Transition

Toy Story 3
Toy Story 3

Adjusting to something new can be tough, but is something we all have to go through at various points in our lives. Whether it is moving from primary into secondary school, or to a new home, a new town, or even a new country, it can often feel like nobody understands us and things will never be the same again. As this collection of films make clear, this is not the case and learning to transition to something new can be an exciting adventure to relish, helping us to grow up and learn who we are. Examining areas around moving on, developing confidence, teamwork, struggling to fit in and having to deal with saying goodbye, these films all contain wonderful lessons for children and young people about coping with these issues and helping to realise that we are not as alone as we might think we are. As many of the characters also learn, dealing with transition often involves being kind and understanding to others going through the process, even if we think we have passed that stage ourselves.

For more advice on using how film can be used to ease worries over transition, read our article - How to use film to support Transition

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

Kiki's Delivery Service

CertU

Age group5–11

Duration103 mins

Kiki's Delivery Service(1989)

Anime about a 13-year-old witch-in-training who, as part of her calling, has to spend a year living away from her mother in a new town.

An ideal introduction to Studio Ghibli for young audiences, this animation about a young witch in training deals with a time in all of our lives when we have to set out on our own and make a go of living independently. For Kiki, this means adjusting to life in a new town where she has no connections. However her adventures are only just beginning…

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Goosebumps

CertPG

Age group7–14

Duration103 mins

Goosebumps(2015)

Thrilling and funny adaptation of the well-known Goosebumps books that sees havoc unleashed on an unsuspecting American suburb.

This adaptation of the mega-selling ghostly series places author R.L. Stine at the heart of the story. With new-in-town Zach struggling to adjust to life away from the big city, new neighbor Hannah promises to show him that life in Delaware isn’t so bad. However Hannah’s grumpy father forbids them from hanging out, and soon after things start to go bump in the night.

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Toy Story 3

CertU

Age group5–16

Duration98 mins

Toy Story 3(2010)

The third outing for Buzz and Woody in a tale every bit as funny, touching and exciting as it's predecessors.

One of the hardest things about transitioning to a new phase of life is saying goodbye to what was once a valuable part of who we are. This issue is examined in acutely poignant fashion in this wonderful animation, where Woody and Buzz find themselves forgotten as Andy gets set for college. But emotions can be more complicated than that, as the much-loved duo come to discover.

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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.

Laure is a 10 year-old who has recently moved to the outskirts of Paris with her family. When she is mistaken for a boy by her new peers, she decides not to correct them and begins identifying as Michael. This is a warm, gentle film about universal issues of fitting in and being yourself.

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Whale Rider

CertPG

Age group7–16

Duration101 mins

Whale Rider(2002)

Tradition causes trouble in a family when a young Maori girl wants to take up what she believes is her rightful place at the head of her tribe.

Sometimes old-fashioned thinking and get in the way of people’s potential, even inadvertently. This glorious New Zealand drama about a young Maori girl believing in her destiny as head of her tribe is a wonderful example of building up confidence within yourself, particularly in the face of events you could never foresee and which have life-changing consequences.

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Akeelah and The Bee

CertPG

Age group7–14

Duration108 mins

Akeelah and The Bee(2006)

Inspiring and uplifting movie about an impoverished child who discovers an exceptional spelling talent.

Sometimes we can discover hidden talents we never knew we had. Struggling to believe in herself, 11 year-old Los Angeles based Akeelah finds her life transformed when she enters a national spelling bee competition. With the help of a mentor, Akeelah learns to overcome any embarrassment and increase her confidence, beginning to fit whilst remaining true to herself.

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Sounds Like Teen Spirit

CertPG

Age group7–16

Duration93 mins

Sounds Like Teen Spirit(2009)

One of the most entertaining documentaries in years, this follows the 10-15 year-old contestants in the Junior version of the Eurovision Song Contest.

This documentary focuses on the amazing spectacle of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest. Filled with the mixture of ego, insecurity and desire to beat the odds that drives most performers (and young people) on, the participants are inspiring, and might just encourage others to put pen to paper and write their own songs, as well as learning the value of healthy competition

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Snoopy and Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie

CertU

Age group5–11

Duration74 mins

Snoopy and Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie(2015)

Much-loved Charlie Brown attempts to navigate school life and falls in love with the new girl as Snoopy embarks upon an adventure of his own.

