We all recognize the feeling when a movie character is just so utterly charming and likable that we think to ourselves, “Damn, I wish he/she were my friend in real life!” This emotion tends to rear its head when it comes to groups of characters as well. For instance groups of friends or even families. Charismatic families on film can fascinate us for a number of reasons. They can be supportive, kind, fun, or even downright weird. Whatever the reason, they simply draw us in and make us wish they would adopt us. In that spirit, I thought I’d throw a list of personal favourites together.
10. The Bluth family - Arrested Development
So, it’s not really cheating since the movie has been announced, right? The Bluths aren’t exactly your dream family. They are the poster kids for dysfunction . They treat each other horribly, no one is willing to take responsibility, and I believe most members of the family have come on to a relative at some point. The mother is a manipulative drunk who doesn’t care all that much about her children, and the father is serving a prison sentence and has been building houses for Saddam Hussain. Lovely. Still… there is something endearing about our Bluths. They stick together when it really matters and Michael, the only somewhat sane family member, seems to keep them afloat through almost anything. Also, I can’t be the only one that wants to work a shift at the banana stand, take a ride in a stair-car or go to one of Gob’s “magic” shows!
9. The Allgood family - The Kids Are All Right
2010′s The Kids Are All Right features an unorthodox but happy family, and we are shown how it almost breaks apart. Despite most of the film focusing on a troubled marriage, teenagers having an identity crisis etc., there was something that made me fall for the Allgoods. It might have been the fact that the parents are a lesbian couple yet the events of the film have absolutely nothing to do with their sexual orientation. It is, sadly, a rare thing in Hollywood. More likely and to the point however, it was the loving relationship between them, how well-rounded the kids were, how charming their home was… When I think of The Kids Are All Right I don’t think of the storyline. I think how wonderful it would be to sit in the Allgoods’ garden, laughing and drinking wine.
8. Ronia’s family - Ronia: The Robber’s Daughter
Based on Swedish author Astrid Lindgren’s novel, Ronia follows the life of a thief princess in the middle ages. Ronia is the only child of Matis, the leader of a band of thieves. Despite the moral questions of raising a child to be the leader of criminals, Ronia has a wonderful home. She lives with her father and her mother Lovis, in a medieval castle which was split down the middle in a thunderstorm the night she was born. She is given plenty of freedom and her parents love her dearly. As an added perk, the rest of the clan of thieves live with them, and they all appear to love Ronia as their own daughter. A medieval castle with a bunch of kind-hearted rogues? I’m in all the way.
7. The MacGuff family - Juno
What do you do when your teenage daughter tells you she’s pregnant? Preferrably exactly what the MacGuffs did. Juno’s father and stepmother strike that perfect balance of being outraged at their daughter’s carelessness and supporting her fiercely through her journey. In what is arguably the best scene in the film, the mild mannered stepmother, portrayed brilliantly by Allison Janney, holds her own against a bitchy ultraound technician. The few scenes we get to spend with Juno’s family are warm and reassuring, and we see clearly that they are quality people. They are down-to-earth and relaxed, and any troubled teen should be so lucky as to have Mr. and Mrs. MacGuff as their parents.
6. The Parker family - The Spider-Man films
Raising an adoptive, hormonal teenage son must be some form of hell. How the Parkers managed to do so brilliantly speaks volumes of their parenting skills. Uncle Ben and aunt May are one of the more lovable couples of the big screen. Before Ben’s untimely death, we get to watch a beautiful couple that has obviously spent most of their lives together. Their home is warm and welcoming, their raising of Peter seemingly pitch-perfect. After Uncle Ben has uttered “With great power comes great responsibility”, and therein taught his nephew the most important life lesson he’ll ever receive, aunt May stands unwavering by Peter’s side as he becomes the most one of the most selfless heroes we know. The Parkers are good people and wonderful parents, and function as such both together and apart. If I could adopt them as an extra set of grandparents, I would!
5. The March family - Little Women
There may be some poverty, the father is off fighting in the war, there may be deaths in the family, and the girls may fight like cats from time to time. I really don’t care when we get to see this family at their best. Marmee, the mother, is left to take care of her and Mr. March’s four girls while a war is raging. The girls are profoundly different from one another and Marmee supports each one in their endeavors, no matter what. Winter afternoons spent ice skating in the forest, and staying up whole nights in order to dramatically re-enact plays with a colourful group of sisters… I always wanted to join in.
4. The Addams family – The Addams Family
If being a member of the Addams family means actually being… a member of the Addams family, with all the blood and all the black that entails, they seem like one of the best families in film. The parents are passionately in love and everyone supports each other. They may be severely misunderstood, but they are friendly to outsiders and judge no one. I would love to run around the family graveyard once a year to bang shovels on headstones and wake up dead relatives, or invite uncle It over for a chat. Waking with Wednesday staring at you or going for a spin in the Iron Maiden are a small price to pay. Assuming you would share their love for the macabre, being an Addams would be a ton of fun.
3. The Parr family – The Incredibles
There are two reasons for this family’s possession of the bronze medal. First, the Parrs are actually a nice family. They have their problems, but they are a generally lively, happy bunch. Second… if you are a Parr, odds are you are an Incredible. The Parrs’ alter egos, the Incredibles, are one of the best movie families for many reasons. They are brave and they stick together, they work hard and support each other… they are superheroes. If being a member of the Parr family means having a such lovely home and family, being able to fly is the cherry on top. Every time I watch the Incredibles, I want to fight by their side and celebrate our victory by watching Dash race a bunch of unsuspecting fellow students.
2. Olive’s family – Easy A
When Easy A came out in 2010, it surprised me in many ways. Along with becoming one of my favourite teen rom-coms, I fell in love with Olive’s family. She lives with her mother, father and adoptive brother. They are relaxed and liberal, sweet and caring… not to mention downright funny as hell. Olive’s parents have a brilliant sense of humour and many of the film’s best scenes are thanks to them. I can imagine competely hitting it off with Olive’s mum, not only because she reminds me slightly of my real mum, but because she seems like a person who would totally get me. I’ve rarely liked any film characters as much, let alone an entire family.
1. The Weasley family - The Harry Potter films
The gold goes to the Weasleys! How can it not? You don’t have to be a Harry Potter fan to recognize that they are a fantastic family. They are all kind people aiming towards making a difference in the world. The Weasleys are a charming, funny, loving clan… well, all but one. Percy isn’t all bad, but I challenge anyone and everyone to convince me he’s a favourite and why. Molly Weasley is already struggling with six sons and a daughter, and welcomes Harry into their lives and home without hesitating, being the warm but stern Weasley matriarch. Her and the curious and mild-mannered Arthur Weasley as parents, and siblings such as Fred and George? They are, in my humble opinion, the loveliest on-screen family of all time.
That is without even considering the huge added perk here. Being a Weasley means you’d most likely be a witch or a wizard. You could play quidditch and attend Hogwarts! Speaking of which, I’ve been waiting for my Hogwarts Owl for almost fifteen years now. I’d like to get the word out there that some form of adoption documents from the Weasleys might make a beautiful consolation prize.