10 not-to-miss Mother’s Day films to watch

(What is your fave Mother’s Day movie?)

Mother’s Day is this Sunday, May 9, 2021. Everyone experiences Mother’s day differently. Some enjoy bringing their mom breakfast in bed, or taking mom out for a nice dinner, while others might find the day a bit triggering because of unresolved mommy trauma drama.

For Reel 360, it’s an excuse to come up with a top ten list of movies to watch on Mother’s Day!

10. Mommy Dearest

Nothing can make your mom look like the most awesome mom on the planet better than watching Faye Dunaway’s terrifying portrayal of Joan Crawford.

If you want to feel better about your own mommy trauma drama, look no further than Mommy Dearest and remember, NO WIRE HANGERS EVER!!!

9. Yes Day

Yes Day stars one of America’s sweethearts, Jennifer Garner and Latinx heartthrob Edgar Ramirez as the once uber cool multicultural couple who said “yes” to everything and became parents who found themselves saying “no” to everything their children requested.

After multiple complaints about mom to school officials, a therapist recommends allowing a “Yes day.” Shenanigans ensue and everyone realizes that mom really is always right!

8. Mamma Mia

Yes, this is basically a really pretty music video of a bunch of ABBA songs set and filmed in picturesque Greece, but it’s a Mother’s Day film because Academy award winner Meryl Streep’s character Donna has a secret and her daughter Sophie (Academy Award nominee Amanda Seyfried) is determined to discover the truth by discerning who her father really is. Possible daddies are played by Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, and Stellan Skarsgard. 

7. Crazy Rich Asians

Crazy Rich Asians is another absolutely beautiful movie, but is basically just another variation of the old Pride and Prejudice story. Beautiful and wealthy only son of an overbearing and controlling mom brings home a not-so-wealthy “commoner” with intentions of making her his bride.

Mom doesn’t approve and Rachel (Constance Wu) has to prove herself to her boyfriend’s (Henry Golding) entire family. Let’s not forget, Awkwafina and Ken Jeong are also in the film to lend their comedic prowess. 

6. Soul Food

Soul Food boasts an incredible cast including Nia Long, Vanessa Williams, Vivica A. Fox, Mekhi Pfifer, Michael Beach, and Babyface, just to name a few.

Soul Food makes the list because this family story shows us how important the family matriarch is to everyone else when she falls into a coma during an operation, leaving the entire family reeling in her absence. The story is seen through the eyes of “Big Mama’s” young grandson, Ahmad. 

5. Postcards From the Edge

What’s not to love about a mom and daughter film written by Carrie Fisher (and Oliver Stone and Ron Kovic), based on her semi-autobiographical novel of the same name, starring Meryl Streep as Suzanne Vale and Shirly MacLaine as Doris Mann.

The film explores the difficult relationship between a huge star and her struggling daughter. 

4. Freaky Friday

The “Freaky Friday” trope has been popular for decades, but this one takes the cake. How else can you truly understand what your mom has to worry about and stress over better than literally trading places with her?

Jamie Lee Curtis plays Lindsey Lohan’s daughter and the two accidentally make a wish that makes them trade bodies. Mom is trapped in teen daughter Anna’s body and vice versa. The two learn more about each other than ever anticipated and form a new and deeper bond than ever before. 

3. The Color Purple

No, The Color Purple isn’t exactly the first movie you think of when you think of a family movie, however the last tear-jerking scene is one of the most emotional mother and child reunions to have ever hit the big screen. This movie made the list, as well as the top three because of that one absolutely beautiful and gut wrenching scene.

The movie stars Whoopi Goldberg as the main character, Celie who’s infants were taken from her shortly after the teen gave birth and she wondered what happened to those babies for decades before ultimately finding out. 

2. The Joy Luck Club

Based on the book by the same name, The Joy Luck Club follows 4 Asian women as they tell their stories through a series of 16 vignettes which spans generations and continents. 

Ming-Na Wen, Tamlyn Tomita, Lauren Tom, Rosalind Chao star as the daughters of the four older women and the film chronicles their relationships with their mothers as well as how they navigate through their romantic relationships in America.

The Joy Luck Club is about the aspirations mothers have for their children. 

1. Steel Magnolias

Sally Field’s impassioned monologue on her daughter’s grave captures the epitome of a mother’s love for her children. We recently lost Olympia Dukakis, who played Clairee in the film and she co starred with Shirley MacLane, Julia Roberts, Dolly Parton, Daryl Hannah, Tom Skerritt, and Dylan McDermott. If you could only watch one movie from this list, THIS is the movie. Don’t forget the tissues because you’re gonna need them! 

These are the top ten movies, but when compiling this list we discovered quite a few more films that fit with the theme, so if you really want to kill some time and watch a ton of movies with or without your mom and you’ve already burned through the list, you can check these out: Mother’s Day, Lady Bird, Mermaids, Riding in Cars with Boys, Dumplin, Akeelah and the Bee, Daughters of the Dust, Terms of Endearment and Monster in law.

Mother’s Day means different things to different people and whether or not you view this holiday as an awesome day, we’ve provided you with an eclectic list of films that have something to do with motherhood, some good and some bad.

Regardless of how you internalize this holiday, we wish you a Happy Mother’s Day! 


Joia DaVida reports on the entertainment industry in both Chicago and Los Angeles.