The Holidays in Film: National Sibling Day

Like Mother and Father’s Day, the not as well known Sibling Day looks to unite and celebrate siblings and the familial bonds that shape our lives. Unlike Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, National Sibling Day is not yet recognized as a federal holiday. The day was founded by Claudia Evart in honor of her younger siblings who had passed away.

In honor of the holiday, pop in a movie about these siblings real and fictional and spend some quality time with your own sibling!

I Love You Both

A quirky comedy about codependency and what it means to start growing up, I Love You Both is a look into a dysfunctional sibling relationship. The movie is directed, written, and starred in by two real-life siblings, the movie delves into how quickly their cozy codependency turns to unhappiness as they both fall for the same easy-going guy. It’s a short but funny movie, with distinctly millennial-type humor that focuses on the way the two siblings feel stuck in their lives. While the movie doesn’t exactly have a happy ending, it is an enjoyable film.

Lilo and Stitch

If what you want is a bit more kid-friendly, this Disney movie is the perfect way to go. The beautifully done cartoon focuses on the lives of two orphaned sisters, Lilo and Nani, as they cope with sudden changes to their lives in the arrival of the alien experiment Stitch. In typical Disney fashion, the movie is equal parts sweet and heartbreaking with a touching happy ending for the sisters and their family.

This is Where I Leave You

A hilarious and ridiculous comedy, This Is Where I Leave You centers around the Altmans, an estranged family brought together by the passing of their beloved father, Mort. In his will, Mort states that he wants the family to sit Shiva, a Jewish practice of mourning for seven days. For an entire week, the family is forced to tolerate each other, and what ensues is a relatable and hilarious story about a group of people that love each other but don’t particularly like each other.

Rachel Getting Married

This award-winning movie focuses on two sisters when the younger is getting married. Starring Anne Hathaway and Rosemarie DeWitt, the movie goes into how addiction affects not just a single person’s life, but also their relationship with those that love them. The two sisters, Kym and Rachel, drifted apart due to Kym’s drug usage. Kym has been in rehab for a while and is allowed to leave for a few days for her sister’s wedding. The movie is fraught with a tension-filled love that frequently exists between siblings, and though the story makes it clear that their journey isn’t over by movie’s end, Kym and Rachel part on happy terms brought together by their love for each other.


If you’ve got a lot of time on your hands, Shameless is the perfect fit. Taking place in Canaryville neighborhood in the South Side of Chicago, this Showtime show centers around six dysfunctional siblings and their egomaniac father, trying to make ends meet. This black comedy deals frequently with poverty and class struggle, dealing with the outlandish situations the Gallaghers get themselves into with a lot of humor, resentment, and love. The first seven seasons can be found at the Berwyn Public Library, with season eight on order.


To see all of these great stories and more, come check out our display for National Sibling Day right next to the Audio Visual Desk!

International Day of the Girl

International Day of the Girl is not one of the more well known holidays but it is an important one. Taking place on October 11th, Day of the Girl was started to bring awareness to the trials faced by girls. Yes of course steps have been taken to equal the playing field, but the fact is that many girls still face incredible obstacles and barriers. The day started as a youth lead movement to shed light on things such as underage marriage, inaccessibility of education, and barriers in the job market. The activists that organize the events – all ranging around 17 years old but some are even younger – work to emphasize raising girls in healthy environments and with a supportive community.

So how does that affect the average little girl in Berwyn? Well, it’s important for girls to know they can be heroes, can stand up for themselves, that they can be weird or sporty or heroic or vulnerable or strong. It’s important to show little girls that they can be whatever they want to be, no matter how odd what they want may seem to you. And since it has been studied that movies impact our sense of the world and our sense of self, maybe taking a day to watch a movie about a brave hero who also happens to be a girl could go a long way to helping your own girl believe in herself. When it comes to brave girls and heroes, these movies are fun to pop in and kid friendly – and may even inspire a conversation about what your little girl wants from her life.