Charlie Brown is struggling to fit in at school, making one mistake after another. However life gets more complicated when a new girl arrives, whom Charlie is instantly smitten with. Based on the much-loved comics, this has universal messages around school, friendships and fitting in, making it ideal for any young viewer terrified at the prospect of starting something new.

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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.

Pixar’s masterpiece will strike a vivid emotional chord with anybody who has faced up to life in a new town, or a new school, or just dealing with the end of early childhood. Just about everybody then, as this animated exploration of emotional complexities and turmoil makes clear in brilliantly inventive, hilarious and poignant fashion.

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School of Rock

CertPG

Age group7–16

Duration105 mins

School of Rock(2003)

Vibrant, uplifting comedy in which an unemployed rock guitarist is faced with needing to get a job, and masquerades as a supply teacher.

Learning to adjust to new surroundings can be greatly helped by creativity, team work and increasing confidence, whatever our age. Through the creation of a ramshackle new band, a reluctant new supply teacher gets more than he bargained for when he tries to educate his new pupils about the joys of rock music.

Read more
When Marnie Was There

CertU

Age group7–14

Duration103 mins

When Marnie Was There(2014)

A shy girl sent to the country to recover from asthma discovers an abandoned mansion and begins to explore its mysteries with her new friend Marnie.

Anna is a shy, awkward 12 year-old struggling with anxiety and coming to terms with events from her past. When her concerned mother sends her to stay with relatives in the country, a friendship with a spirited girl her own age called Marnie might just be able to help her, in this beautiful, heartfelt and emotional swansong from Studio Ghibli.

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Pete's Dragon

CertPG

Age group7–14

Duration103 mins

Pete's Dragon(2016)

A live-action remake of the 1977 children’s classic which sees a boy living in a North American forest with his only friend: a big green dragon.

After a tragic car crash leaves him orphaned as a young boy, Pete lives in the forest for the next six years of his life with only a great big dragon for company. Despite their companionship and adventures, it’s time for Pete to make a big change in his life and let his friend go in this warm live-action remake of the classic family film.

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Wonder

CertPG

Age group7–14

Duration113 mins

Wonder(2017)

A young boy born with facial differences begins attending school for the first time.

August ‘Auggie’ Pullman has to contend with multiple changes in his life at the same time in this emotional, affecting drama, based on the New York Times bestseller. Born with facial differences which have so far prevented him from attending mainstream education, he begins to do so - despite his anxieties - with the support of his family and the friends he makes along the way.

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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.

Laure is a 10 year-old who has recently moved to the outskirts of Paris with her family. When she is mistaken for a boy by her new peers, she decides not to correct them and begins identifying as Michael. This is a warm, gentle film about universal issues of fitting in and being yourself.

Read more
Sounds Like Teen Spirit

CertPG

Age group7–16

Duration93 mins

Sounds Like Teen Spirit(2009)

One of the most entertaining documentaries in years, this follows the 10-15 year-old contestants in the Junior version of the Eurovision Song Contest.

This documentary focuses on the amazing spectacle of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest. Filled with the mixture of ego, insecurity and desire to beat the odds that drives most performers (and young people) on, the participants are inspiring, and might just encourage others to put pen to paper and write their own songs, as well as learning the value of healthy competition

Read more
The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Cert12

Age group11–16

Duration98 mins

The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)

The joys and heartbreaks of growing up are beautifully handled in this captivating coming-of-age story that balances emotion with humour.

This adaptation of the hugely popular YA novel focuses on events towards the end of school life, but remains equally relevant for those in lower age groups. Through the help of two free-spirited friends, social wallflower Charlie learns the values of friendship, personal expression and many more, stepping away from watching life on the sidelines.

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Clueless

Cert12A

Age group11+

Duration93 mins

Clueless(1995)

Jane Austen's comedy of manners Emma gets a valley girl update as Alicia Silverstone's so-not-an-airhead struggles with love and life.

