Mother’s Day is nearly here, and what with your busy schedule — as well as the global pandemic and self-isolation mandates — you might still need to come up with an idea for how to celebrate your mom. Well, one can never go wrong with a good, old-fashioned movie day!
As we know, social distancing and avoiding large-scale events are important ways to protect yourself and others from the coronavirus. But those are also the ways that people have been celebrating Mother’s Day for years. So it’s time to think outside the box.
Luckily, streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ have an abundance of options when it comes to fun family fare, which you can watch together whether you’re quarantining in the same house or separately. Just call (or Zoom!) your mom, bring the movie up from the comfort of your own couches and press play at the same time.
We’ve rounded up a few of the best films about moms and their kids that are perfect for Mother’s Day, with options for movie lovers of all kinds, so you can share the love with your mom on her special day.
This fun rock opera musical tells the story of a free-spirited mom named Donna (Meryl Streep), her 20-year-old daughter Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) and a trio of Donna’s ex-lovers, whom Sophie has sneakily called together so she can try to deduce who her real father is — all set to the catchy megahit songs of ABBA!
The Parent Trap
Both the original 1961 version starring Hayley Mills, playing identical twin sisters Sharon and Susan, and the 1998 remake with Lindsay Lohan, starring as twin sisters Hallie and Annie, will remind your mom how much you care about her happiness — and how much trouble you likely caused when you were a devious child (especially if you have siblings).
Like The Parent Trap, both the 1976 and 2003 versions of Freaky Friday tell the story of a mother and daughter at odds who, through magic, have to live in each other’s shoes. Like all iconic body-swap movies, lessons are learned, understanding is achieved, and you’re left wondering if the curse was really a blessing in disguise. Also, in these weird and turbulent times, the underlying theme of the importance of having empathy for others is never a bad message to reiterate.
This Pixar fantasy adventure tells the story of a brash, bold Scottish princess who has no interest in living by tradition and society’s standards, and in an act of rebellion and frustration, accidentally gets her mom turned into a giant bear. It’s a beautifully made fantasy fable that emphasizes the importance of loving your children for who they truly are — and the importance of not trusting random strangers in the woods when they tell you to feed your mom weird pastries.
While Pixar’s The Incredibles is a fantastic family adventure, its 2018 sequel really shines a spotlight on the matriarch of the superpowered family. Mrs. Incredible is called into action with a special superhero think tank, leaving Mr. Incredible to appreciate just how hard his wife’s job as a crime fighter and full-time mother truly is.
This sweet story examines a perfectionist mother and former beauty queen, Rosie (Jennifer Aniston), and her strained, disconnected relationship with her self-possessed, rebellious daughter, Willowdean (Danielle Macdonald). Any mom who loves a heartfelt story of reconciliation and the music of Dolly Parton will fall head-over-heels for this flick.
This coming-of-age comedy starring Emma Stone is about a high school girl dealing with the stigma of her rumored sexual exploits, and it primarily focuses on Stone’s hijinks and drama with her fellow students. However, it makes the list because Patricia Clarkson and Stanley Tucci play Stone’s amazing mom and dad, and they are simply the two greatest onscreen parents in recent movie memory. Their family dynamic is a delight and their parent-child relationship is truly something to aspire to.
Terms of Endearment
One of the most celebrated and timeless films about a complicated yet loving mother-daughter bond is this 1983 dramedy starring Shirley MacLaine as Aurora, a widowed mother who has a challenging and deeply human relationship with her daughter, Emma (Debra Winger). It also happens to be one of Hollywood’s most notorious tearjerkers, so make sure you and your mom have enough tissues stashed in your respective pandemic bunkers.
This teen high school comedy — which is also Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut — tells the story of two overachieving best friends, Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) and Molly (Beanie Feldstein), who try to make up for sacrificing their social lives for their studies with one final, crazy night of partying, awkward sexual escapades and unintentional emotional growth. While this one is less about the bond between mothers and their kids (although, Lisa Kudrow does drop in with a hilarious master class in supportive parenting alongside Will Forte), it’s an all-around fantastic film that will remind moms how confusing and confounding it is to be a teenager, in any era.
A Quiet Place
For moms who love horror movies, this tense, alien-invasion thriller is all about a family doing whatever they can to stay alive in a world overrun by monsters who track you based on sound. Essentially, the horror lies in parents needing to get their children to just be quiet for a while. Starring Emily Blunt and John Krasinski (who also co-wrote and directed the acclaimed film), A Quiet Place really celebrates the unimaginable commitment and sacrifices mothers make for their children, and how far parents will go to keep their kids safe. And also, it’s got super-scary aliens, so that’s always fun.