9+ Films to Help Teach Honesty
The recent Volkswagen emissions scandal, accounts of financial fraud and even cheating on the sports fields have left people wondering if there is anyone they can trust. And for parents, these poor examples may make it even more difficult to teach their children the importance of honesty.
In their book, Positive Psychology at the Movies 2, authors Ryan Niemiec and Danny Wedding write, “It is critical for children and young adolescents to learn the values of honesty and authenticity at an early age…Movies provide a wonderful opportunity for healthy role modeling of characters that embody or grow in these strengths despite temptations.”
While there are plenty of movies that depict dishonesty (Big Fat Liar, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, The Invention of Lying are a few titles that come to mind), there are film characters that either portray honesty or learn the importance of it.
Little Secrets A girl with a talent for keeping secrets but when a friend shares a private family matter with her, she has to re-define when a secret is a secret and when it is something that needs to be shared.
A Man for All Seasons Integrity and honesty are two words synonymous with Sir Thomas Moore. When King Henry VIII decides to divorce his wife, he needs the church’s approval. Bu Moore refuses to succumb to either bribes or attacks.
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington James Stewart plays an honest politician caught up in the crooked world of politics. It is only after he arrives in Washington that Stewart’s character realizes he has been set up. But he refuses to sacrifice his honesty and integrity even if it costs him his political career.
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory Charley lives in an impoverished home with his mother and bed-ridden grandparents. Then he wins a chance to tour the local candy factory. However his honesty is tested when a stranger offers him financial security forever if he will only smuggle out one of the candy company’s secret recipes.
Nanny McPhee A family of rambunctious children is in need of a guiding hand that can teach them the importance of obedience and honesty. Emma Thompson plays the homely nanny who shows up on their doorstep and quietly teaches the children about telling the truth and being kind.
Win Win Paul Giamatti plays a small town lawyer and part-time high school wrestling coach who finds himself in a financial struggle. He justifies taking on the care of an elderly man even though he has no intention of doing so in order to get a monthly stipend. But his dishonest choice costs him in the eyes of his family and his career until he confesses and changes.
Les Miserables In this 19th century story, an ex-con who has rebuilt his life under a new name is faced with a dilemma when he discovers another man is on trial for his past crimes. After much heartbreaking deliberation, he decides to put his own life in jeopardy by confessing his identity.
Aladdin and the King of Thieves This direct-to-video may lack the production quality original Aladdin but it addresses an important issue when Aladdin has to choose between protecting his criminal father or coming clean about his past to his future father-in-law.
Courageous The importance of fathers is the theme of this moving movie but honesty is an integral part of fatherhood. One unemployed father is finally offered a job, on condition that he falsify some company records. Although he needs the job, Javier refuses to submit false numbers and discovers the request was a test of his integrity.
Some other films you may want to consider are: