Movies for Mother’s Day

movies for mother's day
movies for mother's day

By Jonathan Decker (Family therapist, film critic)

For moms everywhere, here are my favorite examples of cinematic maternal love. Here’s my favorite movies for Mother’s Day.

These titles are mostly all available to stream on VidAngel. 

BACK TO THE FUTURE

movies for mother's day

What if you could travel back in time and see your parents as teenagers? Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) jumps from 1985 to 1955 and is stunned that his conservative mother (Leah Thompson) was much more like him as a teenager than she lets on. Although the idea of your mom temporarily falling for you instead of your dad is kind of creepy, the resolution is terrific. For all the fun and fantasy, the heart of the film is Marty’s thrill of watching his parents fall in love, something many of us hear about but never got to see. Rated PG for some language and innuendo.

BELLA

movies for mother's day

This touching, under-seen gem is an independent film about a pregnant single waitress debating whether or not to have an abortion. A day of blossoming friendship with an ex-soccer star brings healing to them both. A beautiful, well-acted story that celebrates family, faith, life, and Hispanic culture. Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and disturbing images, but there’s nothing offensive here.

 

THE BLIND SIDE

movies for mother's day

Sandra Bullock deserves the Oscar she won for her performance as the adopted mother of a troubled but loving teenager. She balances strength and vulnerability, sweetness and toughness, and finds fascinating nuances to her character in this true story. This is uplifting stuff. Rated PG-13 for a few moderate profanities and thematic elements.

BRAVE 

movies for mother's day

 

Disney-Pixar’s Scottish fable is, at its core, the story of an estranged mother and her daughter reconnecting. Moving and funny.

DUMBO

movies for mother's day

The “Baby of Mine” song? I mean, come on! It made me cry as a kid and it does the same to me now. Dumbo is one of Disney’s most tender films, with the story revolving around Dumbo returning to his mother. A true classic. Rated G.

 

EIGHT-LEGGED FREAKS

Kari Wuhrer plays a butt-kicking mother who saves her daughter (Scarlett Johanssen) from giant spiders in this fun B-movie.

 

FINDING NEVERLAND

movies for mother's day

Kate Winslet is wonderful as the mother of the children who inspired J.M. Barrie’s (Johnny Depp) Peter Pan. This is a tearjerker, to be sure, but it’s a fine one. Winslet’s love for her kids drives the story. Rated PG for thematic elements.

FORREST GUMP

movies for mother's day

 

Sally Field delights as a devoted mother of young Forrest, a mentally challenged boy who accomplishes great things largely because she believed in him. This is a modern classic, though it has a good deal of language and sexuality, so maybe don’t watch with the kids. Rated PG-13.

THE INCREDIBLES

movies for mother's day

Holly Hunter’s protective and feisty mother is, to this day, one of my all-time favorite superheroes on film. As Elastigirl, she risks everything for her husband and kids, and kicks some serious butt to boot. Funny, clever, and action-packed. Rated PG.

 

LITTLE WOMEN

movies for mother's day

Susan Sarandon’s performance anchors this solid adaptation of the classic novel. Through war and poverty, her love and strength keep the family together. Rated PG for mild language.

MAN OF STEEL

movies for mother's day

With so much going on in Zack Snyder’s Superman reboot, audiences might overlook the strong maternal connection between Clark and his adoptive mother. However, it’s arguably the film’s emotional core. She’s the one who helps him to overcome his childhood fear of his powers, and she’s his anchor as an adult.

THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST

Though the film is difficult to watch, some critics have overlooked that there is tremendous beauty, compassion, and love in this film to contrast the pain and anguish. Jim Caviezel is excellent as Jesus, but so is that of Romanian actress Maia Morgenstern, who gives an unforgettable performance as Mary. Many actors, in portraying the mother of God, overact and bawl unconvincingly. Morgenstern on the other hand, reigns it in and breaks the audience’s heart because she’s trying to be strong as she witnesses her son’s suffering. A scene where she pushes through the mob to get to Jesus as he carries his cross is the most beautifully sad moment I’ve ever seen in a film. Rated R for brutal violence (whipping, beating, and crucifixion).

 

RAISING ARIZONA

movies for mother's day

Holly Hunter again, this time in what is one of my all-time favorite comedic performances. She plays a naive police officer who falls for a redneck criminal (Nicolas Cage, back when he had discernment in picking roles) in this quirky comedy by the Coen Brothers.. When the couple discovers that they can’t have children, they rather innocently decide to kidnap one of a wealthy couples’ quintuplets. Hunter’s baby-hungry portrayal is truly hilarious. Rated PG-13 for language and some innuendo.

 

THE SOUND OF MUSIC

movies for mother's day

One of cinema’s greatest musicals has Julie Andrews as a loving and inspiring surrogate mother of sorts for the Von Trap children, helping them to open up and strengthening them when WWII hits. Not to be missed by any movie buff. Rated G.

TARZAN

movies for mother's day

Disney’s take on the classic story plays up, to memorable effect, Tarzan’s relationship with his gorilla “mother,” who raised him after his parents’ death. This mother-son pairing gave us the tune “You’ll Be in My Heart.”

 

TERMINATOR 2: JUDGEMENT DAY

movies for mother's day

What?! Why is a sci-fi movie about a killer cyborg on this list? Because, not only is T2 one of the all-time great action films, as directed by James Cameron (Titanic, Avatar) it has a solid story and packs a surprising emotional punch. Linda Hamilton is the definitive tough mother, taking it as her mission to protect her son and prepare him to be the future defender of the human race. It’s actually quite moving, in a non-sentimental way. Note: this one is rated R.

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