In case you missed it, cartoons aren’t just for kids. From Disney favorites and blockbuster hits to indie toons and breathtaking anime, there’s something for everyone in our roundup of the best animated movies on Netflix. So grab the popcorn and settle in for a movie night the whole family can get on board with.
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Marvel’s family-friendly flick is full of laughs and, of course, the kind of comic book thrills that are sure to keep viewers on the edge of their seat. The impressive live-action animation promises an exciting viewing experience and the narrative is equally compelling. Miles Morales, a brown-skinned teenage Brooklynite, turns into a superhero after being bit by a radioactive spider, and his mission is to save New York from the evil mob boss known as ‘Kingpin’. However, Miles is new to the spidey-scene and can only prevail with a little mentoring from an old pro, Peter Parker (Nicholas Cage). The classic good vs. evil narrative is action-packed, of course, but it’s the talented and refreshingly diverse cast that really make the movie.
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Family-friendly Disney fare with a (rare) Black female protagonist, this adaptation of the classic Brothers Grimm fairytale will entertain little kids and adults alike. The film, which is set in 1912 New Orleans portrays a great frog romance that transcends social and racial divisions by way of a plot line that boasts spooky voodoo, squeaky clean comedy and lots of adventure. Bottom line: This animated flick is full of good music and empowering, positive messages—a definite improvement on the outdated Disney princess story.
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A poignant and thought-provoking redemption story that focuses on the emotional journey of a young Japanese boy who finds himself ostracized after bullying a deaf girl at his school. The central character does his best to redeem himself, but he starts out so unlikable that his road to success demands a committed viewer. Mature themes make this film best-suited to teen and adult viewers, but the message is moving and the animation is powerful.
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This Oscar-nominated French film about an orphan named Zucchini and his life in foster care features stunning animation and a tearjerker storyline that’s unexpectedly powerful. Ostensibly a children’s movie, the mature content of this film—which touches on alcoholism, abuse, death, and sex—is really best for teen and adult audiences. That said, this movie blends macabre and dark material with humorous and touching scenes to such great effect, it truly is a work of art.
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This beautifully animated Chinese story about the growing chasm between the spirit world and the modern human world is witty and easy to watch. Meryl Streep narrates the story, which unfolds in two realms—a single mother (Nicole Kidman) trying to keep her restaurant afloat despite the dirty tricks of a competing business owner (Mel Brooks), while in the spirit world an out-of-work guardian plots to unleash an evil spirit in order to reunite the two worlds over a common cause. The takeaway? The storyline seems like it wasn’t completely fleshed out and is downright confusing at times, but both the visuals and the cast are impressive, so you could do worse.
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This prehistoric adventure, starring Emma Stone, Nicholas Cage and Ryan Reynolds, is absolutely gorgeous and thrilling to watch. The plot revolves around a cave-dwelling family who are forced to face the many perils of the land beyond their hideout as they search for a new place to settle before the end of the world arrives at their doorstep. Their exciting exploration is brought to life with colorful CGI animation and the action-packed storyline promises to keep older kids and adults on the edge of their seats.
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Steve Carrell lends his voice talent to the main character in this clever and unusual film about a supervillain who isn’t all that bad after all. The storyline is a refreshing twist on the standard good vs. evil trope: The supervillain’s evil plot is to adopt three orphan girls as a means of furthering his mission to steal the moon—but his plans start to unravel when he realizes he feels parental love for his adopted brood. Goofy comedy, compelling characters and valuable lessons are among the factors that make this film a solid movie night pick.
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This dark comedy about young children who emancipate themselves from their cruel and abusive parents is clever and wonderfully animated but far too disturbing for a young audience. The trio of neglected siblings plot to kill their horrible parents and ultimately win their freedom—an inspiring aspect of the film. That said, the storyline is quite upsetting despite some slapstick comedic relief, so only adults with the stomach for it should dive into this one.
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Enchanting animation and a poignant storyline come together beautifully in this reinterpretation of the classic book by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. Fans of the book should know that the movie strays considerably from the original content, but the magic remains, as does the message about living life to its fullest. There’s some heavy stuff, including references to death and suicide, that make this movie better suited to a mature audience, but the dark aspects are understated and the overall viewing experience is enjoyable.
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The elegant and artful animation in this anime drama is sure to impress, but viewers should be prepared for the serious storyline. The film follows the life and development of a young girl living in Hiroshima during World War II—specifically the evolution of her marriage to a man she weds without dating at the age of 18. There are realistic and graphic depictions of wartime atrocities, but the historical content is educational and the romance portrayed is nuanced and thoughtful.
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