Lilo and Stitch

lilo and stitch
The main characters of Lilo and Stitch surfing together.

This classic Disney movie about an alien looking for a family is also an important study in girlhood. The movie hinges around the importance of family, so naturally, when Stitch crash lands on Earth, he is immediately adopted. The movie makes an interesting choice to drop Stitch into a family that is only made up of two orphaned sister: older sister Nani and young Lilo. Lilo, for all her charm and love, is an outcast among the girls her age. She does things like keeping voodoo dolls of her friends in a pickle jar, locking herself in her home and blasting Elvis Presley music to feel better, and coming up with a tragic backstory for a doll. Despite how over-dramatic Lilo’s oddities are Nani never tries to change Lilo and often celebrates her uniqueness. Nani, for her part, is hard working and honest. She puts Lilo before everything and works hard to keep her small family together. When celebrating girlhood, Lilo and Stitch is a fantastic movie to look to, a movie that makes it clear that it’s ok for girls to be silly and odd and strong and to value the bonds of family.

Annie (2015)

The foster girls featured in Annie, with the titular character played by Quvenzhané Wallis front and center.

A modern day retelling of the classic radio show and musical, Annie is just as important now as she was decades ago. This version of Annie, starring trailblazer Quvenzhané Wallis, puts a focus on the impact the foster system has on young girls. At one point in the movie, Annie is prompted to read a speech aloud and storms off. She reveals to a heart broken Mr. Stacks that because of her time in foster care, she fell through the cracks in school and never learned to read. Considering the fact that girls still face barriers to education even today – the attempted murder of Malala Yousafzai being the most popular example – it’s an important topic. Mr. Stacks and Miss Grace raise Annie and all the foster girls in her home up, allowing them to flourish and thrive and ultimately find families. On top of that, well – it’s just a really cute movie and Quvenzhané and Jamie Foxx play off each other fantastically.

Bend it Like Beckham

The women’s soccer team in Bend It Like Beckham, with main characters Jess and Jules, played by Parminder Nagra and Keira Knightley, holding the trophy.

It’s easy to overlook this movie as nothing but a silly sports movie, but Bend It Like Beckham actually focuses on important topics relating to girlhood. Namely, the treatment of girls in sports. It’s true many women have broken into the the sports world but there are still barriers. In this comedy, the focus is put on the struggles of Jess as she navigates playing soccer and her desire to go to college. Jess faces much backlash from a cultural standpoint because of her family’s views on how a woman she act. Added to this are her struggles and the struggle of her father to be accepted in the world of sports because of their race. The movie focuses on the changing landscape and how many conservative views of sports and women were forced to change as women started making a mark for themselves in the world. The ending is, naturally, a happy one, where Jess’s parents start to accept that they must change for the sake of their daughter’s happiness.

Whale Rider

Pai, played by Keisha Castle-Hughes, wearing traditional Maori facepaint.

Easily the most serious look at sexism in this list, Whale Rider is a modern day classic and enjoyable movie nonetheless. While it’s not exactly the most obvious pick for a movie night with your young daughter, it is still kid friendly. At the very least, this writer enjoyed it a lot as a girl, if only because of my unhealthy obsession with whales. The movie focuses on a girl named Pai, whose family was killed several years before the movie takes place. Pai is the heir apparent of her people’s clan as she is descended from the whale rider Paikea, but cannot inherit this title because she is a girl. Pai spends much of the movie fighting with her grandfather over what she views as her destiny. Her grandfather blames her for many things including the deaths of her family, being better than the boys around her, and a whole host of things that aren’t actually Pai’s fault. The constant criticism weighs on Pai and she moves out of her grandfather’s home. Despite this, Pai remains determined to prove that she is a capable leader. The movie earned lead actress Keisha Castle-Hughes an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. At age 13, she was the youngest person ever nominated for the award – until Quvenzhane Wallis broke the record a few years later at age 9.

written by: kassie

The Holidays In Film: Labor Day

Over the years, Labor Day has been associated with barbecues and pool parties, as a way to throw one last hurrah before school starts and summer is officially over. However, Labor Day started as a way to honor working class people in the US.

