I've been reading lately about the Christian film industry. I think it’s important to distinguish between “family films” and specifically “Christian films” as genres. . . As for definitions, I’d say “family films” are films that
- I could take the kids, my parents, AND my grandparents to
- All of us would enjoy and
- I wouldn’t be embarrassed or have to walk out.
(Thus, the FAMILY could watch and enjoy)
“Christian films” - by my own definition - are OFTEN a subset of “family films” (but not always). They’re films that present a Biblical worldview, meaning (among other things):
- absolute truth exists
- Biblical morality is shown as the norm; immorality is shown as out-of-the-norm (Right is right and wrong is wrong. Where “gray areas” exist, they’re shown to be less than the best)
- ultimately, evil is punished and good is rewarded - or at the very least, evil doesn’t win out at the end
- sin has consequences (People are hurt, lives are sometimes shattered, people may die - as a result of sinful decisions & actions. Sometimes people are hurt through no fault of their own).
- the traditional family structure is seen as important (Although sometimes divorce is a reality, it’s not shown as the easiest, quickest, best solution to marital problems)
- authority figures are respected & obeyed by the “good guys” (For example, laws aren’t broken by the good guys in an “end justifies the means” mentality)
- the story is one of redemption (defined very broadly)
There’s probably more that could be said on this; I'll need to think through it more.
I’d say that all family films could be watched & enjoyed by Christians but not all Christian films could be watched & enjoyed by all families. In fact, some families would be thoroughly offended by anything that was distinctly Christian. After all, there are devout Muslim and Hindu and secular families who watch films; they’d probably be offended by “Fireproof” or “Facing the Giants” - but they could watch “Leave Me” (a GREAT 4.5 minute film with a theme of love and commitment) or “The Butterfly Circus” (a GREAT 20-minute film with a theme of hope) and enjoy them - or at least not be offended.