If you’ve already gifted breakfast in bed, brunch, flowers and/or subbing in on the chores this Mother’s Day but are still looking for a way to celebrate your mom, watching a movie you all can enjoy is a great option.
Whether it’s a movie with a great movie mom (or a not-so-great mom that will make you appreciate yours even more), here are some of our picks for Mother’s Day movies and where you can stream them right now.
Movies on Disney Plus
Queen of Katwe (2016)
Queen of Katwe is a lovely gem of a film. Based on a true story, the movie follows a young Ugandan girl (Madina Nalwanga) who proves to be a talented chess player, with all-too-important support from her mother (Lupita Nyong’o) and teacher (David Oyelowo).
Other Disney Plus picks:
- Cheaper by the Dozen (2003/2022): Take your pick of Cheaper by the Dozen movies, starring either Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt or Zach Braff and Gabrielle Union.
- Dumbo (1941): There’s perhaps no better display of motherly affection in movie history than Dumbo’s mom cradling the baby elephant from behind a cage while "Baby Mine" is sung. I’m not crying, you’re crying.
- The Parent Trap (1961/1998): Another viewers’ choice, in this classic story a pair of estranged twins meeting and then scheming to get their parents back together.
- The Sound of Music (1965): Julie Andrews’ Maria von Trapp sings, makes clothes and evades the Nazis. It’s an all-time classic people, we shouldn’t have to bang the drum too loudly for this one.
Movies on HBO Max
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
Who says your mom doesn’t like action movies? Not only is Terminator 2 one of the best summer blockbusters and sequels ever, but it also features an all-time great screen mom with Linda Hamilton’s Sarah Connor, who is ready for anything to protect her son, including a shapeshifting killbot from the future.
Other HBO Max picks:
- Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (2002): An all-star cast of Sandra Bullock, Ellen Burstyn, Maggie Smith, Cherry Jones, Shirley Knight and Ashley Judd lead this tale of a daughter learning more about her mother and her wild adventures when she was younger.
- Real Women Have Curves (2002): America Ferrera’s breakout role sees her playing a teenager who struggles between her ambitions of going to college and those of her mother to settle down and oversee the family business.
- Sense and Sensibility (1995): Jane Austen and Emma Thompson make for a fantastic pairing in this adaptation of the classic novel that focuses on the two eldest Dashwood daughters (Thompson and Kate Winslet) as they approach the circumstances of their life differently.
- This Is 40 (2012): After being scene stealers in Knocked Up, Leslie Mann and Paul Rudd took the lead with this comedy about how life changes as you hit 40. An extra bit of fun, Mann starred alongside her actual daughters, Maude and Iris Apatow.
Movies on Hulu
Postcards from the Edge (1990)
Meryl Streep alone makes Postcards from the Edge a pretty good pick. The fact she stars alongside Shirley MacLaine in a Mike Nichols movie, based on Carrie Fisher's book about her relationship with her legendary actress mother, Debbie Reynolds, is the icing on the cake.
Other Hulu picks:
- Erin Brockovich (2000): Julia Robert’s Oscar-winning role is a force to be reckoned with who helps a community take on a major power company; a story inspired by a real person.
- The Farewell (2019): Grandmas deserve some love on Mother’s Day too and The Farewell’s Nai Nai is one of the best on-screen grandmas we can think of.
- Soul Food (1997): Vanessa Williams, Vivica A. Fox and Nia Long star in the dramedy about a family structure upended when the matriarch goes into a coma.
- Terms of Endearment (1983): The ultimate mother/daughter cry movie from James L. Brooks stars Shirley MacLaine and Debra Winger. It has the Oscar Best Picture trophy to back that claim up, by the way.
Movies on Netflix
Ok, so this isn’t a movie, but the mother/daughter relationship between Laura Graham’s Lorelai and Alexis Bledel’s Rory is beloved by an entire generation and could definitely be an ideal watch to celebrate your mom on her day.
Other Netflix picks:
- The Blind Side (2009): Sandra Bullock won her Oscar for playing the tough as nails adoptive mother of future NFL player Michael Oher.
- Forrest Gump (1994): Sally Field’s Mrs. Gump gave Forrest (and us) plenty of great advice — remember, "life is like a box of chocolates" — easily putting her into the movie mom’s hall of fame.
- Monster-in-Law (2005): This falls under the category of "aren’t you glad your mom isn’t like this," although when the mom in question is Jane Fonda, we may have to think for a minute.
- Raising Dion: Though sadly it recently made the canceled shows list after two seasons, Raising Dion is a charming story of a single mother raising her superpowered kid. Well regarded by critics, it’s definitely worth a try.
Movies on Prime Video
Mamma Mia! (2008)
Mamma Mia! is a joyous affair that will have you toe-tapping (if not outright getting up and dancing) to the songs of ABBA, skillfully sung by Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried and (a bit less successfully) Pierce Brosnan. If you have Hulu you can make it a double feature with Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.
Other Prime Video picks:
- A League of Their Own (1992): Geena Davis, Lori Petty, Madonna and Tom Hanks make up one of the great movie baseball teams, the Rockford Peaches. There’s no crying in baseball because this movie is so enjoyable.
- A Quiet Place Part II (2021): When you get past the monsters that are looking to kill you if you make the slightest sound, A Quiet Place Part II is about a mother (Emily Blunt) doing what she can to protect and keep her family together.
- Herself (2020): Clare Dunne leads this empowering story of a single mother who, in an effort to create a safe home for her kids, sets out to build her own house.
- Steel Magnolias (1989): What a cast for this story of a group of friends in a small Louisiana town — Sally Field, Olympia Dukakis, Shirley MacLaine, Julia Roberts, Dolly Parton, Daryl Hannah, Tom Skerritt, Sam Shepard and Dylan McDermott.
Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Peaky Blinders, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Saturday Night Live, Only Murders in the Building and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun.
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