Before Mother's Day on May 14, these are the best movies to watch to get in the spirit.
It doesn't matter if your mom is next to you on the couch or 1,000 miles away.
These mother-daughter movies highlight the special relationship between moms and their girls.
Mother's Day is a time to celebrate your mom — but if you live far away, spending time with her can be impossible.
If you can't be near your mom this Mother's Day, or if you're simply looking for a movie to watch while you sit on the couch and snuggle with her, we've compiled a list of films that'll make you appreciate all your mother — or stepmother — does for you.
"Terms of Endearment" centers around the close relationship between mom Aurora and her daughter Emma.
Have a box of tissues on hand if you decide to screen "Terms of Endearment." The film, which stars Shirley MacLaine, follows Aurora and Emma, a mother-daughter duo that, despite fighting constantly, are very close. As each woman moves through life, love, and relationships, their bond remains constant until the very end.
It won five Oscars, including best picture, best director, best actress, and best supporting actor.
In "Freaky Friday," mom Tess and daughter Anna each learn about each other's lives when they magically swap bodies.
"Freaky Friday" should be mandatory viewing for every teenager (and mother of a teenager). Anna and Tess, played by Lindsay Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis, respectively, spend a few days trying to live each other's lives, and learn that they both have their own challenges, including Battle of the Bands, new husbands, parenting, detention, and much more.
Spoiler: They don't stay swapped forever, but they do come out of it with a healthy appreciation for each other.
We can't wait to see what happens in the upcoming sequel, which Lohan and Curtis are in early talks to join, according to Deadline.
"Postcards from the Edge," another Shirley MacLaine movie, was written by Carrie Fisher and based on her semi-autobiographical novel of the same name.
In "Postcards," Meryl Streep plays Suzanne (the Fisher stand-in), while MacLaine plays her mother Doris (perhaps a Debbie Reynolds-esque character), who each deals with substance abuse issues, working in Hollywood, and romantic relationships.
"Lady Bird" tells many stories, but at its heart, it's a story about a complicated mother-daughter relationship.
Lady Bird, played by Saoirse Ronan, and her mother, Marion, played by Laurie Metcalf, manage to go from adversaries to best friends in a matter of seconds, just like real moms and daughters do. Both actresses were nominated for Oscars, and it's easy to see why, even if you just watch the first and last scenes of the film.
Never before on film has a mother-daughter relationship been so realistic and painful, yet loving.
In "Akeelah and the Bee," Angela Bassett plays Tanya, mother to spelling genius Akeelah, played by Keke Palmer.
While Tanya at first doesn't want her daughter to compete, she later decides that she needs to support her daughter in following her dreams, even if they scare her, and even though Akeelah might fail — a heartwarming message.
"Steel Magnolias" is about a community of women, but at its heart tells the story of Shelby and her mother, M'Lynn.
There are plenty of fun dynamics and relationships in "Steel Magnolias," but the relationship between M'Lynn (Sally Field) and her daughter Shelby (Julia Roberts), will make you laugh and cry in equal measure. It also shows how much a mother would do to help her daughter, including donating a kidney, even if M'Lynn didn't understand or agree with Shelby's choices.
Oh, and this is Shirley MacLaine's third appearance on this list, as one of the strong Southern ladies, Louisa "Ouiser" Boudreaux.
"The Joy Luck Club" has not one but four strong mother-daughter duos to learn from.
"The Joy Luck Club," based on the Amy Tan novel of the same name, tells the stories of the four members of the clubs, and their relationships with their daughters. Each mother has a lesson to teach her daughter, or a message to tell them about their lives in China.
The film is also only the second movie in Hollywood history to have a predominantly Asian cast. The third did not come along until 25 years later: "Crazy Rich Asians," another film which features a heartwarming mother-daughter relationship.
In "Troop Beverly Hills," a mother imparts important lessons to her scout troop, like never leaving someone behind, even if you're competitors.
In "Troop Beverly Hills," Shelley Long plays Phyllis, a Beverly Hills housewife who decides to become a troop leader to stay connected to her daughter, Hannah. Though she has little experience, Phyllis becomes a surrogate mom to her troop-members, and learns some valuable lessons along the way.
"Mamma Mia!" is all about the love Donna has for her daughter Sophie, no matter who her dad is.
Yes, the central mystery of "Mamma Mia!" is the identity of Sophie's (Amanda Seyfried) father, but the real love story is between Sophie and her mom, Donna (Meryl Streep). The ABBA tunes and Greek views are just a bonus.
Make it an ABBA double feature with "Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again."
The sequel to "Mamma Mia!" pretty much improves upon everything that made the original great: more beautiful people in beautiful Greece, more ABBA, and more of the bond between Donna and Sophie, even if Meryl Streep isn't in this one much. Lily James does a great job at portraying young Donna, showing how much she loved her daughter in just a few scenes.
Let's hope Streep and James can somehow appear in "Mamma Mia 3."
"Raising Helen" is the film for the unconventional family: adopted, chosen, biological, or anything in between.
After Helen's sister and her husband die and leave their three kids in her custody, she must learn to become a mother by giving up her wild ways. Helen, played by Kate Hudson, has cute scenes bonding with each kid, but the crux of the movie comes from her relationship with 15-year-old Audrey, played by Hayden Panettiere.
