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Terms of Endearment
Terms of Endearment

Best Mother’s Day movies to watch

Check out one of these quintessential Mother’s Day movies, which include uplifting classics, tear-jerkers and more

Joshua Rothkopf
Written by
Joshua Rothkopf
&
Dan Morgridge
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If you’re asking yourself: ‘What should I stream on Mother’s Day?’, you’ve come to the right place. Consider watching one of these ace Mother’s Day movies, which range from lighthearted comedies and moving dramas to fun animated family fare and campy throwbacks. If you still haven’t gotten that lucky lady in your life something (for shame), check out our round-ups of some excellent cheap flower delivery services and chocolate shops that deliver in the USA. Happy Mother’s Day, all! 

RECOMMENDED: 100 best movies of all time

Movies to watch on Mother’s Day

  • Film
  • Comedy

Greta Gerwig wrote and directed this semi-autobiographical stunner about a chatty Sacramento teen (an arresting Saoirse Ronan) who yearns to be anywhere but home and spends her days quarreling with her equally strong-willed mother (an invincible Laurie Metcalf). Prediction: Just as there’s a Breakfast Club Generation, there will be a Lady Bird one.

Terms of Endearment (1983)
  • Film

James L. Brooks’s mother-daughter melodrama plays like a three-season television series condensed into just over two hours. Shockingly, that’s a positive. You will be crying by the end. We’ll countenance no criticism of Shirley MacLaine or Debra Winger, both of whom crack the pantheon of indelible performances.

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The Incredibles (2004)
  • Film
  • Animation

What do you get when you combine the director of The Iron Giant, the genius animation of powerhouse Pixar and a witty story about a dysfunctional family of superheroes? An instant whiz-bang classic. Holly Hunter’s rubber-limbed mom, Elastigirl, steals the show with her chirpy, upbeat optimism. You will recognize this parent.

Freaky Friday (2003)
  • Film

The 1976 original lures our nostalgic hearts, but this 2003 remake was a rare example of Hollywood improving on the source. Much of the success should be attributed to a ferociously funny Jamie Lee Curtis, underrated as a comedian, who cuts loose with snarling teenage abandon. She even got some serious awards buzz.

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Aliens (1986)
  • Film
  • Science fiction

It’s a franchise replete with mommy imagery, from unlikely births, pregnancies and eggs, to even the name of the computer, Mother. For this superb sequel, James Cameron replaces the creepy horror of the original with gung-ho militarism, which makes an effective counterpoint to survivor Ripley’s growing maternal feelings for a terrified orphan.

The Kids Are All Right (2010)
  • Film

Director Lisa Cholodenko’s indie family drama drops a dopey sperm donor (Mark Ruffalo) into the lives of a comfortable lesbian couple (Annette Bening and Julianne Moore, both wonderful) and watches the relationship seismically shudder. Apart from being gay positive, it’s a movie with two great moms, not one.

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Places in the Heart (1984)
  • Film

You’ll like it! You’ll really like it! Fortunately, Sally Field’s performance in this evocative portrait of small-town life is a good deal more subtle and restrained than her notorious Oscar acceptance speech. As a Depression-era widow beating back the bank’s advances on her Texas cotton farm, Field is as inspiring as mothers get—just like yours.

Mask (1985)
  • Film

Cher won raves for her portrayal of Florence “Rusty” Dennis, the saucy, drug-addicted motorcycle mom of a skull-deformed teenage son played by Eric Stoltz. Peter Bogdanovich’s heartstring-tugging drama doesn’t shy away from Rusty’s flaws even as it exalts her devotion to her child’s well-being.

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The Fighter (2010)
  • Film

Don’t go head-to-head with the Massachusetts mauler, or you’ll get the taste pounded out of you—and no, we’re not referring to Mark Wahlberg or Christian Bale. Boxing manager Melissa Leo beats up her husband, disciplines frizzy-haired intruders (“What are you doing opening your mouth in my kitchen?”) and fiercely protects her turf.

Gloria (1980)
  • Film

Gena Rowlands is a tough-as-nails mob moll whose maternal instinct kicks in when a young boy is targeted by some thugs. It’s almost as if director John Cassavetes had written this role as a valentine to his actor wife; even though this crime story is far from perfect, it proves once and for all that Rowlands is a national treasure.

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Mommie Dearest (1981)
  • Film

If your mother is remotely like ours, she won’t mind watching Faye Dunaway get unhinged in this camp classic. (Afterward, she’ll be able to say, “Well, I’m not that bad.”) Don’t be surprised if she knows much of the dialogue: “No…wire…hangers…ever!!!” “You don’t deserve nice things!!!” “Eat that steak or you’ll have it for breakfast, young lady!!!”

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