.

The Amazing Maurice

"The Amazing Maurice" is a CGI-animated romp from the U.K., based on a children's book by Terry Pratchett. It boasts an all-star cast, led by Hugh Laurie in the title role alongside Emilia Clarke, David Thewlis, Himesh Patel, Gemma Arterton, David Tennant, and Rob Brydon.

This roster is impressive, but the plot is just as enticing. Based on the story of the Pied Piper, "The Amazing Maurice" begins with the realization that the rats plaguing a small town are smart and organized. It turns out that the Piper himself, Keith (Patel), is their leader, and his cat Maurice (Laurie) is working with them on a money-making plot that takes advantage of the naïve townsfolk. Heading to a new city, Keith, Maurice, and their rats are hired — not to stop an invasion of rodents, though, but to find the reason behind a devastating food shortage. Plus, the Mayor's daughter discovers their scam and things soon get complicated.

Clever, charming, and fun for the whole family, "The Amazing Maurice" received high marks for its eccentricity and charismatic characters, with the Guardian comparing it favorably to Pixar's "Ratatouille."


In 2015, artist ND Stevenson created "Nimona," a graphic novel about a shapeshifting warrior. In 2023, it became a Netflix original animated movie. Directed by Nick Bruno and Troy Quane, the movie is led by Chloë Grace Moretz as the titular Nimona, who is sidekick to Ballister Boldheart, voiced by Riz Ahmed. They live in a magical world that mixes medieval landscapes and futuristic technology, which, as you might imagine, is extremely cool. But it's also complicated, and not always nice.

This world is home to the Institute of Elite Knights, a heroic order that protects the kingdom. But upon becoming a knight, Ballister Boldheart is framed for the murder of Queen Valerin. Now an outcast, Ballister is befriended by the strange shapeshifter Nimona, whose powers have left her a pariah too. The unlikely pair sets out to prove Ballister's innocence — but the secrets they unearth could destroy both of their lives forever.

Earning applause for its high quality animation and poignant story of identity, "Nimona" quickly — and deservedly — became one of the most talked-about Netflix films of the summer.

True Spirit

Released in January 2023 in its native Australia (and February everywhere else), "True Spirit" is based on the remarkable true story of a teenaged nautical pioneer. Jessica Watson (Teagan Croft), a young Australian sailor, attempts to circumnavigate the globe in a boat called Ella's Pink Lady. She's hoping to be the youngest person to ever accomplish the feat. Jessica has her family by her side, and is guided by her coach Ben Bryant (Cliff Curtis), a down-on-his-luck sailor who's looking to redeem himself from a bitter past.

Followed by intense media coverage even during preliminary training, every nautical mile of Jessica's perilous journey is captured for all the world to see. From getting caught in a dangerous storm to an intense confrontation between Jessica and Bryant, this trip faces more challenges than expected. But the question remains: Can a 16-year-old girl really accomplish a feat that even adult sailors struggle to achieve?

Filled with adventure, excitement, and plenty of human drama, "True Spirit" is a story about never giving up, even in the face of long odds.


Alfonso Cuarón broke into family-oriented fantasy with 2004's "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban." In 2023, Cuarón's son Jonás released his own breakout film, and it's also a fantasy adventure. This winning Netflix original is called "Chupa," and it stars Evan Whitten and Christian Slater. 

"Chupa" centers around the search for the beast known as the Chupacabra, a legendary bloodsucker hailing from Latin American folklore. Here, the Chupacabra is very real, and Dr. Richard Quinn (Slater), a government scientist, believes the animal could lead to a breakthrough in his medical research. At the same time, young Alex (Whitten) has relocated to Mexico to live with his grandfather and cousins after the death of his father. He soon stumbles across a lost Chupacabra cub, but doesn't realize the enormity of his discovery. When Quinn is able to track the creature to Alex's home, it leads to a showdown between those who want to use the animal for less noble purposes, and those who want to see nature left alone.