When new girl Tai starts at Beverly Hills High School, she is delighted to find herself adopted by Cher, who defiantly rules the roost there. Similarly, Cher finds herself smitten with the dashing Christian, also new to the school. But all three soon realise that getting along in school is more complicated than trying to fit in based on other people’s misguided expectatio

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School of Rock

CertPG

Age group7–16

Duration105 mins

School of Rock(2003)

Vibrant, uplifting comedy in which an unemployed rock guitarist is faced with needing to get a job, and masquerades as a supply teacher.

Learning to adjust to new surroundings can be greatly helped by creativity, team work and increasing confidence, whatever our age. Through the creation of a ramshackle new band, a reluctant new supply teacher gets more than he bargained for when he tries to educate his new pupils about the joys of rock music.

Read more
When Marnie Was There

CertU

Age group7–14

Duration103 mins

When Marnie Was There(2014)

A shy girl sent to the country to recover from asthma discovers an abandoned mansion and begins to explore its mysteries with her new friend Marnie.

Anna is a shy, awkward 12 year-old struggling with anxiety and coming to terms with events from her past. When her concerned mother sends her to stay with relatives in the country, a friendship with a spirited girl her own age called Marnie might just be able to help her, in this beautiful, heartfelt and emotional swansong from Studio Ghibli.

Read more
Wonder

CertPG

Age group7–14

Duration113 mins

Wonder(2017)

A young boy born with facial differences begins attending school for the first time.

August ‘Auggie’ Pullman has to contend with multiple changes in his life at the same time in this emotional, affecting drama, based on the New York Times bestseller. Born with facial differences which have so far prevented him from attending mainstream education, he begins to do so - despite his anxieties - with the support of his family and the friends he makes along the way.

Read more
Lion

CertPG

Age group11+

Duration118 mins

Lion(2016)

Drama based on the true story of a young Indian boy who gets lost from his family and, many years later as an adult, retraces his steps to find them.

As a young boy, Saroo is separated from his older brother and ends up lost with no way of getting home. Transported to Calcutta, Saroo doesn’t know where to turn, but soon finds himself adopted by an Australian family. Despite his frightening new surroundings – a life very different to the one he once knew – he manages to adjust, without forgetting where he came from.

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My Life as a Courgette

CertPG

Age group11+

Duration66 mins

My Life as a Courgette(2016)

Touching and funny French animation about a little boy called Courgette who is taken into care.

After a tragic accident at home, 9 year-old Icare – affectionately known as Courgette – is sent to a foster home to live with other children of his age in this French Claymation. Since the other kids also have their own painful stories, Courgette initially finds it difficult to bond, but soon makes friends and constructs a positive future in this uplifting family film.

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The Breadwinner

Cert12A

Age group11+

Duration93 mins

The Breadwinner(2017)

Afghanistan-set animation in which a young girl disguises herself as a boy to provide for her family after her father is unjustly arrested.

11 year-old Afghan girl Parvana must adjust to her new role in the family after her father is unjustly arrested and imprisoned by the Taliban in Kabul, 2001. She cunningly decides to disguise herself as a boy so that she can continue to provide for her mother and siblings in her father’s stead, bringing home food and water while also attempting to set him free.

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Lean on Pete

Cert15

Age group16+

Duration122 mins

Lean on Pete(2017)

A teenager finds work at a local racetrack caring for one of the older horses, and the two embark on a lifechanging journey together.

Charley is a lonely 15 year-old who is constantly adapting to new surroundings, moving from one place to another in the American Northwest with his father. Together they arrive in Portland, Oregon where the teenager strikes up a close bond with racehorse Pete and, after learning that it’s set for slaughter, embarks on a coming-of-age adventure across the frontier with him.

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Lady Bird

Cert15

Age group16+

Duration94 mins

Lady Bird(2017)

Coming of age film focusing on the prickly relationship between a 17-year-old girl and her mother in Sacramento, California.

Greta Gerwig’s semi-autobiographical tale of growing up finds its titular protagonist caught between adolescence and adulthood. The 17 year-old tackles some of teenage life’s biggest challenges over the course of a single year in the film’s narrative, from falling out with her best friend to her first sexual experience, as well as applying for college and leaving town.

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