November 8th is STEM Day, and we'll be celebrating the same way we celebrate every holiday--by watching movies! Yes, there is an entire day devoted to promoting the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, and yes, we have a ton of movie recommendations to commemorate the day. STEM Day was developed as a way to promote the sciences to younger audiences to encourage diversity in the field. So, as much as we enjoyed Oppenheimer, we're going to keep this list a bit more low-key. Keep reading for our family-friendly STEM-inspired movie recommendations!
1) Hidden Figures
Our first STEM-inspired movie recommendation would have to be Hidden Figures, released in 2016. Directed by Theodore Melfi, this film is based on a work of nonfiction written by Margot Lee Shetterly. The story follows Katherine Goble Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson, who were all African-American women working for NASA during the Space Race. We love this film because the story is crafted to assert that, regardless of gender or race, anyone can be highly skilled in the sciences. The film shows the blatant discrimination faced by its protagonists, as well as their triumphant journey of resistance and survival. Hidden Figures is rated PG and even has a 93% rating on the Tomatometer, making it a great film choice for a wide variety of audiences.
2) Big Hero 6
For our next recommendation, we wanted to go for something a little fantastical. Big Hero 6 was Disney's first animated film to feature Marvel characters, and we personally think they nailed it. Released in 2014, the film was directed by Don Hall and Chris Williams. The story follows a 14-year-old engineering prodigy Hiro and a robot made by his brother. Throughout the journey, Hiro learns of the different ways he can use his gift with technology, ultimately choosing to use his skills to help others. Along the way, we are joined by Hiro's friends--a group of boys and girls who come from diverse backgrounds and are all incredibly smart. We love this film because of how empowering it is, especially for younger audiences. Big Hero 6 is rated PG with a 90% on the Tomatometer, meaning it's another solid recommendation for many audiences.
3) Dream Big: Engineering Our World
Although this film is significantly less known, we had to include it on our STEM-inspired movies list. Dream Big: Engineering Our World is a 40-minute documentary that was released in 2016. The film showcases real stories of real engineers that bring humanity, compassion, grit, and diversity to a field that is stereotypically cold, flat, and homogenous. We love this film because it's real, it's raw, and it's incredibly captivating. Dream Big has a 100% on the Tomatometer and rave critic reviews. To quote Linda Barnard of The Toronto Star, the doc "is an uncomplicated look at a complicated subject that gets information across without talking down to its predominantly young audience." While there is no MPAA rating, the the movie was made to be accessible for all audiences and can resonate with all ages.
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