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Though some schools are starting to re-open in England, many students still find themselves at home in these uncertain times. To bridge the gap, the latest in our series of articles on films to stream at home focuses on Music Day, the annual international celebration of music that will be occurring this year on Sunday 21 June.
Music is one of the world's most popular forms of art, entertainment and self-expression, constantly changing and re-inventing itself to both effect and mirror social and artistic change around the world. Whilst we have been adapting to a new way of life over the last few months, music has been a constant source of comfort and a reminder of the wider world. All titles are available to stream online and Into Film Clubs can order them through our DVD distribution service, which has now resumed.
The ten examples below offer a diverse and exciting perspective on the way we all use music to enhance our lives and understanding of the world, exploring a wealth of relevant themes.
Note: While most streaming platforms require a paid subscription or one-off rental fee, many offer a free trial that you can make use of. In addition, our recommendations will always include at least one title which is available on a free-to-watch platform.
If you wish to find out the complete details of where any given title is available to watch or purchase, please visit FindAnyFilm
This beautifully animated and elegant story - inspired by the Mexican holiday, the Day of the Dead - follows Miguel, an aspiring musician whose family have implemented an ancestral ban on music. Determined to find out the cause of this strange decision, he travels to the Land of the Dead to meet his great-great grandfather and, accompanied by his hairless dog Dante and his trusty guitar, learns important truths about love, loss and music.
12-year-old Miguel finds himself transported to the Land of the Dead and must find a way to return to the real world before it’s too late.
Age group7–14 years
One of the most vibrant and electric comedies of the last twenty years, School of Rock is a testament to the passion and power behind Rock & Roll and its ability to bring people together. After being kicked out of his rock band, layabout Dewy Finn becomes a substitute teacher of a posh elementary school and begins to put a band together using the talented children in his class. More than anything, School of Rock shows us how music can teach us about understanding others.
Music is a big part of life all over the world, but especially so in Ireland, where it has played a huge role in shaping the culture and mythology of this ancient country. Song of the Sea, an international co-production, delves into this musical history, following a 10-year old Irish boy who discovers his mute sister is a mythological creature. A unique and gorgeous animation that also focuses on family and growing up.
A beautiful and touching animation based on an Irish folktale about a little girl who turns into a selkie.
Age group5–11 years
A film guide that looks at Song of the Sea (2014), exploring its key topics and themes through informal discussion.
Annie is the rare example of a musical which has appeal for all ages and has also stood the test of time. The fiery haired orphan has become an icon for staying upbeat and optimistic in the face of desperation and this version of her story is full of well-known, sumptuously produced song-and-dance numbers such as It's a Hard Knock Life and the heartbreaking Tomorrow. An updated, more contemporary version was produced in 2014.
Big screen adaptation of the hit Broadway musical, including a few new songs to the heartwarming tale of little orphan Annie trying to find happiness.
Age group5–11 years
One of the most celebrated musicals of all time, Singin' in the Rain is an excellent way to get young people interested in Hollywood, film history and music all at the same time. Containing such iconic sequences as the splashy title song as well as the incomparable Make ‘em Laugh, the story follows the lives and careers of two musical artists during the time film was switching over from silent to sound, and has become an all-time classic.
Widely considered the best musical ever made, this tribute to Hollywood is about an actress who can't sing trying to move into sound films.
Age groupAll ages
What would a Music Day list be without the inclusion of a Bollywood classic? Kal Ho Naa Ho (translated as Tomorrow Never Come) is a great example of how important music and dancing is to the Indian film industry, telling the story of a woman who falls in love with a terminally ill man, only for him to attempt to set her up with her best friend before he passes away. For anyone new to exploring Bollywood, this film is wonderful primer to this extravagant world of musical expression and heartbreak.
Amy Winehouse, one of the most talented musicians of her generation, sadly became a tragic figure when she passed away in 2011. This brilliantly edited and intimate documentary explores the effects that the media had on Amy's life and how the music industry both embraced her and destroyed her, as well as celebrating the incredible bluesy, jazzy pop music she managed to create during her all-too-short life. Exploring the darker side of music, Amy is nevertheless essential viewing for anyone wanting to understand this complicated artist.
Archive footage is used to tell the life and career of iconic soul singer Amy Winehouse.
Age group14+ years
A film guide that looks at Amy (2015), exploring its key topics and themes through informal discussion.
Arguably the most famous musical to emerge out of the 2010s (The Greatest Showman being its closest competitor), La La Land is a love letter to Hollywood both past and present, following a young actress and a jazz musician who fall in love after meeting in Tinseltown. With its perfectly choreographed dance numbers and charismatic performances from its two leads, this is a film that celebrates musicality and the deep emotions that it can conjure up.
A sentimental, dreamlike musical which sees two aspiring artists attempt to make it in Hollywood amidst a whirlwind romance.
Age group11+ years
One of the breakout successes of the last few years, Wild Rose is a powerful and energetic tale of a young woman from Scotland who, after being released from prison, returns home with dreams of becoming a country star. With two children to look after, Rose must balance her love for country music with her responsibilities as a mother. The intoxicating final scene in this film buzzes with the kind of energy that only music can produce.
A young woman struggles to balance the responsibilities of motherhood with her dream of becoming a country singer.
Age group14+ years
A massive hit in its native France, The Belier Family tells the story of Paula, a sixteen-year-old girl who is an essential part of her family, acting as an interpreter for her deaf brother and parents as they run the family farm. When her talent for singing is discovered, she is faced with the impossible proposition of breaking out of her home life to build a music career for herself in this sweet and inclusive comedy that asks the question of how important music is to each and every one of us.
French comedy about a girl with an amazing singing voice who, in order to pursue her talents, must move away from her deaf parents who rely on her.
Age group11+ years
A film list that celebrates the power of music to express identity and bring people together.
Suitable forAll ages
No. of films23
We've put together a list of uplifting, feel-good films that you can stream at home to help provide some joy, comfort and escapism during these uncertain times.
Reading time 7 mins
Check out our regularly updated recommendations for entertaining and educationally valuable films airing on TV to keep young people of all ages engaged at home.
Reading time 7 mins
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