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5 films you should take your youth group to see this year

Chris Curtis

23 Sept, 2021


Cinemas are very much open again – so why not take the opportunity for a youth group movie and discussion night?


1. The Boss Baby: Family Business

UK release: October 2021

The original Boss Baby was a global success to the tune of half a billion in worldwide box office and an Oscar nomination for Dreamworks. This time round the original Boss Baby is an adult with children of his own and has become estranged from his younger brother, now a high-powered businessman. Lessons about family and priorities will be learned in a plot which, whilst being fairly predictable, still has plenty of the lines and laughs that made the original so appealing. This isn’t Shakespeare (see below if you want that), but it’s safe animated fun and an easy way back to the cinema for an autumn outing.

  • Age group: Younger teens
  • Likely youth group feedback: 3/5
  • Potential for useful teaching points: 2/5

2. West Side Story

UK release: December 2021

Steven Spielberg is remaking ‘West Side Story’. STEVEN SPEILBERG IS REMAKING WEST SIDE STORY! The 1960’s musical sets the love story of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet against a backdrop of gang culture in 1950s New York. The role of Maria is played by Rachel Zegler, a 19-year-old newcomer from New Jersey, who answered Spielberg's open casting call with videos of herself singing beating more than 30,000 others for the part. The rest of the cast is also made up of Latinx actors. Youth leaders will have a field day with all the themes bursting out of this classic story that touch of love, sacrifice, rivalry and so much more. Plus songs!

  • Age group: All ages
  • Likely youth group feedback: 4/5
  • Potential for useful teaching points: 4/5

3. The Matrix: Resurrections

UK release: December 2021

Eighteen years after the Matrix trilogy ended with deeply polarised views on the merits of the second and third instalments, Lana Wachowski is giving us a fourth film, The Matrix: Resurrections. Little is known about the plot. Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss are back, though quite how we don’t know, with Jessica Henwick from Game of Thrones also co-starring. Youth workers old enough to remember the first Matrix film will remember the mind-bending discussions about reality and illusion that the film provoked. Take the blue pill… take the red pill… it’s your choice. If Resurrections is anything close to as gripping as that first film, expect an enthralling action thriller with plenty of material for the youth group to debate in the following weeks.

  • Age group: Older teens, depending on BBFC classification
  • Likely youth group feedback: 3/5
  • Potential for useful teaching points: 4/5

4. Spider-Man: No Way Home

UK release: December 2021

Whilst Marvel fans wait patiently for the summer 2022 release of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, there are, of course, plenty of other Marvel films coming off the production line. My pick is Spider-Man: No Way Home. What makes this interesting is that for the first time in the cinematic history of Spider-Man, our friendly neighbourhood hero is unmasked and no longer able to separate his normal life from the high stakes of being a superhero. Enter Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange offering Tom Holland’s Peter Parker help – of sorts. The first trailer for this much-hyped movie also offered tantalising glimpses of beloved characters returning from previous, non-Tom Holland Spidey movies… So, expect nostalgia, MCU crossovers, and a classic action movie to keep your teenage youth group engaged.

  • Age group: All
  • Likely youth group feedback: 4/5
  • Potential for useful teaching points: 2/5

5. Turning Red

UK release: March 2022

The first of two Pixar offerings in 2022 hits the UK in March and it’s all about the stresses and strains of growing up. Set in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, in Turning Red, Mei Lee is a confident, thirteen-year-old torn between being her mother's obedient daughter and the turmoil of adolescence. And as if changes to her interests, relationships, and body weren't enough, whenever she gets too excited she "poofs" into a giant red panda! This is youth group gold: fun to watch for older teenagers as well as younger ones, and full of the kinds of themes that will keep you talking in the weeks that follow. Further off in the youth group calendar but one to keep an eye out for.

Age group: All

Likely youth group feedback: 4/5

Potential for useful teaching points: 5/5

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