An adventure that harkens back to '80s classics like "E.T." and "Gremlins," "Chupa" is a delightful story about friendship and loyalty. Whether the director can eventually snag multiple Academy Awards like his father remains to be seen.

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

"Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" might have been the best MCU entry of 2023, but it wasn't the best Marvel movie. That's because we also got "Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse," the sequel to 2018's "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse." That critically acclaimed, groundbreaking superhero saga introduced the world to teenaged superhero Miles Morales (Shameik Moore), a Spider-Man from another dimension. Following the events of that film, "Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse" reunites Morales with Peter B. Parker (Jake Johnson) — a middle-aged, semi-retired Spider-Man from a different reality — and Spider-Gwen (Hailee Steinfeld), who's on the run in her own world.

This time, Morales and his friends meet a whole new group of Spider-heroes from various dimensions, including Miguel O'Hara, aka Spider-Man 2099 (Oscar Isaac), and Hobie Brown, aka Spider-Punk (Daniel Kaluuya). A dangerous new villain called the Spot (Jason Schwartzman) threatens the multiverse, but Miles refuses to go along with his Spider-peers' morally murky plans to stop him. Suddenly, he finds himself on the wrong end of a group of powerful superheroes ... including some of his dearest friends.

Proving that sequels aren't always a letdown, "Spider-Man Across the Spider-Verse" more than lives up to its predecessor. It's a lively, colorful, over-the-top superhero story that will satisfy all ages.

The Magician's Elephant

Netflix seemingly wanted to claim the family film crown in 2023, because they released yet another great flick in March: The CGI-animated fantasy adventure "The Magician's Elephant." It has quite an impressive pedigree, even on this dazzling list. This film is directed by Wendy Rogers and written by Martin Hynes, who helped pen "Toy Story 4," and features the voice talents of Benedict Wong, Brian Tyree Henry, Aasif Mandvi, Miranda Richardson, and Mandy Patinkin. It's adapted from a 2009 children's book by Newbery Award-winner Kate DiCamillo, which has already been translated off the page into a 2021 stage musical by the Royal Shakespeare Company.

"The Magician's Elephant" follows Peter (Noah Jupe), a young orphan living in the town of Baltese, where the sun never shines. One day, a fortune teller (Natasia Demetriou) arrives and tells him that his long-lost sister is still alive. To find her, he must follow an elephant. Soon enough, a magician (Wong) arrives with just such an elephant, and Peter knows the animal is key to finding his kin. But to accomplish his goal, Peter must first complete three tasks assigned to him by the King (Mandvi). 

With gorgeous animation, wonderful performances, and a timeless tale of friends and family at its heart, "The Magician's Elephant" was one of the best 2023 animated adventures Netflix had to offer.

Peter Pan and Wendy

Over the years there have been countless screen adaptations of J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan stories. Several have even become classics themselves, like the Disney animated version from 1953, and the 1991 live-action film "Hook." In 2023, Disney released a new live-action version, "Peter Pan and Wendy." Written and directed by David Lowery, it stars Alexander Molony and Ever Anderson in the title roles. These youngsters are impressive on their own, but they also play wonderfully off the rest of the cast. Academy Award nominee Jude Law takes on the role of the dastardly Captain Hook, while Yara Shahidi plays the spritely Tinkerbell. Jim Gaffigan, Molly Parker, and Alan Tudyk round out the star-studded cast.

This time, the story puts more focus on the friendship between Peter and Wendy, while also being quite faithful to Disney's original animated version. It recreates many of that movie's iconic moments, which will have longtime fans feeling nostalgic and also wow newcomers.

Trolls Band Together

The third film in the "Trolls" franchise, "Trolls Band Together" sees Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake return to the roles of Poppy and Branch, with new additions to the voice cast including Eric André, Kid Cudi, Daveed Diggs, Troye Sivan, Amy Schumer, and RuPaul. Poppy and Branch are now a couple, but Branch's hidden past comes back to haunt him when it's discovered that he was once a member of the boy band BroZone alongside his four brothers. When one of his former bandmates is taken captive by a pair of villains who want to steal his talent so they can become famous, it's up to Poppy and Branch to rescue him. 

