Tween movies are a genre of films that are specifically targeted toward preteens, typically those between the ages of 8 and 14. These movies are often characterized by their relatable characters, coming-of-age themes, and lighthearted humor. They are designed to appeal to the interests and experiences of tweens while also providing a sense of entertainment and escapism.
Let’s explore the world of tween movies with our top picks for pre-teens and young teens. Whether you’re looking for entertainment or understanding, our guide shines a light on films that have become cultural icons for the tween generation!
Understanding Tween Movies
Understanding tween movies requires a deeper look into the unique experiences and interests of preteens.
These movies often explore themes such as friendship, family, self-discovery, and first love, which are all important aspects of a tween’s life.
They also tend to feature relatable characters who are navigating the challenges of growing up, such as dealing with school, peer pressure, and changing relationships with family and friends.
Despite being targeted at a specific age group, tween movies have gained popularity among a wider audience. Many of these films have become cultural touchstones, inspiring memes, merchandise, and even spin-off TV shows. Additionally, the rise of social media has allowed tweens to share their love for these movies with others, creating an online community of fans.
In essence, tween movies are a great way to spend quality time with family and friends. They offer something for everyone and can be a fun and educational way to learn about the world around us.
Tween movies are movies specifically targeted towards kids between the ages of 8 and 14.
Moreover, these movies are perfect for kids who are too old for cartoons but not quite ready for adult movies. They are also great for a family movie night, as they are often family-friendly and enjoyable for both kids and adults.
While finding the perfect tween movie is essential, setting the right ambiance for movie night is equally important. After you’ve selected from our top picks for pre-teens and young teens, make sure you head over to our guide on Creating the Perfect Family Movie Night at Home to ensure a memorable and cozy movie-watching experience for the whole family.
Common Tween Movie GENRES
Typically, tween movies spotlight characters that resonate with and inspire tweens. Below are some classic film to modern genres tailored for this age group.
One of the key themes in tween movies is friendship. Many of these movies focus on the bonds of friendship and the importance of having good friends. They show tweens how to navigate the ups and downs of friendships and how to be a good friend.
Another common theme in tween movies is family. These movies often show the importance of family and the love and support that families provide. They can be a great way to start conversations about family dynamics and relationships.
Tween movies are also known for their adventure and excitement. They often feature daring heroes and heroines who go on epic quests and overcome incredible obstacles. These movies can be a great way to inspire kids to be brave and adventurous.
Other tween movies also cover genres like:
- Sci-fi, romance
- Coming-of-age stories
While enjoying our top tween movie picks, don’t miss the wisdom shared in Lessons From Movie Parents: Wisdom From On-Screen Families. Discover the valuable life lessons from our favorite film families.
Popular Tween Movie Titles
Tween movies are a great way for kids to explore different themes and emotions while being entertained. There are many titles to choose from, but some have stood the test of time and remain popular among tweens even in 2023.
Movies from the 80s and Earlier
Back to the Future: This classic sci-fi adventure movie follows Marty McFly as he travels back in time to the 1950s and tries to ensure that his parents fall in love. With its iconic spy kids time machine and memorable characters, this movie is a must-watch for tweens.
The Breakfast Club: An emblematic 80s tale, this movie brings together a diverse group of high school students confined to a Saturday detention. Through their interactions, they come to understand and appreciate each other’s differences.
The 2000s Tween Favorites
Mean Girls: This comedy movie follows the story of Cady Heron, a new student at North Shore High School who becomes friends with a group of popular girls called “The Plastics.” As she becomes more like them, she realizes the true cost of popularity. This movie is a great way for tweens to explore themes of friendship, identity, and fitting in.
Twilight: This romantic fantasy movie series follows the story of Bella Swan, a teenage girl who falls in love with a vampire named Edward Cullen.
Twilight highlights the virtues of love, sacrifice, and acceptance that made it a popular choice among tweens.
