5 Children’s Movies to Stream Now


Watch it on Disney+.

In 2020, Anthony Madu’s dance teacher in Lagos, Nigeria, posted a video of the then 11-year-old student gracefully pirouetting and pulling off grand jetés barefoot in the rain. The video went viral, which led to Anthony receiving a scholarship to study at the prestigious Elmhurst Ballet School in England for seven years. This Disney documentary follows Anthony’s journey as he leaves his family to pursue his dream of becoming a professional dancer.

The filmmakers Matt Ogens (his 2021 documentary short, “Audible,” was an Oscar nominee) and Joel ‘Kachi Benson beautifully capture the mixture of sorrow and pride that Anthony’s mother feels as he leaves his home country, and they balance the raw, emotional moments with lyrical scenes that show Anthony dancing in front of a bonfire at night or leaping through the streets of Lagos as if he were onstage at the Royal Opera House. Older children who identify with Anthony’s drive in the face of bullying (a girl at recess in Nigeria asks, “Why is he dancing like a girl?”) and setbacks (he faces a health issue once he gets to Elmhurst) should find plenty to connect with here. It’s an uplifting story about sacrificing for your passion that doesn’t gloss over truly tough moments.

‘The Casagrandes Movie’

Watch it on Netflix.

It all starts 800 years ago in Mexico. A shape-shifting tween demigod with attitude named Punguari (Paulina Chávez) is determined to become a full god at last. After all, she just turned 12,000 years old. She’s ready! Punguari’s parents don’t agree, so they trap her inside of a mountain to keep her from losing control. Cut to present day, and it’s Ronnie Anne Santiago’s 12th birthday. Ronnie Anne (Izabella Alvarez) is ready for her “Summer of 12,” which to her means doing whatever she wants — like skateboarding and going to a theme park with rides named The Whiplash and The Spleen Splitter.

Instead, her mom takes her to Mexico for the summer, to the family home in Michoacán, where Ronnie Anne accidentally unleashes Punguari. An epic adventure ensues. Based on the TV series “The Casagrandes” (which was a spinoff of Nickelodeon’s “The Loud House”), the movie features bright pops of neon, plenty of action, and a classic mother-daughter tale: girl rebels against her mom, but comes to realize that maybe her mom knows what she’s talking about. Miguel Puga (who developed the series with Michael Rubiner) directs based on a script by Tony Gama-Lobo, Rebecca May, Rosemary Contreras and Lalo Alcaraz.

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