By the time it ends, "Trolls Band Together" may not shake up the status quo much, but playing on the real-life past of Justin Timberlake is a clever angle for a meta story — his former group NSYNC actually reunited for the film, recording a song for the soundtrack. It's vibrant fun, and there are a few surprises thrown in, too (let's just say that Branch isn't the only one with siblings). While it may look like it's just for kids, the threequel — like its predecessors — offers all-ages excitement and laughs for the whole family.

Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret.

Judy Blume is one of the most celebrated authors of young adult fiction in history. Several of her works have been adapted to film, but 2023's "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret." immediately established itself as the best Blume-based movie ever made.

Revolving around a young girl named Margaret Simon, this film follows the sixth grader as she deals with all the sensitive problems a girl her age must face. From anxieties related to school to the changes in her body to her burgeoning feelings towards boys, this film — like the beloved book — takes a frank look at what it means to be a young girl growing into womanhood. Its success comes straight from its dazzling cast and crew. The film was written and directed by Kelly Fremon Craig, who knocks it out of the park just as she did with "The Edge of Seventeen." Abby Ryder Fortson stars as Margaret, with Rachel McAdams playing her mother, Barbara, and Academy Award winner Kathy Bates portraying her grandmother, Sylvia. 


With a reported budget of $200 million, "Elemental" struggled to turn a profit at the box office. But even though it found modest success at the ticket counter, it's not a bad movie. In fact, it was reviewed quite well by critics, and received a resoundingly positive response from movie-goers too. 

The film is set in a fanciful world where the classical elements of fire, water, air, and earth are personified denizens of Element City. Here, we meet Ember Lumen (Leah Lewis), a hot-headed young fire element, who befriends Wade Ripple (Mamoudou Athie), an overly sensitive water element.

A stylish, vibrant romp in true Pixar fashion, it might not be an all-time classic like "Toy Story" or "Wall-E," but "Elemental" stands alongside them quite well. Kids, teens, and adults should all find something to enjoy, whether it's the film's life lessons of friendship, the delightful animation, or its light-hearted and whimsical tone.

The Little Mermaid

"The Little Mermaid" proved itself a worthy successor to the animated original, thanks in large part to the star-making turn of leading lady Halle Bailey in the title role. The other stars aren't bad either: Daveed Diggs as Sebastian, Jacob Tremblay as Flounder, Javier Bardem as King Triton, and Melissa McCarthy as Ursula all put a new spin on classic characters.

Once again, this film retells Hans Christian Andersen's beloved fairy tale — through the lens of the 1989 cartoon, of course. Bailey's Ariel is no less charming than her animated counterpart; she longs to experience the human world above the surface with just as much endearing passion. After becoming enchanted with Prince Eric, whose life she saves after a shipwreck, Ariel becomes determined to see him again. Through a deal with the sea witch Ursula, she takes human form and joins her lost love above the waves. But when the bargain goes disastrously wrong, Ariel must decide which world she truly wants to belong to.

A wonderfully imaginative remake, "The Little Mermaid" is sure to satisfy fans of the original. And if there are younger members of the family who aren't as familiar with the tale, it might just become their preferred take.


"Crater" is a science fiction adventure set some 200 years in our future. Mankind has been using the Moon for mining, while settling colonies on a distant planet called Omega. The story follows Caleb (Isaiah Russell-Bailey), a boy slated to be sent to Omega after his father is killed in a lunar mining accident. But before he departs, he rounds up a group of friends to go to the moon and travel to a crater his father always promised to explore with him.

With a young cast of stars — including Mckenna Grace, Billy Barratt, Orson Hong, and Thomas Boyce — "Crater" is a charming sci-fi adventure and a poignant coming-of-age story. Unfortunately, mere weeks after it was released on Disney+ and earned positive reviews from critics and audiences, it was unceremoniously removed from the service, part of the unsettling trend of streaming projects being deleted from their home platforms. The good news is that you can still see it — it's now available to rent or buy at Prime Video, YouTube, Fandango at Home, and Apple TV.