The Princess Diaries: Mia Thermopolis, a teenage girl who learns that she is the heir to the throne of Genovia, navigates her new role and learns important lessons about responsibility, friendship, and self-confidence. It teaches us about identity, self-discovery, and growing up.
Timeless Stories for Tweens
Dora and the Lost City of Gold: This adventure movie follows the story of Dora, a teenage explorer who sets out on a mission to save her parents and solve the mystery of the Lost City of Gold. With its themes of adventure, friendship, and perseverance, this movie is a great choice for tweens.
Little Women: Little Women is about four sisters who face the challenges of growing up in the late 1800s. With its themes of family, sisterhood, and coming of age, this movie is a great way for tweens to explore the complexities of growing up.
Beauty and the Beast: A classic Disney on the list, Belle, a young woman falls in love with a cursed prince who has been turned into a beast. With its themes of love, acceptance, and inner beauty, this movie is a great choice for tweens who love fairy tales.
Broadway to Screen
Hamilton: A Broadway hit in the musical industry, Alexander Hamilton tells the story of history, politics, and ambition. This movie is a great way for tweens to learn about American history while being entertained.
Tween Movies and Social Media
Social media has become an integral part of the lives of tweens and teens. They use it to connect with friends, share experiences, and discover new content. As a result, social media platforms like TikTok have become a popular way for tweens to discover new movies to watch.
What is Tiktok?
TikTok is a video-sharing social media platform that has become incredibly popular among tweens and teens. It allows users to create short videos that can be shared with their followers. Furthermore, many tweens use TikTok to discover new movies to watch. They often create videos that showcase their favorite scenes from movies or recommend movies that they think their followers will enjoy.
Some movie studios have even started using TikTok to promote their movies to tweens.
For example, the movie “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” used TikTok to promote its sequel, “To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You.” The movie studio created a challenge on TikTok where users could create videos of themselves recreating scenes from the movie.
Other Social Media Platforms
In addition to TikTok, tweens also use other social media platforms to discover new movies to watch. These platforms include:
They often follow their favorite actors or movie studios to stay up-to-date on the latest movies. In addition to that, tween audiences also use hashtags to discover new movies that are trending. As a result, movie studios are increasingly using these social media platforms to promote their movies to this demographic.
After exploring our top tween movie recommendations, enrich your viewing with Movies That Teach Life Lessons: Inspiring Films To Watch. Get into the films that not only entertain but also inspire.
Influential Characters in Tween Movies
Let’s jump into some of the influential characters in tween movies that have left a lasting impact on young viewers.
Kat Stratford from “10 Things I Hate About You”
Kat Stratford, played by Julia Stiles, is a strong-willed and independent character who challenges gender stereotypes. Her role inspires young girls to be confident in themselves and not conform to societal expectations. Additionally, her character highlights the importance of standing up for oneself and speaking out against injustice.
Nora from “Step Up”
Another influential character is played by Jenna Dewan, a talented dancer who overcomes obstacles to pursue her dreams. Her character teaches young viewers the value of hard work, determination, and perseverance. Nora also inspires young girls to break gender stereotypes and pursue their passions, no matter how unconventional they may seem.
Auggie Pullman from “Wonder”
In this film, Auggie Pullman, played by Jacob Tremblay, portrays a young boy with a facial deformity who struggles to fit in at middle school. Furthermore, his character teaches young viewers the importance of empathy, kindness, and acceptance. Auggie’s story also highlights the impact of bullying and the importance of standing up for oneself and others.
Zen from “Girl vs. Monster”
Zen, portrayed by Olivia Holt, learns that her entire family has hunted monsters for generations. She shows kids the value of bravery, family ties, and persistence. In this movie, Zen encourages girls to stand tall, be themselves, and chase their unique dreams.
Taki and Mitsuha from “Your Name”
Moving on, “Your Name” is about two teenagers who switch bodies intermittently. They introduce kids to the concepts of empathy and effective communication. Consequently, this film emphasizes destiny’s role and the strength of connections between people.