Warning, this movie might also make you want to call your sister. Be prepared.
Not everything about "Mermaids" has aged well, but the complicated relationship between Rachel and her daughter Charlotte remains relatable to this day.
Winona Ryder stars as Charlotte in a performance that earned her a Golden Globe nomination. She and her mother, Rachel, played by Cher, couldn't be more different, which leads to a lot of friction in their household. However, predictably, the two eventually come to understand one another and the reasons for each other's decisions.
"Hairspray" is about racism, body positivity, and the bonds between moms and their daughters.
"Hairspray" is filled with mother-daughter relationships: Tracy and her mom Edna (Nikki Blonsky and John Travolta), Little Inez and Maybelle (Tayla Parx and Queen Latifah), Penny and Prudy (Amanda Bynes and Allison Janney), and even Amber and Velma (Brittany Snow and Michelle Pfeiffer).
In each dynamic, the mom is just trying to do what she thinks is best for her daughter, whether it's forbidding her from watching TV and dancing, letting her join the cast of a TV show, or even cheating, in the case of Velma.
In "Stepmom," both Susan Sarandon and Julia Roberts play mother figures.
"Stepmom" is a celebration of the relationships between mothers and daughters, between stepmoms and stepdaughters, and, most of all, between an ex-wife and a new wife.
As this family proves, there's no limit to how much family one can have, and every family looks different. This one's for all the stepmoms and stepdaughters out there.
"The Princess Diaries" is more of a grandmother-granddaughter story ... but we think it still counts.
Grandmothers are mothers, too! Besides, Mia, played by Anne Hathaway, also has a goals-worthy relationship with her cool artist mom. They even go rock climbing together and make balloon art! Plus, Mia's mom never felt that Mia needed a makeover — she loved her just the way she was.
But the most delightful part of "The Princess Diaries" has to be when Queen Clarice (Julie Andrews) lets her hair down to just enjoy a San Francisco day with her granddaughter — it'll have you reaching for the phone to call your grandma pronto.
"Brave" is a rare Disney movie in which the mom lives, and she has a complex relationship with her teenage daughter, Merida.
"Brave" shows that even Pixar can take a stab at a complicated mother-daughter relationship, and it works. Merida learns that her mother just wants what's best for her, and her mother learns to love Merida for who she is, not who she wants her to be.
"Turning Red" is another entry into Pixar's canon of mother-daughter movies.
"Turning Red," released in March 2022, is about Mei Lee, the 13-year-old daughter of Chinese-Canadian immigrants. When she starts going through puberty, she discovers that when she gets upset or excited in any way, she turns into a giant red panda.
Over the course of the film, Mei must learn to accept her family's curse (or blessing?) and learn to stand up for herself while also respecting her mom, and her mom must learn to accept Mei.
"Dumplin'" is about a mother and daughter learning to respect each other, all set to a Dolly Parton soundtrack.
Even though many of us have probably wished Jennifer Aniston was our mother (or sister or friend) at some point or another, "Dumplin'" shows that it's potentially not all it's cracked up to be. While the two have trouble communicating and understanding each other, it's clear that the love is there — it just takes a beauty pageant, some drag queens, and a magic act to coax it out.
Yes, "Little Women" is mainly a sisters movie, but something about Jo's scenes with Marmee have us feeling a little emotional.
The bond between the March sisters is unbreakable and the heart of the film, but the true family leader is their mother, affectionately called Marmee, played by Laura Dern.
Specifically, her two scenes with Jo (Saoirse Ronan) — the one after Amy (Florence Pugh) burns Jo's book and she wisely tells Jo that "there are some natures too noble to curb, and too lofty to bend," and the one where Jo speaks about how she might want to be with Laurie after all — will remind you that, sometimes, it's hard to hear what your mom has to say, but she's usually right.
You can stream "Little Women" (the 2019 version) on Starz. Or you can rent the 1994 version starring Winona Ryder as Jo, Susan Sarandon as Marmee, and Kirsten Dunst and Samantha Mathis as Amy.
If you somehow missed it last year before it won best picture at the Oscars, check out "Everything Everywhere All at Once."
Reigning best picture winner "Everything Everywhere All at Once" is about a lot of things but, mainly, it's about the fractured bond between a mother, Evelyn, and her daughter, Joy, played by screen legend Michelle Yeoh in an Oscar-winning performance and Stephanie Hsu (who was nominated), respectively.
You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll question reality, you'll feel compelled to re-watch "Ratatouille" — all are worth the price of admission to see this one on a big screen.
And finally, "Mother's Day," which might not be the best mother-daughter film, but it certainly has the most mothers and daughters.
"Mother's Day" is a film in the same vein of "He's Just Not That Into You," "Valentine's Day," and "New Year's Eve." It features a large ensemble of A-list actors who are all interconnected in some way, and by the end, everyone has repaired their fractured relationships or realized they deserve better.
Except, in the case of "Mother's Day," almost all of the relationships are focused on mothers and daughters, with Julia Roberts, Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson, Sarah Chalke, and Margo Martindale all playing mothers (and Shay Mitchell as a stepmother).
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