Next to nobody expected a film about a toy to be an awards contender, but thanks to the efforts of writer-director Greta Gerwig and star Margot Robbie, "Barbie" made a strong case for being one of the best movies of the year. Inspired by the iconic Mattel toy, the film features a broad ensemble cast that also includes Issa Rae, Kate McKinnon, and Dua Lipa as other versions of Barbie.

Set in the whimsical world of Barbie Land, the film centers on one particularly happy-go-lucky Barbie (Robbie) who becomes frustrated with her own existence. When her idyllic life begins to fall apart, this Barbie must embark on a journey into the real world, and with Ken (Ryan Gosling) by her side, she discovers that it's not always sunshine and rainbows. Barbie and Ken must track down the little girl to whom they belong if they are to cure her growing sense of ennui.

A meta story about friendship, love, loyalty, and confronting some of life's hard truths, "Barbie" is a modern classic and a timeless tale that was met with rave reviews for its humor and heart. Despite being ostensibly aimed at those who played with Barbie dolls as a kid, the film transcends its genre with action, adventure, and a message that will resonate with just about anyone who's ever been frustrated by life. 

Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves

If it's family movie night and you're looking for a blockbuster fantasy epic,  look no further than "Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves." Don't be put off by its role-playing game origins if you're not a tabletop gamer — this one isn't just for diehard fans. Its biggest strength might be its phenomenal cast, let by none other than "Star Trek" and "Wonder Woman" star Chris Pine, along with Sophia Lillis, Michelle Rodriguez, Regé-Jean Page, Justice Smith, and Daisy Head.

Pine plays Edgin Darvis, a noble warrior who became an outlaw after the murder of his wife. Ever since her death at the hands of the Red Wizards, Edgin has sought to resurrect her from beyond the grave using an ancient relic. But obtaining it led to his imprisonment alongside the mighty barbarian woman Holga (Rodriguez). Upon their escape, they regroup with their former allies, including sorcerer-in-training Simon (Smith) ... only to discover that their old friend Forge (Hugh Grant) has betrayed them.

Playing out scenarios that any fan of fantasy will love, "Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves" is full of splashy spectacle, but also bigger on comedy than you might expect. Clearly made by fans of the original game, it's as suited to newbies as it is to devoted D&D players.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie

Films based on video games have an unfortunate track record, with the notoriously terrible 1993 live-action "Super Mario Bros." being a prime example. Since 2019, however, the genre has received a boost thanks to CGI-heavy films like "Detective Pikachu" and "Sonic the Hedgehog." The animated "The Super Mario Bros. Movie" finally redeemed the franchise on the big screen with a stellar outing that was among the most fun family films of 2023.

Chris Pratt and Charlie Day step into the roles of Mario and Luigi, a pair of New York plumbers who are sucked into a magical realm. After arriving, Luigi is taken hostage by a nefarious villain called Bowser (Jack Black), who promises to destroy the nearby Mushroom Kingdom if he can't have the hand of Princess Peach (Anya Taylor-Joy). It's up to Mario to rescue his brother, win the love of Princess Peach, and save the Mushroom Kingdom from total annihilation.

Everything fans of the Mario franchise could ask for, "The Super Mario Bros. Movie" is a delightful adventure for all ages that's high on stakes and loaded with colorful characters and vibrant action. A smash hit in theaters (it amassed more than a billion dollars), it narrowly missed out on being the highest-grossing film of the year, beaten only by "Barbie."

Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget

Written and directed by the team of Peter Lord and Nick Park, creators of the critically acclaimed British claymation shorts "Wallace and Gromit," the original "Chicken Run" landed in 2000. It's a film about an American rooster named Rocky (Mel Gibson) who gets stuck on a farm in England and must help a British chicken named Ginger (Julia Sawalha) escape the coop and find freedom. Nearly a quarter of a century later comes this belated sequel, "Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget."

