When Upside down Released in theaters in 2015, it received both critical and audience acclaim – far more than you would expect for an animated film. Corn Upside down offered something on the surface that most animated films simply don’t bring to the table (at least not without a deeper look): an exploration of complicated emotions. As a parent, it’s impossible not to have your eyes watered while watching the movie with your kids or even just thinking about how important an animated film is that addresses such complex feelings for toddlers. So really, we don’t blame you at all for wanting to find all the movies like Upside down to add to your family movie night list.
In case it’s been a minute since you’ve seen this gem, the film follows 11-year-old Riley just after she and her family move across the country. For anyone who raised a tween or a teenager, you know their emotions take tumultuous turns – sometimes seemingly by the minute. Add to that a big move and difficulties at Dad’s job, and you have a child experiencing deep and confusing emotions for the first time.
Take, for example, Riley’s initial decision to run away (fueled by anger, mostly), her change of heart (fueled by sadness at missing her family), and the moment she reunites with her parents. . She is happy to be with her parents again and feels loved as they embrace her. However, that doesn’t take away from the anger and pain she felt before her return. What Upside down covers in this big moment is how a person can feel more than one thing at once – and that growing up means learning to juggle those emotions when they all pour out on you at once.
While no film has taken such a literal look at complicated emotions as Upside down, a slew of excellent movies continue to deal with these “great feelings.” Here are some of our favorites.
movies like Upside down It will stir up your emotions
1. Forward (2020)
If you haven’t watched Forward, you honestly miss. Little kids will enjoy the bright colors and fun adventures, but the real depth comes from a family’s attempts to deal with the grief of losing a loved one. It’s captivating and beautiful but, beware, it’s also totally heartbreaking.
2. Big Hero 6 (2014)
Big Hero 6, at times, barely looks like a Disney movie. It takes place in “San Fransokyo”, a city that looks a lot like San Francisco and Tokyo. Add in the robots and major fight scenes, and the anime’s influence is incredibly undeniable. But side action, Big Hero 6 is so much more. Similar to Forward, BH6 deals with death and the grieving process that follows. You’ll also see a young genius learn to harness his anger in big moments and eventually learn to forgive.
3. Finding Dory (2016)
Yes, it’s a sequel – and it won’t be the only one on our list. Sequels can often tackle larger themes and more difficult emotions, thanks to the introduction of its story and characters in the first film. Finding Dory is an excellent example of this fact. The world of Nemo was brilliant and indeed contained many emotional moments. Corn Dory’The overarching themes of memories, loneliness, and creating your own family are much thicker and richer than its predecessor.
4. toy story 2 (1999)
Let’s face it: any of the movies in the toy story franchise could fit here. They all do an amazing job of tapping into big emotions. However, toy story 2 pulls the hardest on our sensitive cords. No other moment from a movie soundtrack could bring us to tears quite like Sarah McLachlan’s “When She Loved Me.” When we hear the song, even as adults, we think of our trusty stuffed animals in boxes and feel a pang of guilt. Most humans in toy story don’t seem to register such exaggerated emotions. Instead, you have to deal with them through the eyes of the toys…and it might actually be worse.
5. My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
We step away from Disney/Pixar for a moment to talk about this cult favorite from Studio Ghibli, My Neighbor Totoro. Totoro is a Kami, a Japanese forest spirit, whom two young sisters meet while exploring the woods. Totoro is a giant, fluffy cat-like creature who guides them, and while they’re in his presence, we see the little girls experience the full joys of youth. My Neighbor Totoro is also a film about loneliness and displacement, essential emotions for children to understand.
6. Frozen II (2019)
This movie is – fair and square – about accepting who you think you’re meant to be, even if no one understands. It’s such a difficult lesson for people of all ages, but Elsa does it with grace and courage. Why? Because she believed that following her instincts would save her people. Doing the right thing is never easy, but Elsa always does it.
More emotionally complex animated films like Upside down
- The Good Dinosaur (2015)
- At the top (2009)
- House (2015)
- Soul (2020)
- coconut (2017)
- Brave (2012)
- Brother Bear (2003)
- Wall-E (2008)
- The land before time (1988)
- The Lorax (2012)
- above the moon (2020)
- The iron giant (1999)
- The little Prince (2015)
- Arrietty’s Secret World (2010)
- Lilo & Stitch (2002)
- An American tail (1986)
- Meet the Robinsons (2007)
- The Tale of Princess Kaguya (2013)
- Christopher Robin (2018)
- Lucas (2021)
- All dogs go to heaven (1989)
- James and the giant peach (1996)
- The fox and the hunting dog (nineteen eighty one)
- Ponyo (2008)
- Rise of the Guardians (2012)
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