Emotional Wellbeing

Inside Out
Inside Out

Film is an ideal medium to explore issues around emotional wellbeing, showcasing as it does the internal conflicts of the characters seen on screen and evoking a sympathetic response amongst the audience. In this film list we investigate how the protagonists react to challenging times, and whether their responses work towards or against supporting emotional wellbeing.

You can also check out our Emotional Wellbeing-themed podcast suitable for primary clubs.

Inside Out

CertU

Age group7–16

Duration102 mins

Inside Out(2015)

Animated adventure about the five dominant emotions inside an 11 year-old girl’s head, as she struggles to come to terms with moving home.

Fantastically mapping out a young girl’s core identity, the fight for dominance between her feelings and the importance of memories (and a funny insight into why some of the less useful ones keep cropping up!), Inside Out is a very touching and smart exploration of the emotional balance that’s needed to achieve wellbeing.

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Believe

CertPG

Age group7–16

Duration95 mins

Believe(2013)

Touching fictional tale about legendary Manchester United manager Sir Matt Busby helping a talented but wayward young footballer fulfil his dreams.

Struggling with exam pressure and still dealing with a terrible loss, young George’s self-esteem is at a low when he resorts to stealing to try and fund his way into a football competition. Revealing the circumstances behind his acts of desperation, this film also seeks redemption for its young and troubled hero.

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Big Hero 6

CertPG

Age group7–14

Duration98 mins

Big Hero 6(2014)

Action packed Disney/Marvel animation with a lovable robot and a cool teenage scientist.

Talented Hiro is initially reluctant to hone his robotics skills at university, preferring instead to take part in shady backstreet botfights. Encouraged by his older brother to challenge himself and expand his skills, Hiro’s newfound ambitions are nearly shattered when tragedy strikes. With the support of his new lab mates, Hiro finds a way through his grief in action.

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My Neighbour Totoro

CertU

Age groupAll ages

Duration82 mins

My Neighbour Totoro(1988)

Sweet, imaginative animated fable about a girl and her sister who move to a forest which is full of friendly spirits.

Satsuki and her sister Mei overcome difficult times and get used to their new home by becoming at one with their magical woodland surroundings and making friends with the benevolent creatures they discover there.

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Bridge To Terabithia

CertPG

Age group7–14

Duration93 mins

Bridge To Terabithia(2007)

Charming family fantasy film following the adventures of two ten-year-old misfits, based on the popular novel.

Outsiders Leslie and Jess escape into a fantasy world of their imagination and encourage one another’s creativity, and hatch plans to conquer the bullies that are terrorising their school.

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The Good Dinosaur

CertPG

Age group7–14

Duration101 mins

The Good Dinosaur(2015)

Prehistoric adventure about a lost young dinosaur who must have the courage to face his fears and find his way home.

Feeling inadequate as he can’t keep up with his siblings’ progress, Arlo finds the strength he needs to prove himself when he is accidentally separated from his family and makes new friends to help him find his way back home. Befriending and taking care of a young human called Spot makes Arlo realise that he can make his mark after all.

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Song of the Sea

CertPG

Age group5–11

Duration92 mins

Song of the Sea(2014)

A beautiful and touching animation based on an Irish folktale about a little girl who turns into a Selkie.

When Ben and his little sister Saoirse are moved away from their island home onto the mainland with their grandma, they long to return home to their lonely father. To make the journey back however Ben must learn to be patient with his little sister Saoirse, whose muteness he cannot understand.

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Where The Wild Things Are

CertPG

Age group7–16

Duration99 mins

Where The Wild Things Are(2009)

Spike Jonze's live action adaptation of Maurice Sendak's children's classic about tameable monsters and an angry little boy.

Expanding on the much-loved children’s illustrated book, this adaptation brings the monsters to vivid life and explores the motivations behind young Max’s rebellious behaviour and desire to run away to a kingdom where he is the centre of attention and feels more in control.

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Tomboy

CertU

Age group7+

Duration79 mins

Tomboy(2011)

A beautifully understated, naturalistic drama about childhood gender identity confusion that’s both touching and gently humorous.

When newcomer to town Laure introduces herself to new friends as Mikael, she finds freedom in her new male identity. However, the pressure of keeping up appearances start to take their toll, especially as a close friendship starts to develop with neighbour Lisa.

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Short Term 12

Cert15

Age group14+

Duration93 mins

Short Term 12(2013)

Foster worker Grace is forced to confront her own emotional bruises when a new resident moves in who reminds her a little too much of herself.

Providing a safe space for young people who have been through troubled times is a demanding job, but incredibly rewarding for dedicated Grace. She learns a valuable lesson about taking her own advice and making time for herself when buried feelings are triggered by a newcomer.

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Moonrise Kingdom

Cert12

Age group11+

Duration90 mins

Moonrise Kingdom(2012)

Swept up in the excitement of first love, Sam and Suzy decide to run away together in this sweet 1960s-set comedy.

Both coming from unhappy home lives, Sam and Suzy see salvation in one another and decide that they are the best people to look after each other, rather than their distant parents or foster carers. But will running away really solve their problems?

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The Queen of Versailles

CertE

Age group11–16

Duration100 mins

The Queen of Versailles(2012)

Entertaining documentary about a decadent lifestyle thrown into jeopardy by the credit crunch.

Addiction to shopping and conspicuous consumption are put under the microscope here as wealthy housewife Jackie struggles to deal with the sudden cutbacks imposed by the financial crisis.

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The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet

Cert12

Age group11–14

Duration101 mins

The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet(2013)

Charming, richly coloured film about a ten-year-old cartographer and inventor living on a remote ranch with his cowboy father and scientist mother.

TS Spivet strikes out on his own and hits the road when his invention is singled out for an award. Leaving behind the memory of a loss that has emotionally uprooted his family, TS’s actions force his parents to take action to try and heal the family.

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Dear White People

Cert15

Age group16+

Duration104 mins

Dear White People(2014)

Campus-based satire dissecting contemporary racial politics by following four African-American students studying at a privileged university.

Satirical comedy about the politics of identity and self-representation explored through the microcosm of a university campus. Seen from the point of view of student radio DJ Sam White who vocally challenges the status quo; wannabe celebrity Coco who exploits it; academic Troy who resentfully accepts it; and Lionel, who would rather stand back and observe than join the fray.

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52 Tuesdays

Cert15

Age group16+

Duration110 mins

52 Tuesdays(2013)

Australian coming-of-age drama about a sixteen-year-old’s weekly meetings with her mother, who is undergoing gender reassignment.

Billie’s family life is thrown into confusion when she moves in with her father to allow her mother space as she undergoes gender reassignment. With the newfound freedom given by her father’s nightshifts, Billie begins to explore the boundaries of her own identity and sexuality.

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Grandma

Cert15

Age group16+

Duration79 mins

Grandma(2015)

Elle Reid hits the road with granddaughter Sage, visiting friends and old flames, in order to raise $600 for the teenager’s planned abortion.

Love and loss are explored in this touching comic road movie about Elle, who is attempting to help out her granddaughter Sage but in order to do so must confront her own significant but painful decisions that were made in her past.

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