Hermione Granger from the “Harry Potter” series
Hermione, brought to life by Emma Watson, is smart and doesn’t stick to gender norms. She motivates girls to have self-belief and follow even unusual dreams.
What teen audiences love about Hermione’s role is that it underlines the significance of knowledge, fairness, and rights.
Christine McPherson from “Lady Bird”
“Lady Bird” is about a teenage girl who dreams of leaving her hometown and attending college in New York City. Saoirse Ronan’s character teaches young viewers the importance of ambition, independence, and self-discovery. In addition to that, Lady Bird’s story highlights the complexities of mother-daughter relationships and the challenges of growing up.
Nadine from “The Edge of Seventeen”
Let’s not forget Nadine, played by Hailee Steinfeld, is a socially awkward and emotionally troubled teenager who struggles to fit in at school. She educates tweens about self-love, understanding, and compassion. Her experiences also draw attention to mental well-being and the need to ask for assistance.
Charlie from “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”
Charlie, played by Logan Lerman, is a shy and introverted teenager who struggles to make friends. As a teenage character, he learns the importance of self-expression, friendship, and acceptance. Charlie’s story also showcases the impact of trauma and the importance of seeking help when needed.
Themes in Tween Movies
Tween movies are known for their ability to capture the essence of adolescence in a manner that deeply connects with their youthful audience. Whether exploring the wonders of adolescence or the challenges of growing up, these films provide a relatable and entertaining experience for their target audience.
But what other topics do these tween movies cover?
- Time travel
Coming of Age Story
One of the most common themes in tween movies is the coming-of-age story. These films often follow young protagonists as they navigate the challenges of growing up, including first love, peer pressure, and finding their place in the world.
Another popular theme in tween movies is the mystical or supernatural. These films often feature magical creatures, alternate dimensions, and otherworldly experiences.
Examples of these great movies include:
- “Harry Potter”
- “Stranger Things”
Tween movies also often incorporate pop culture references and tropes that are relevant to their target audience. As we all know, “High School Musical” is one great example known for its catchy musical numbers.
While tween movies can be lighthearted and fun, they can also touch on darker themes such as violence, depression, and anxiety. These movies can provide a way for young viewers to explore these topics in a safe and relatable way. Examples of these films include:
- “The Fault in Our Stars”
- “Bridge to Terabithia”
Tween Movies for Different Age Groups
KinVibes Pro-tip: When it comes to finding the perfect tween movie, it’s important to consider the age group of the viewer.
Here are some recommendations for family movies that are suitable for different age groups:
Older Kids (Ages 10-12)
For older kids, PG-rated movies are typically the best choice. Generally, these movies are appropriate for all ages, but may contain some mild language, violence, or suggestive themes.
Some great options for older kids include:
- “Harry Potter” series
- “The Chronicles of Narnia” series
- “The Karate Kid” (1984)
- “The Sandlot” (1993)
- “The Goonies” (1985)
Preteens (Ages 12-14)
As kids enter their preteen years, they may be ready for movies with more mature themes and content. PG-13 rated movies are a good choice for this age group, as they often contain more intense action, violence, and language.
You can let your tweens watch the following films:
- “The Hunger Games” series
- “Divergent” series
- “Jurassic Park” (1993)
- “Back to the Future” series
- “The Princess Bride” (1987)
Of course, there are also plenty of movies that are suitable for all ages, regardless of the viewer’s age. These movies are typically rated G or PG and contain little to no objectionable content.
For those having a baby brother, we can rely on friendly movies such as:
- “Toy Story” series
- “The Incredibles” (2004)
- “Finding Nemo” (2003)
- “Up” (2009)
- “The Lion King” (1994)
No matter what age group you’re shopping for, there are plenty of great tween movies out there to choose from. Just be sure to check the rating and content before making your selection to ensure that it’s appropriate for your young viewer.
