Mother’s Day is this Sunday, in case you’ve lost track of the days, and it’s the perfect time to curl up on the couch with a classic mother/daughter movie.
It’s one of our favorite genres, and the movies can be heartwarming or heartbreaking, hopeful or tragic, but they’re relatable for anyone who’s ever had a complex relationship with their mom.
From “Little Women” to “The Joy Luck Club,” we rounded up six films that celebrate the mother/daughter bond that you should watch this weekend, whether you are quarantined with your mom or not.
If you love classic literature: ‘Little Women’
In Greta Gerwig’s 2019 Oscar-nominated adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s novel, Marmee (Laura Dern) is her girls’ moral compass, a woman who will donate the coat right off of her back. But she’s still a real person; a real mom. How can you tell? Because she reveals to her rambunctious daughter Jo (Saoirse Ronan) that she struggles to keep it together. “I’m angry nearly every day of my life,” Marmee memorably admits.
If you’re a Millennial with a complicated mom: ‘Lady Bird’
Another one of Gerwig’s Oscar-nominated movies, “Lady Bird,” may be a little too real for anyone who grew up in the age of “Cry Me a River” and flip phones. Ronan (again) plays the titular teen girl (she gave the name “Lady Bird” to herself) who has a fraught relationship with her mom (Laurie Metcalf) during her senior year of high school. The visceral, beautiful movie is deeply affecting, and nails the complicated way mothers and daughters express their love.
If you want to ugly-cry: ‘The Joy Luck Club’
Another entry in the category of “mothers and daughters don’t understand each other,” the adaptation of Amy Tan’s classic novel takes a more generational perspective to the cracks in its characters’ relationships. The film centers around four Chinese women who immigrated to America and their daughters, whose perspectives on the world are deeply affected by being second-generation immigrants.
If you and your mom have different ideas about your future: ‘Real Women Have Curves’
This underrated 2002 gem is both a great mother/daughter story and America Ferrera’s debut role. Sixteen years later, the film about a young woman who aspires to greater heights than her mother thinks she can reach still holds up, with fantastic performances and social issues that remain relevant.
If you want something Pixar: ‘Brave’
Even a Disney princess has fights with her mom. This sweet and heartwarming Pixar tale gives us a different kind of princess and a different kind of adventure. Merida (voiced by Kelly MacDonald) refuses to buy into the prescribed role for women in her medieval Scottish life, clashing with her traditional mother. Some high jinks and a beastly curse help the pair understand each other better.
If you love Cher: ‘Mermaids’
Set in the 1960s, this film stars Cher as an eccentric single mom raising her two daughters (young Winona Ryder and Christina Ricci) who have different fathers, while continuing to date and live her life. It’s one of Cher’s best performances and a funnier take on the genre.