2015 Plugged In Movie Awards: Best Movie for Teens

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All this week we’re announcing the nominees for the Plugged In Movie Awards in the categories of Best Movie for KidsBest Movie for TeensBest Movie for Adults and Best Christian Movie.

These films represent what we consider to be the best of what got released in 2014, and not just artistically speaking, but morally and content-wise, too. Our selection isn’t a stamp of approval, of course, so link to our full reviews and read them carefully before deciding to see anything we’ve listed here.

In February we’ll pick our winners. But you can do it right now! To voice your thoughts and vote for your favorite nominee for the Reader’s Choice award in each category, post a comment on this blog or on our Facebook page.

BEST MOVIE FOR TEENS (NOMINEES)

PIMA-2015-Teens-Giver-blogThe Giver (PG-13): Emotions. Who needs ’em? That’s what the leaders of a deceptively utopian society apparently said one day. Believing that strong emotions are more trouble than they’re worth, they banished passion in favor of a more regulated society. Only one person—The Receiver of Memory—has felt all the world’s long-forgotten loves and hates. Now the time has come to install a new Receiver—the teen Jonas. But as Jonas begins to experience the culture’s collective joys and sorrows, he begins to realize how much society has lost. The Giver, based on the bestselling book by Lois Lowry, is a powerful rumination on our sometimes inconvenient feelings—how they can make life so much harder but also so much better. Along the way, it encourages us to always do what’s right.

PIMA-2015-Teens-Hunger-Games-3-blogThe Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (PG-13): Katniss Everdeen isn’t playing a game anymore. No, it’s all-out war now, with President Snow’s fascist Capitol on one side and the austere residents of District 13, led by the enigmatic President Coin, on the other. Katniss, long an unwitting symbol of the rebellion, is now being asked to take on a more active and conscious role. But while she hates Snow and would love to make the world better, her prime concern is Peeta—her in-game partner and on-camera lover—whom the Capitol holds captive and is using as a pawn. Mockingjay – Part 1 is the cleanest of The Hunger Game movies, with no language and surprisingly little violence. It’s also the darkest, but perhaps rightly so. There is no glory in war here, no promise of a happy ending. Only an evil that needs to be eradicated, no matter the cost.

PIMA-2015-Teens-Belle-blogBelle (PG): What’s the value of a human life? That’s the question at the heart of Belle, the inspiring story of a privileged  half-black, half-white heiress in 18th-century England who influences a landmark court case about whether slaves can be insured as cargo. Belle shares cinematic DNA with traditional period-piece dramas such as Pride & Prejudice. But there’s more going on here than the typical speculation regarding who Belle will wed. The film’s romantic subplot is secondary to its main focus on themes of justice, treating all men and women with respect, and making right choices.

PIMA-2015-Teens-Hobbit-3-blogThe Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (PG-13): Director Peter Jackson has taken flak for adapting The Hobbit into three films and for infusing them with myriad narrative additions nowhere to be seen in J.R.R. Tolkien’s beloved fantasy novel. But those who can set aside such grievances are rewarded here with a rollicking, heroic conclusion—albeit one in which many orcs fail to finish the film with their heads attached. More than just another mindless CGI spectacle, The Battle of the Five Armies offers substantive reflections on the soul-crippling danger of avarice. We see how the love of stuff (in this case dragon-corrupted gold) can corrode our souls if we fail to get a grip on our greed.

PIMA-2015-Teens-Maleficent-blogMaleficent (PG): Disney’s ultimate bad girl gets a 21st-century makeover thanks to Angelina Jolie. Here, the self-proclaimed “mistress of all evil” is more victim than villain. When a childhood friend steals her wings, Maleficent, in her hurt, grows bitter and hateful—eventually casting her infamous curse on the sweet, innocent Aurora. But when circumstances bring the cursed and curser together, Maleficent regrets her evil turn—and risks everything to set things aright. Some may be upset by the black-hearted Maleficent turning white. (Since that would seem to create gray.) But the movie ultimately shows that the healing power of grace, forgiveness and love can reach into the very darkest of souls.

Movie Nights discussion guides are available for The Giver, Belle, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies and Maleficent.

 Movie summaries written by Plugged In reviewers Paul Asay and Adam Holz.

Who wrote this?