Rocky the rooster is back, but this time he's voiced by "Shazam" star Zachary Levi. He and Ginger (now played by Thandiwe Newton) welcome a daughter (Bella Ramsey) after finding a peaceful life in a bird sanctuary. But when Mrs. Tweedy (Miranda Richardson) returns looking for payback, Rocky and Ginger must fight back once more, and this time they'll have to break into Tweedy's farm to do it.

Despite a changing of the guard and a new director in Sam Fell ("ParaNorman"), "Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget" was met with warm reviews on its festival debut ahead of its release on Netflix. Even after two decades and a bunch of new voice actors, the story is as cheer-worthy as ever and will allow fans of the original to introduce the franchise to their kids.

The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar

One of two short films on this list, "The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar" is simply too good, too charming, and too noteworthy to miss, regardless of runtime. It's written and directed by Wes Anderson, who helmed the family-friendly stop-motion adaptation of "The Fantastic Mr. Fox." Like that film, "The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar" is also adapted from a work by children's author Roald Dahl. It boasts an impressive cast headlined by Ralph Fiennes, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Ben Kingsley, with Dev Patel and Richard Ayoade supporting.

Cumberbatch plays the titular character, a compulsive gambler who learns all about a man named Imdad Khan (Kingsley). Khan supposedly possessed a kind of clairvoyant superpower. After studying Khan's methods, Sugar himself learns these techniques and uses his newfound ability to cheat at local casinos and amass a fortune. Stylish, quirky, and brilliantly directed by Anderson, "The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar" is a feast for cinema lovers, but it's also for anyone who wants to enter another one of Roald Dahl's fantastical worlds. It's a tale of spirituality and personal growth that also contains some of 2023's best performances.

The Velveteen Rabbit

A classic children's novel by Margery Williams, 1922's "The Velveteen Rabbit" has received a number of film and TV adaptations over the years, many of them animated. In 2023, we got one more, this time a live-action short film with a mostly unknown cast. Directed by Jennifer Perrott and Rick Thiele, this Apple TV+ original benefits from being made for streaming in that it doesn't force a longer, more complicated story to fit a full-length movie.

Like the original tale, it follows a young boy named William (Phoenix Laroche), who is gifted a soft toy rabbit that turns out to be much more than a child's plaything. In this world — which serves as a prototype for the likes of "Toy Story" — a child's toy needs the love of a kid to become real. Helena Bonham Carter stars as the voice of the Wise Horse, who narrates the story of the Velveteen Rabbit and explains how his bond with William allows him to come to life.

A nimbly told tale, "The Velveteen Rabbit" is a poignant story of friendship with classic themes that remain appealing to everyone, whether you're familiar with the original book or not. This optimistic short film is all about the value of imagination and provides children and adults alike with a hopeful vision of the world.


In 2023, Walt Disney continued its tradition of magical musical adventures with "Wish," a film that celebrated 100 years of Disney. It takes place in the kingdom of Rosas, ruled by a sorcerer-king called Magnifico (Chris Pine). He sometimes grants the wishes of his people and, if he cannot, promises to return their wishes for the future. Asha (Ariana DeBose) is a would-be apprentice to the king who slowly realizes that Magnifico's promise of granting wishes may be more sinister than everyone believes.

Learning that the king's promise to return ungranted wishes may be an elaborate trick, Asha seeks to expose his secret. She wishes upon a star that surprisingly comes to Rosas in the form of a ball of light, granting animals the ability to speak. Naming the light Star, Asha sets out to save her family's wishes, but when Magnifico learns what Asha and Star are up to, he turns to a twisted kind of dark magic to stop them. If he can get his hands on Star, there may be no stopping his incredible power.

