When it comes to motherhood, there are no right or wrong answers. These films depict the complexities of motherhood, both as a mother and as a daughter.
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On Mother’s Day, it’s lovely. Mother’s Day is a difficult holiday. There are many who celebrate it, and there are others who find it a bitter reminder of the loss of a loved one or the breakup of a long-term relationship.
Hence, “excellent Mother’s Day movie” has a wide range of interpretations. It’s no surprise, however, that Hollywood has been churning out movies about moms and their children for decades—some heartfelt, some inspiring, and others downright terrifying.
1. 20th Century Women (2016)
The semi-autobiographical film 20th Century Women by Mike Mills is like a soundtrack to the year it takes place, 1979. To be sure, the film also features fictional portrayals of Annette Bening and Greta Gerwig as the ladies who raised him. Despite the gulfs separating them and the things that unite them, the three realizes that their ties with one another are the only thing that keeps them going. Modern women of the 20th century are depicted in 20th century women, an intergenerational drama that’s light on its feet and witty as well as evocative with a dash of creative flair.
2. Black Swan (2010)
A horror picture about a dancer who is gradually losing her grip on reality, Black Swan is, of course. The film is about a woman named Nina (played by Natalie Portman) who is yearning to get away from her ballet mum Erica (played by Meryl Streep) (Barbara Hershey). Nina’s life is governed by Erica, who wants her daughter to carry out her own ambitions by dictating what she eats, who she talks to, and how she spends her time. Throughout the film, there are hints that Nina’s real desire is to get rid of the pieces of Erica that lie within her symbolically or a little more physically.
3. Daughters of the Dust (1991)
Daughters of the Dust, directed by an African American woman, opened in theaters in 1991 as the first film of its kind in the United States. Three generations of women on South Carolina’s St. Helena Island are prepared to travel north in this film written and directed by Julie Dash. To tell its story, which features the intertwining stories of several women, the film was widely hailed as a lyrical work that mixed rich words with sumptuous sights and song.
4. Goodnight Mommy (2014)
Suppose your mother… didn’t exist. A chilling horror film, Goodnight Mommy leaves the viewer with this unanswered question. Their mother’s face is covered in bandages as her twin 9-year-old sons greet her at the door. As a result, they begin to believe that she isn’t actually their mother at all. After that, things really start to get out of hand. Goodnight Mommy isn’t for the squeamish, but if you’re in the mood for a good scare, it’s a must-see.
5. Imitation of Life (1959)
Meredith (Lana Turner) and Susie (Sandra Dee) are two single mothers and their daughters in Douglas Sirk’s Imitation of Life, the second big-screen adaptation of Fannie Hurst’s 1933 novel of the same name. Annie and Sarah Jane (Juanita Moore) are the other two (played as a teen by Susan Kohner). Annie, a black woman, takes care of Susie while Meredith, a white woman, strives to be a famous actress. Because Sarah Jane is so fair-skinned, she might easily be mistaken for a white person. As a result, tensions between the two families intensify as Meredith’s fame increases and the children mature. Imitation of Life is a melodrama about the complicated connections between mothers and daughters, but it’s also a film about racial inequality.
6. Lady Bird (2017)
To understand Lady Bird’s story, one must first understand the importance of family. However, her mother is also at home. They have a strained relationship: Lady Bird (Saoirse Ronan) rarely does what she’s meant to, and Marion (Laurie Metcalf) is worn thin by love and worry that emerges as sniping at Lady Bird. It’s impossible to watch a moment in which Marion sends off her daughter at the airport without reflecting on your own connection with your mother, and Laurie Metcalf’s portrayal in that scene may be one of the best of her career.
7. Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018)
It was Sophie’s (Amanda Seyfried) search for her father’s identity in the first Mamma Mia! movie; in the sequel, the focus shifts to Sophie’s (Meryl Streep) late mother Donna. While pregnant, Sophie considers her mother’s life (Lily James plays a younger Donna), her grandma Ruby (Cher), and ABBA, of course. In the end, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again is both ridiculous and heartwarming, and if you’ve shed a few tears, you’ve done it right.
8. Mother (2009)
Korean director Bong Joon-ho created the narrative of a mother who will do anything to clear her son’s name in 2009, 10 years before the publication of his Oscar-winning Parasite. The mother, played by Kim Hye-ja, is a widow who adores her mentally handicapped son Do-joon (Won Bin). Do-joon is caught for the murder of a girl one night, and he is compelled to confess. Do-mother joon’s embarks on a mission to find the truth and free her son. The plot, on the other hand, is convoluted and shocking, and it comes to an unsettling conclusion. It’s a thrill ride with Bong’s trademark blend of gore and hilarity.
9. Mother! (2017)
With so much going on beneath the surface, it’s difficult to pick a single topic that represents what Mother! “means.” Apocalyptic literature, like other stories of the apocalypse, is meant to expose us to what’s truly going on in our world. And that’s when the film goes off the deep end: Is its joyous deconstruction of old beliefs not enough to pique your interest? If so, the film’s depiction of anarchy is likely to. In addition to the titular mother’s multiple layers (as you could have guessed), Anguish, euphoria, and a sense of release are all part of the movie’s goal, as is a sense of astonishment.
10. News From Home (1977)
When Chantal Akerman was in her early twenties and living in New York City, her mother sent her letters between 1971 and 1973, when she was in their native Belgium and Akerman was in her early twenties and living in New York City. Many of the letters are begging her to call, write, or come home more frequently. However, they aren’t immediately linked to the visuals onscreen, but we can clearly understand what Akerman was seeing while she rehearsed her mother. Who hasn’t lived away from home long enough to experience the tug of a mother’s pride and trepidation at letting her adult child go off on their own?
12. Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
One of Mia Farrow’s best performances, Rosemary’s Baby tells the story of what occurs when your baby is kidnapped and sacrificed by satanists. A horror film about being kidnapped by the devil may perhaps be the subject matter of this film. Pregnancy may be terrifying, especially when a woman feels that her body is being taken over by a foreign entity and is subjected to unwanted advice from family, friends, and complete strangers. This film captures the terror of a pregnant woman’s experience. Even if you’ve never experienced pregnancy firsthand, Rosemary’s Baby’s emotional depiction of the event is impossible to overlook.
13. Terms of Endearment (1983)
Terms of Endearment, starring Shirley MacLaine as Aurora Greenway and winning five Academy Awards (including Best Picture), is a timeless film about a mother-daughter relationship (Debra Winger). Widowed Aurora is protective of her daughter, Emma, and avoids dating in order to spend as much time as possible with her. The video follows the lives of these two people over the course of several decades, capturing both their happy and sad moments. A classic film about moms and daughters, it’s full of humor and heartbreak in equal measure.