The Best Indie Movies and Documentaries To Watch with Teens, Family

the best indie movies and documentaries teens family

Read on to discover the Best Indie Movies and Documentaries to Watch with Teens.

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You’ll Love Watching Indie Movies and Documentaries with Your Teenagers or Family

I love to watch independent films and documentaries. I especially love to watch them with my teens, who are at the stage in life where they are figuring themselves out. And, of course, they’re also figuring out the world around them.

If you’re looking for something good to watch this weekend with your teens or family, check out this list of the best indie movies and documentaries to watch with teens.

How to Determine Whether a Movie is Suitable for Teens

I’m one of those no sugar coating anything kind of moms. My kids and I talk about pretty much everything.

But that doesn’t mean I’m not careful when it comes to television. What kids watch on television (or online) can stick in their heads, sometimes forever. I know. I still remember some vivid scenes from some really freaky movies when I was young.

Teachable Films and Documentaries

But as kids get older, I think there is a need to strike a balance in giving them opportunities to watch films that deal with tough, edgy, or controversial content and protecting them. There’s a lot kids can learn from films, especially indie films and documentaries.

One of the things I love about worldschooling my kids is that they have grown up exposed to some pretty cool independent cinemas, film festivals, and theaters. The worldschooling, homeschooling, travel lifestyle has offered my kids the opportunity to see the first showing of some cool films and documentaries, like Screenagers when it debuted in New York City.

And of course, Netflix, Amazon, and YouTube have delivered some entertaining and educational films right to them at home, in coffee shops, and on trains, buses, airports, and planes.

However, if you’re not the hey, kids go ahead and watch anything type of parent, or want to know what others think of them before you dive in, I recommend checking out Common Sense Media. This website offers age-based reviews of movies. These reviews give parents movie content details that might be missing in other mainstream reviews. Common Sense Media Reviews note whether positive messages, language, violence, drinking, smoking, or drugs appear in a movie.

Watch These Films: The Best Indie Movies and Documentaries To Watch with Teens or Family

Without saying more, here are some of the best indie movies and documentaries to watch with your teen or family this weekend.

The Best Independent Movies and Documentaries to Watch with Teens

1. Mid-90s.

2018. This coming of age film follows an American teenager and his skateboarder friends growing up in the 90s. Parents will find elements of this film like a walk down memory lane. Teens will take away some important messages and themes, including seeing how much (or how little) has changed in a couple of decades.

2. Screenagers.

2016. I took my kids to see Screenagers in downtown Manhattan when it debuted in New York City. I was glad I did. It is a film that offers a glimpse into the lives of kids and families growing up in the digital age.

3. Rocks.

2019. Rocks is a touching, life-changing British film about a teenager who is left to take care of her little brother in East London. The film appeared at the Toronto Film Festival. My teens and I were fortunate to see a showing of this film in a theater in Europe–and it left me wanting to hug my babies a little tighter afterwards.

4. The Way.

2016. The Way is one of those life-changing movies about a father who traces his son’s steps on the popular pilgrimage walking route, The Camino de Santiago, which goes from France to Spain. This movie may inspire you or your teens to travel, as it did for my family.

5. Lil’ Buck Real Swan.

2019. Lil’ Buck Swan’s story as a powerful dancer out of Memphis will inspire teens to push toward their dreams. My teens and I saw this film in a theater in France. It was a reminder that it doesn’t matter where you’re from or from what circumstances you come out of–you can rise to achieve remarkable things.

lil buck swan movie teens Memphis dance

6. Never Rarely Sometimes Always.

(2020). An Independent Cinema film that tackles the difficulties of a teenager growing up in a small town, with little support, and facing an unexpected pregnancy and termination. My teen and I loved this movie and its realities. A very timely and relevant watch for current political times, regardless of your stance.

7. Food, Inc.

2009. This documentary takes a good look into America’s food industry. Eye opening and your teens will surely have something to think about after watching it.

8. Expedition Happiness.

2017. Wondering what it would be like to live in a bus (or RV, or motorhome) full-time and travel around North America? The couple in this movie gives you a glimpse of the life.

Drop a comment below if you’ve watched these films or documentaries, and/or leave your thoughts on best indie movies and documentaries to watch with your teen or family.

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