A heartwarming tale told in classic Disney fashion, "Wish" is about an ordinary young girl who is thrust into the role of a hero and must battle an evil tyrant. It's a throwback that borders on direct homage to films of the past, and while it can't match all-time greats like "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," it's a worthy successor that guarantees a good time.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have appeared in numerous TV shows and films since they were created by comic book authors Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird in the 1980s. In 2023, they returned to the big screen, this time in a more kid-friendly, CGI-animated film titled "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem." It tackles the Turtles' struggles with being accepted by human society. Hoping to win over the people, Leonardo (Nicolas Cantu), Michelangelo (Shamon Brown, Jr.), Donatello (Micah Abbey), and Raphael (Brady Noon) fight a local crime syndicate, but when dangerous, mutated animals take to the streets of New York City, they may have finally met their match.

While the main foursome are voiced by actual teen actors, they are joined by some veterans in the form of John Cena, Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, and Giancarlo Esposito as Rocksteady, Bebop, Leatherhead, and Baxter Stockman, with Jackie Chan taking on the role of their mentor Splinter. Written by Seth Rogen and regular collaborator Evan Goldberg, "Mutant Mayhem" is a wild, wacky ride full of fast and furious action, martial arts craziness, and plenty of big laughs. It looks great, and it's an undeniable treat for new and longtime fans alike, making it one of the best family films of 2023.

You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah

Best known for his comedic roles, Adam Sandler has also proven his range as an actor over the years by dabbling in dramatic films like "Reign Over Me" and "Uncut Gems." While "You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah" is more familiar territory for Sandler, it has its fair share of heart. The "Happy Gilmore" star is only a supporting actor in this one, and it's instead the rest of the Sandler clan that gets the spotlight: His wife, Jackie Sandler, features in the film alongside their daughters, Sadie and Sunny Sandler.

In the days leading up to her Bat Mitzvah, preteen Stacy Friedman (Sunny Sandler) is focused on nothing more than making sure it's absolutely flawless. Fearing that any mistake here will haunt her for years, she should at least be able to count on the people closest to her to make the day special, especially her best friend Lydia (Samantha Lorraine). But with the anxiety of prepping for such a big day, impending adulthood, and even a blossoming romance, Stacy winds up pushing her loved ones to the brink.

Despite a premise that at first glance may not seem to appeal to those outside of their teenage years, "You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah" perfectly blends relatable comedy with heartfelt moments to make it appealing to all. And while it may not be as crass as some of the projects Sandler is famous for, its PG-13 rating gives it more adult appeal than some might expect.

Love at First Sight

One of several Netflix original movies released in 2023, the YA romantic comedy "Love at First Sight" stands out when compared to other rom-coms, thanks to its cast of recognizable talent and a cute, twisty premise. It stars Haley Lu Richardson ("Edge of Seventeen") and Ben Hardy ("X-Men: Apocalypse") as would-be couple Hadley and Oliver. We watch as they go from strangers in an airport to will-they/won't-they lovers by the film's climax. But with some untold secrets between the two, as well as doubts about whether they can really work, things may not end happily ever after.

"Love at First Sight" debuted to warm reviews from both critics and casual viewers alike, who praised everything from the performances of the two leads to its truly sweet tone that never strays into the saccharine. And though the streaming original earned itself a PG-13 rating, there's nothing heavy enough in the film's 91-minute runtime to make it feel out of place in our lineup of best family flicks. This is a perfect option for a family night in and will be especially pleasing to those who love a good romance.


Another 2023 family film featuring Adam Sandler, the Netflix original CGI-animated movie "Leo" is the story of class pets Leo the lizard (Sandler) and Squirtle the turtle (Bill Burr). When a substitute teacher takes over the class, Leo is taken home by rambunctious student Summer (Sunny Sandler). Leo helps her become more popular at school and gradually turns into a confidante and mentor to various students, though he makes each of them promise not to reveal the fact that he can talk. When Squirtle becomes resentful of how much Leo is beloved by the class, he sets out to turn the kids against his fellow class pet.

