mother and son sitting on couch watching a movie
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17 Movies To Watch With Your Son On Mother’s Day

They’ll make you want to give your son an extra squeeze.

Originally Published: 

There’s nothing like a good movie to clear the mind. And with Mother’s Day inching closer, #boymoms just might find themselves turning to a Netflix movies about mothers and sons to indulge all the feels. Don’t fight the instinct to settle in for an emotive movie session. It’s therapeutic.

And while you could reach for your old standbys like Stepmom or The Blindside, Netflix has a host of films you might not have seen before that are just as touching, challenging, and thought provoking. From Netflix originals like Otherhood, a playful look at life after boys grow up and leave the nest to an international documentary on Franca Sozzani, the Italian Vogue editor created by her filmmaker son, there are unique and thoughtful films out there worth your time.

Why deep dive into your feelings surrounding mother-son relationships? Because it’s such a unique, special, tricky, gut-wrenching, at times hilarious, and heartbreaking thing. And seeing your own life experiences play out on the silver screen can make moms feel not so alone in their own journey raising a son or sons. So go ahead and carve out a few hours to experience these movies. They might just make you appreciate your little boy even more.


Finding O’Hana

In this children’s adventure film, a single mother brings her son and daughter back to Hawaii when her father suffers a heart attack. There the kids find adventure but on their hunt for buried treasure, they stretch the limits of their mother’s patience.


Bigfoot Family

Here’s a film you can watch with your son. In this cartoon a boy discovers that not only is his Dad Bigfoot, but he has the same powers as well. When the boy’s dad decides to use his fame to protect a wildlife preserve from big oil drilling in Alaska, he and his mom journey to rescue him.



What’s a mom to do when her boy is all grown up and has seemingly forgotten her? Remind him, that’s what. This comedy-drama starring Angela Bassett, Patricia Arquette and Felicity Huffman takes a humorous and heartfelt look at what it means to be a mama when your boy has grown and flown.


Other People

Another movie that looks at a mother and son dealing with a cancer diagnosis, this one stars Saturday Night Live’s Molly Shannon and her son Jesse Plemons (of Friday Night Lights fame) as he returns from his start-up career in comedy to take care of his dying mother. Expect laughter through your tears on this one.


Hidden in Plain Sight

What lengths would you go to protect your child? That’s the premise of this indie film about a mother who fakes her own death and her son’s to escape an abusive partner.



Cruel parenting is the topic of this mother/son movie from Japan. How can a son manage to thrive while being raised by a suffocating mother with ulterior motives? You’ll have to see to find out.


American Son

Race, biracial marriage, and social commentary on police brutality are all interwoven in this emotional film about a couple whose son has gone missing. As they peel back the onion, they discover their son and two Black friends were pulled over by a police officer. Later, a bystander video shows an officer shooting at a fleeing suspect, and the true devastation of the situation is revealed.


20th Century Women

Raising a young boy into a man is and has always been a challenge for mothers of any generation, as this movie shows. Starring Annette Bening as a single mom trying to raise an only son, she turns to two unique but wildly different young women (Greta Gerwig and Elle Fanning) for help.


Notes for my Son

Break out the tissue box, this 2020 Argentinian drama is a real tearjerker. In it a mom suffering from cancer decides to write a one-of-a-kind notebook so that her four-year-old will remember her after she dies.


Hillbilly Elegy

Whether you read J. D. Vance’s memoir of the same name, a book that looked at wealth inequality, drug addiction, family, and his fight to break beyond this Appalachian upbringing, you can still appreciate the mother-son story of this film. Vance and his mother (played by Amy Adams) must navigate their relationship in spite of her addictions, a heart wrenching portrait of unconditional love.


Shonar Pahar

Can an elderly Indian woman’s broken relationship with her own son be mended through the help of an unlikely friendship with a 7-year-old boy? That’s what this emotional tale, based loosely on the screenwriter’s real life, examines.


Searching for Bobby Fischer

This is an oldy, but it’s worth revisiting. Bobby Fischer was a chess prodigy. But the movie isn’t about Bobby, it’s about another boy, Josh, with equally remarkable chess abilities and the lengths his parents will go to develop them, something every mother has certainly asked herself.


Franca: Chaos and Creation

What’s it like to grow up the son of the Italian Vogue editor? You can find out by watching this documentary by Franca Sozzani’s son, Francesco Carrozzini. Spurred on after the death of his father, he decides there’s only one way to find out more about his mother: ask.


Marriage Story

Take Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver and put them in a movie together and it’s almost guaranteed to be great. But Marriage Story is especially poignant because it’s all about the grief of divorce and what that means for a son stuck in the middle of it all.


The Fundamentals of Caring

Paul Rudd becomes the caretaker for a teen with disabilities and in doing so we see the trying and touching relationship the young man has with his overwhelmed mother. Inspirational and humorous, you won’t have to blow your nose the entire time.


The Dig

An emotional tale about a mother and son tucked into a story all about an extraordinary archeological dig, this based-on-real life film will leave you clutching your heart in its final moments and looking to give your boy a big hug.


The Impossible

If you prefer your emotive film moments with an additional dash of high impact thrill, then consider The Impossible all about the 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia. Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts play parents of three boys who must navigate this harrowing experience to find safety.

The beauty of watching film depictions of some of the toughest and most touching times in a mother-son relationship is you can turn the movie off at the end and then go live your real life with your own boy, having learned a greater truth along the way. Now go give your son a big ol’ squeeze.