In the late 1800’s, many people lived in “company towns.” This was when a town is essentially owned by one employer. One such town was Pullman, located on the South Side of Chicago. Pullman was owned by George Pullman and employees of his Pullman Palace Car Company lived in the town with their families. There he provided decent housing, public services, and entertainment – though he did charge rent for his housing. The Panic of 1893, an economic depression that eventually caused great civil upheaval, caused people to forego the luxury railroad cars. As Pullman started losing money, he made up the losses by firing many workers and slashing the wages of workers that were left – without lowering rent.

The workers formed a union, The American Railway Union, and called for a strike. Clashes between the union and Pullman occurred as the strike spread to a total of 27 states. Eventually federal troops were brought in and violence broke out. 34 union workers were killed during the ensuing riots and the ARU leader was arrested. As a way to smooth things over with the angry union workers, President Cleveland pushed legislation through that would make Labor Day a national holiday. The date was set for the first Monday in September and the legislation was passed within a week.

So when you’re cooking out and settling in for a movie and some s’mores, maybe take a moment to remember the struggle of the workers that came before. Here are some interesting movies that deal with the class struggle of workers that came before us.

The Grapes of Wrath

grapes of wrath

The 1940 drama based on John Steinbeck’s moving novel details the struggle of a family of migrant workers. As the Joads move all over the south looking for paying jobs, they face many hardships and often much exploitation at the hands of their employers. Towards the end of the novel, the Joads find themselves living in a number of company towns, similar to Pullman. They are paid nickels and dimes a day; just enough to buy food at the company town grocer but not enough to find a house of their own with better living and working conditions.

Norma Rae

norma rae

Selected for inclusion into the Library of Congress in 2011 for cultural and historical significance, Norma Rae tells the story of a single mother who fights for better working conditions the cotton mill she works at. The story is partially true; inspired by the protesting of real life Crystal Lee Sutton, the iconic scene where Norma Rae holds up a white board that says “UNION” until all the machines fall silent is directly taken from Sutton’s own activism. This sort of fight for better conditions is exactly the sort of work that Labor Day is meant to commemorate.



In this harrowing biographically film, viewers get a disturbing image of the health risks many workers face. Karen Silkwood (played by Meryl Streep) was a union leader at a plutonium plant who noticed that the company was cutting corners in safety protocols. After she tested positive for plutonium poisoning, Silkwood starts building a case against the company before dying under suspicious circumstances. In real life, Silkwood’s father sued the company for their practices and the case was taken all the way to the Supreme Court – where her family won the case. They were awarded $10 million, the highest amount of money a person had ever been awarded in a case like this.

César Chávez


Based on the real life activists who co-founded the United Farm Workers union, César Chávez chronicles farm workers fight for safety practices as well as his nonviolent protests. The film focuses in particular on the plight of braceros or migrant workers who are only allowed int he USA so long as they have a farming job. These workers often face racism and brutality and were not given much of a voice. Chavez co-founded the union along with Dolores Huerta, and the two eventually merged unions with a majority Filipino union to form the United Farm Workers that still exists today.

The Pajama Game

the pajama game

In a more lighthearted take on labor disputes, the popular musical The Pajama Game chronicles the fight of employees at a pajama factory striking for a higher wage. The strike comes when union leader Babe Williams realizes that the employees are being paid seven and one half cents less than the industry standard. Complications arise when Babe and a new manager, Sid Sorokin, become romantically entangled. Of course, being a musical, the ending finds the employees winning their raise and Sid and Babe finding happiness in each other. It’s an optimistic take to be sure but it is also a relatively realistic look at some of the disputes, corruption issues, and fights that Labor Day honors.

written by: kassie and sandie