E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) *-rewatch
My parents bought a VHS of this while I was in elementary school, and I watched it in chunks over three school days. The film has made a huge impression on me. In the years after, I had watched it in bits and pieces, sometimes more than half of the film, but this is the first time I watched it again the whole way through as an adult. It hasn't aged a day.
It suddenly struck me while rewatching: when have family films gotten so comfy as of late? Here, kids swear, blood and illness occur not in clean-looking form, government can use force and guns, messy feelings manifest themselves in both adults and kids, and look at E.T. himself: his appearance is truly of the alien kind; unnerving maybe even for adults. Only in the context of this story that we come to learn and be protective of him along with Elliot.
And that may be why the film works so well. It's because of the above factors, not despite them, that the film manages to truly tap into a child's point of view and wonder. It never talk down to them, by the virtue of surrounding Elliot's story with real-world details and adult matter (the loneliness of the father leaving can be felt acutely in the three kids and mother). They help ground the friendship and adventure in real feelings. Spielberg takes the kids, both in this story and in the audience, seriously; he never make them precocious or wise beyond their years, but never make their world go easy for them either. It's a delicate balance act, and that Spielberg pulls it off makes this one of the most timeless, and most earned in its sentimentality, films ever. 10/10