Steven Isaac served as editor for Plugged In’s NRB- and EPA-award-winning website for more than a decade, orchestrating, managing, scheduling, shaping and tweaking at least 750 reviews and articles annually. He’s a husband and a father of a teenager.


Have something to say? Leave a comment.

Megan Wanger More than 1 year ago
This is amazing movie and will smith is mine one of favorite from which i his Men in Black series most and hope this movie will also be good 1 and i really want to enjoy this by Watch Focus Online.
http://unlimitedanimationmovies.com/focus-ii-2015.html
Michelle Heumann More than 1 year ago
I saw Mockingjay, Belle, and the Hobbit and liked them all, but I think for this I'd go with Belle!
GordonRoedding More than 1 year ago
The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies - Huge spectacle, final trip by Peter Jackson to Middle Earth, and positive messages are the influencers here. However I do agree that the expansion of the book pretty well buried its whimsy in an avalanche of darker mythic elements. It's there, kind of, just highly diluted.
Billie Jean Allbritton More than 1 year ago
I can't find a review of the upcoming movie, Pass the Light.  Although it seems to have a positive message, the trailer left me a bit troubled about subtle meta messages that are anything but.  Would like to hear what a pro critic and Christian thinks.  Thanks!
Charity Bishop More than 1 year ago
Belle.

But since few have seen it, The Hobbit.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is my vote. Where is Captain America The Winter Soldier?

Rebecca Rose More than 1 year ago
The Giver! It was so inspiring and became one of my favourite movies! It has a really good message.
Brionna Wheaton More than 1 year ago
Hunger Games - Mockingjay!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My vote is a write-in for Captain America 2. Maybe if enough of us say we would have voted for it it'll get put on this short-list. Get Maleficent outta there!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Totally. Captain America 2 should be on there.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Maleficent was pure feminist propaganda and followed the tired trope of creating sympathetic villains with Backstory. I can hear the scraping sounds on the bottom of this barrel. 
Andrew Miller More than 1 year ago
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It wasn't nominated, but I'll put "When the EGame Stands Tall." That's my vote.
Caleb Milbrath More than 1 year ago
The Hobbit Battle of the Five Armies has my vote!
Jonathan Langford More than 1 year ago
Gotta go with a write in vote for Guardians of the Galaxy! The Hobbit was terrible and all I could think of while watching Mockingjay part 1 was how amazing part 2 would be
dasibertauthor More than 1 year ago
No Fault In Our Stars? That movie (story, actually) was a fantastic exploration into the teenage mind, to say nothing of the horrors of cancer. Ah, well. Of this bunch I'm withholding comment until I see 'Belle' which looks fantastic. Hobbit was nothing special (decent, but not great) and the Giver (LOVE the book), Maleficent, and Mockingjay are in its general category...decent movies but none of them great.
I'm actually really looking forward to seeing 'Belle' though! 
Nate Warrick More than 1 year ago
Giver
Caleb Canna More than 1 year ago
Mockingjay has my vote.
Wesley Javorsky More than 1 year ago
Mockingjay, though my real vote is for dawn of the planet of the apes
Jonathan Langford More than 1 year ago
Write-in vote for Guardians of the Galaxy!!!! The Hobbit 3 sucked big time and all I could think of during Mockingjay part 1 was how awesome part 2 was going to be
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I would Say Captain America and Guardians of the Galaxy I would never see Bella.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Why is there not any super hero movies on here ?
Sarah Catherine More than 1 year ago
Mockingjay Part 1 was AMAZING!!! It gets my vote. although BOTFA was excellent as well, I missed the whimsy and humor found in the book. I kind of think Peter Jackson made it too dark to be The Hobbit, Both were fantastic movies, but Mockingjay was my favorite. 
Mahala Crann More than 1 year ago
No Captain America: The Winter Soldier... :(
I guess I will vote for Maleficent.
dasibertauthor More than 1 year ago
I thought for SURE Winter Soldier would be on here...Quite surprising actually!
Hannah Carter More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed all these movies (with the exception of Belle, which I didn't see). I'll vote for The Hobbit or Mockingjay though.
Carlton DeLéon More than 1 year ago
I'll vote for Hobbit 3, although Belle was an excellent movie.  I'm hoping Interstellar and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes will be on the next list...