I loved "Inside Out" as much as the next person. Scratch that. I'm obsessed with it, so I loved it MORE than the next person. But yesterday I had the privilege of attending a Mamarazzi screening of Salma Hayek's new animated film "The Prophet" (in theaters in New York and Los Angeles today) and I felt a different sort of mind-opening.
Parents, take your children to see this film. (And then don't forget you should also pay attention.)
Based on Lebanese poet Kahlil Gibran's book of the same name, the movie is an illustrated exploration of philosophical poems "On Freedom," "On Love" weaved into the larger story about the artist Mustafa as he is being exiled due to his ideals. It struck me as kind of grownup Baby Mozart—each poem recited to stunning visuals, beautiful music, with the added benefit of messages about the human spirit. Hayek's goal is to have kids connect with themselves in a way they are not used to. I know it might sound crunchy or hippy, but it's actually a brilliant idea.
"It's working [children's] brains in a new way because they cannot expect what is coming next," said Hayek. "Kids are programmed to see the same kind of materials where they already know how they're going to feel. There's a bad guy. There's a good guy. 'I like it.' 'I don't like it.' But life is not so simple. This movie makes them feel things they're not used to."
In a world that changes at such a high-speed pace, the ability to think outside the box is the new black. Everyone wants his or her child to be creative and innovative and groundbreaking. But how? "We need a new generation that goes into the unknown and finds solutions that we have not seen or heard," said Hayek. "But the first thing is to connect with themselves." And kids are sophisticated enough to think deeper than we often believe.
The movie isn't going to put you on the edge of your seat. It's not 'laugh-out-loud fun for the whole fam,' but some aspect will resonate with you and your child. Something about it will make you think in a new way. That is a great way to spend screen time if I ever heard of it.
Ruthie Fierberg is an editorial assistant at Parents. Though she does not have children of her own, she's practically been raising kids since her first babysitting job at age 11. She is also our resident theater aficionado and has interviewed over 40 celeb parents. Follow her on Twitter @RuthiesATrain.