Below is a quick summary table you can refer to for movie recommendations based on age and gender. However, keep in mind that movies can generally be enjoyed universally.
|Age Group||For Boys||For Girls||Movies|
|8-10 years||✓||✓||Dora and the Lost City of Gold, Beauty and the Beast, The Willoughbys, Klaus, The Secret Life of Pets 2, Zootopia|
|✓||Moana, Frozen, Inside Out|
|10-12 years||✓||✓||Back to the Future, The Karate Kid, The Croods, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Harry Potter series, The Chronicles of Narnia series, The Sandlot, The Goonies|
|✓||The Princess Diaries, Little Women, Wonder, Matilda|
|12-14 years||✓||✓||Mean Girls, Twilight, The Breakfast Club, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Lady Bird, The Hunger Games series, Divergent series, Jurassic Park, The Princess Bride|
|14+ years||✓||✓||10 Things I Hate About You, Your Name, Hamilton|
|All Ages||✓||✓||Toy Story series, The Incredibles, Finding Nemo, Up, The Lion King|
Tween Movies and Real Life Inspirations
Typically, Tween movies often draw inspiration from real-life events, people, and situations. These movies not only entertain but also educate and inspire the audience. Whether it’s the story of an African-American woman at NASA or a Disney princess transported to modern-day New York City, these movies have something for everyone.
Let’s gather some insights and advice from real-life inspirational movies featured below.
“Hidden Figures” is a 2016 movie that tells the story of three African-American women who worked at NASA during the 1960s space race. The movie is based on the true story of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson, who played a crucial role in NASA’s success.
The movie highlights the struggles these women faced due to racial and gender discrimination and how they overcame these challenges and contributed to NASA’s achievements.
A remarkable Disney film about Giselle who is transported to modern-day New York City. It is a parody of classic Disney fairy tale that pokes fun at the traditional gender roles portrayed in these stories.
This Disney princess inspires young audiences to understand the significance of true love and the power of believing in oneself.
An all-time Disney favorite.
Despite her hardships, Cinderella remains kind and optimistic and eventually finds true love with a prince. In this way, the movie teaches the importance of perseverance and kindness in the face of adversity.
“Moroccan Twins” is a 2022 movie that tells the story of two Moroccan twins who are separated at birth and raised in different countries.
The plot twist?
It’s about shedding light on the struggles encountered by immigrants. It places a strong emphasis on the significance of family values and the deep connection shared among siblings.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some good movies for 9-12-year-olds on Netflix?
Some good movie options for 9–12-year-olds include:
- “The Willoughbys”
- “The Secret Life of Pets 2”
- “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”
What are the best tween movies on Netflix?
You can binge-watch these best Netflix tween movies:
- “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before”
- “The Kissing Booth”
- “The Princess Switch”
- “The Baby-Sitters Club”
- “Enola Holmes”
What are some movies for 11-year-old boys to watch on Netflix?
For the 11-year-olds boy age group, some recommendations include:
- “The Karate Kid”
- “The Croods”
- “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs”
- “The Spiderwick Chronicles”
- “The Little Prince”
What are some good movies for 13-year-old girls?
- “To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You”
- “The Fault in Our Stars”
- “The Hate U Give”
- “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”
- “The Edge of Seventeen”
These movies are ideal for the 13-year-old age group and are great for sparking conversations.
What movies should an 11-year-old girl watch?
Some of the best movies that the whole family and an 11-year-old girl may enjoy are the following:
- “Inside Out”
What should I watch with my tween daughter?
When watching movies with a tween daughter, we recommend you try:
- The Parent Trap”
- “Freaky Friday”
- “The Princess Diaries”
- “A Wrinkle in Time”
Wrapping Up – Start Engaging Young Minds With Fascinating Tween Movies
Tween movies hold a special place in the hearts of both their intended audience and those of all ages. They blend the themes of self-discovery, adventure, and the highs and lows of growing up, providing a lens into the complex and fascinating world of pre-teens and young teens.
With an array of genres and evergreen classics to choose from, these movies are not just entertainment but also a means of connection, conversation, and reflection. Yet, the essence remains consistent: tween movies celebrate the journey of growing up, capturing the magic and challenges that come with it.