"Leo" was co-directed by "Saturday Night Live" alum Robert Smigel from a story written by him and Sandler. Cecily Strong, Jason Alexander, Rob Scheider, and Jo Koy are part of the cast, as are several members of the creators' families — as well as Sandler's daughters Sunny and Sadie, Smigel's sons Roey and Ethan also feature. "Leo" boasts some top-notch animation while blending Sandler's unique brand of comedy with the poignancy of classic animated family fare. It also has a lot of musical numbers, making it ideal viewing for all the family.

Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie

A small-screen animated favorite among younger viewers, "Paw Patrol" chronicles the adventures of a group of canine do-gooders who carry out the duties of real-life public servants in the fictional Adventure Bay. Their lighthearted exploits have provided enough entertainment for "Paw Patrol" to boast an impressive 10 seasons so far, as well as what's now a pair of films thanks to the release of 2023's "Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie."

In this latest feature-length outing, things go science fiction: The German Shepherd named Chase and his four-legged friends come face-to-face with an extraterrestrial arrival when a mysterious comet crash-lands in the middle of Adventure City. As strange objects from space often do in movies, the comet grants the gang unique superpowers by way of magical crystals. But while their newfound abilities prove to be invaluable for performing acts of heroism, they can just as easily be twisted for more evil goals should someone like their age-old nemesis Mayor Humdinger get his way.

While "Paw Patrol" may not be the most engrossing franchise for older audiences, with the series being firmly aimed at a younger crowd, "The Mighty Movie" is a bit more grown-up than its TV counterpart. An innocent, easy-going adventure, it's a no-brainer when looking for something to watch for family movie night with the little ones.

Good Burger 2

A sequel that was more than 25 years in the making, "Good Burger 2" continues the legacy of Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell's Nickelodeon series "All That," in which they played teenage fast food employees Dexter and Ed. In this follow-up, set decades after the first movie, Dexter is now an independent inventor who falls on hard times and must lean on his old friend Ed, who now owns a Good Burger restaurant.

Down on his luck after a series of setbacks and personal failures, Dexter crashes with Ed and eventually decides to get his old job back at the fast food joint. There he meets new employees and bubbly twins Cindy and Mindy (Emily and Elizabeth Hinkler), along with Fizz (Josh Server), who is thawed out after 22 years stuck in a freezer. Together, they go on more hapless adventures while Ed tries to avoid a corporate takeover led by franchise executive Cecil McNevin (Lil Rel Howery). Released directly to Paramount+, "Good Burger 2" is some solid family fun and a continuation of the best Nickelodeon sitcom ever made. Though critical reviews were somewhat tepid, audiences ate it up.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

"Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" made a strong early bid for best MCU adventure of the year. The third and final film in the series, it features the long-awaited return of Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), Mantis (Pom Klementieff), Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) and Groot (Vin Diesel), along with Nebula (Karen Gillan) and Kraglin (Sean Gunn).

This time, the Guardians must embark on a mission to save Rocket, whose life hangs in the balance after a deadly attack by a genetically engineered warrior called Adam Warlock (Will Poulter). Specifically, the team seeks the files of his creator, the cosmic madman known as the High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji), who has his own sinister plans for the pint-sized hero. But when they find him, they realize the stakes are much higher than just Rocket's life.

A fitting end to what might be the best superhero trilogy ever made, "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" is more than just a fun, fast-paced space adventure. It's also a moving, emotional journey of self-discovery, and one of Marvel's true triumphs.

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

Fans who felt let down by "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" got a chance to see the whip-wielding relic hunter end his theatrical adventures on a high note in 2023 with the series' fifth — and purportedly final — installment. "Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny" sees Harrison Ford returning to the title role, though original series creators Steven Spielberg and George Lucas weren't as heavily involved this time, serving only as producers while "Logan" helmer James Mangold took over directing duties.

Set in the late 1960s, "Dial of Destiny" sees a world-weary Professor Jones begrudgingly teaching a generation of young archeology students at a New York college. But when he's approached by his goddaughter Helena (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) to help locate an ancient artifact he'd once hunted for in his younger days, he's thrust back into the role of adventurer. When it turns out that Helena is seeking to sell the artifact to a Nazi scientist who wants to use it to bring back Hitler's Third Reich, Jones finds himself locking horns with a Nazi madman one more time.

Though not quite on par with the original "Indiana Jones" trilogy, "Dial of Destiny" is nevertheless a rollicking PG-13 adventure that hits all the right notes. Plus, an absolutely bonkers final act tosses the entire franchise on its head in the most wondrous way possible and caps off the series with a heartfelt aplomb.

Blue Beetle

Despite bombing at the box office, "Blue Beetle" is easily one of the most underrated additions to the now-defunct DC Extended Universe (DCEU). This family-centric superhero origin story offers some refreshing twists to the overpopulated genre with its authentic Latino-American representation, brought to life by a charming ensemble cast, and its heartfelt messaging about the power of family.

Xolo Maridueña, known for his role in "Cobra Kai," portrays Jaime Reyes, a young college graduate who discovers his family on the brink of eviction upon returning home. Their struggles intensify when Jaime is chosen as the host of an ancient alien artifact known as the Scarab, turning him into the heroic Blue Beetle. Caught in a clash against Kord Industries, led by Victoria Kord (Susan Sarandon), Jaime grapples with his newfound powers while facing the company's ruthless pursuit of the Scarab's technology for its own nefarious intentions.

Tailored for the whole family, "Blue Beetle" is an endearing, action-packed watch that balances familiar superhero tropes with less-trodden themes of class inequality and racism in a sensitive and age-appropriate manner.

The Boy and the Heron

After his decade-long hiatus from directing, Hayao Miyazaki's highly-anticipated film "The Boy and the Heron" proved to be well worth the wait. Exploring themes of acceptance, trauma, and self-discovery, Miyazaki infuses the narrative with autobiographical elements, reflecting on his own childhood and more recent experiences with grief. Set in Tokyo during the Pacific War, the film tells the story of a boy grieving his mother's death, drawing parallels between childhood innocence and the complexities of life's end, all framed with a beautifully animated and imaginative backdrop.

Mahito Maki's (Soma Santoki/Luca Padovan) life is upended when his mother dies in a hospital fire. He, his father Shoichi (Takuya Kimura/Christian Bale), and his new stepmother Natsuko (Yoshino Kimura/Gemma Chan) evacuate to a rural estate, where Mahito encounters a mystical grey heron (Masaki Suda/Robert Pattinson). Together, they embark on a fantastical journey across various worlds, encountering allies and adversaries alike as Mahito searches for his lost loved ones and grapples with his own inner emotional journey of self-discovery and destiny.

"The Boy and the Heron" is a poignant, awe-inspiring tale celebrated for its artistry, imagination, and emotional resonance, though its hard-hitting, sophisticated themes should be considered before sharing it with younger audiences.

A Million Miles Away

"An astronaut" may seem like a clichéd response from children who are asked what they want to be when they grow up, but for José M. Hernández, the real-life astronaut depicted in the inspirational biopic "A Million Miles Away," it was a lifelong ambition, and nothing was going to stop him from achieving it. Based on Hernández's autobiography, "Reaching for the Stars: The Inspiring Story of a Migrant Farmworker Turned Astronaut," the Prime Video film tells the true story of a determined young boy who overcomes adversity and follows his objective of journeying to the cosmos.

From his humble beginnings as the child of migrant workers in California to his eventual success as a NASA astronaut, José's (Michael Peña) story is one of perseverance, dedication, and the power of belief in oneself. Through hard work and determination, José navigates consistent rejections, setbacks, and personal losses as he works toward his childhood dream of becoming the first former migrant farmworker to venture into space.

Never too sentimental, "A Million Miles Away" is a feel-good, inspiring film that reminds viewers, young and old, that they can achieve anything if they put their heart and mind to it.