Mother's Day

25 Movies You Won’t Regret Watching On Mother’s Day

Obviously you should get the tissues ready.

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It’s hard to put what motherhood is into words. Poets have tried, songwriters have penned tunes, but perhaps the best medium that depicts motherhood accurately is film — all the more reason to settle in with one of these Mother’s Day movies with your loved ones this year.

Full of heart and humor, these flicks personify the mother’s experience, from its frustrations to its epiphanies, failures to wins. Who can’t relate to Shelley Long’s hilarious mom determination as a Troop Beverly Hills Wilderness Girls leader committed to helping her feckless scouts win the Jamboree? Or the heartache of a mom losing her daughter in Steel Magnolias? Or the plight of Maya Rudolph’s character in Away We Go as she and her husband (played by John Krasinski) search to find a home to raise their new baby?

The best Mother’s Day movies will hone in on a specific yet universal part of motherhood familiar to mamas the world over — from the surprises of a new baby to the challenges of raising an angsty tween — then mine it for laughs and poignant pauses. And if watching something a Mother’s Day movie like that doesn’t sound incredibly therapeutic this holiday, what does?

We’ve put together an assortment of movies you can watch with your little ones to teens (and we’ve included ratings for all of them so you’ll know which is which). So pop some popcorn, grab some Junior Mints, and snuggle in for a little screen time that’s all about the all too familiar #momlife.


Sound of Music

A musical that’s also a story of surrogate motherhood, the iconic Sound of Music is always a great Mother’s Day movie. Try not to sing along. Just try. Impossible. Perhaps what makes this film so compelling is the idea that here’s Captain Von Trapp and his brood of seven children with no one to look after them. Then along comes Maria who throws their world wide open. It speaks to the power an adopted mother can have on a family, in the 1930s and today. With the backdrop of WWII, the story is all the more touching.

Stream Sound of Music, rated G, on Disney+.


Parent Trap (1961)

You can’t include a list about motherhood without the 1961 classic Parent Trap. Starring a young Hayley Mills, this beloved movie is about what happens when two twins, separated at birth, find each other and plot to bring their divorced parents back together. With fabulous sets, including a tony girl’s camp, London, and California, this movie is brimming with nostalgia that’s hard to pass up. And while it might be a difficult plot to buy, the charm of Mills, along with her parents played by Maureen O’Hara and Brian Keith, makes this a great Mother’s Day movie.

Stream Parent Trap, rated G, on Disney+.


Parent Trap (1998)


Naturally, it wouldn’t be fair to include the original Parent Trap without mentioning the 1998 remake starring Lindsay Lohan. Cast as both twins, Lohan’s megawatt charm is in full force in this darling reboot. She’s even got a convincing British accent. For the most part, the plot is entirely the same as the 1961 version, but the hijinks the twins exact on their parents and father’s potential bride-to-be are even sillier. (Also we have Elaine Hendrix as would-be wicked step-mother/camp icon Meredith Blake.) This is one to watch with your kids as it’s a perfect PG Mother’s Day movie.

Stream Parent Trap, rated PG, on Disney+.


Yes Day


The stuff of childhood dreams, on one day only an uptight mom concedes to her kids to say “yes” to everything they ask of her. Yes Day stars Jennifer Garner and Édgar Ramírez as the parents who give their three kids 24 hours of control. The whirlwind day of fun results in a chore-free, sundae-eating, Kool-Aid balloon throwing free for all. But is it a perfect world when kids get to run the show? That’s what you’ll find out when you watch this Netflix original. However, a word of caution. If you watch this with your children, chances are, they’re going to ask for their own Yes Day.

Stream Yes Day, rated PG, on Netflix.




As a little girl, Merida and her mother Queen Elinor were as close as could be, but as Merida grew, so too did her responsibilities as a princess... and her mother’s expectations of how she must behave. But Merida longs to live a life of adventure, and when her parents inform her she must become engaged to one of three Highland lords’ sons, she rebels, and soon finds herself in the cottage of a witch who gives her a potion that will change her fate. Of course what the witch doesn’t mention is that it will change her fate by changing her mother into a giant bear. With this transformation, the mother and daughter’s differences are mostly forgotten, and they work together to find a way to turn Elinor back into a human.

Stream Brave, rated PG, on Disney+.




The Madrigal family is truly one of a kind. Ever since they were forced to flee their old home and settle in a remote jungle town called the Encanto, every member has been born with a special gift – one can control the weather, another shape-shifts, another still can make flowers bloom wherever she goes – everyone, that is, except Mirabel, who mysteriously was not granted any powers at all. She yearns to prove that she still belongs, however, devoting herself to her family and community and making herself useful. Her greatest challenge? Saving her family from a premonition of doom and destruction. There are lots of family dynamics at play here, including mother-child relationships, and it’s a perfect Mother’s Day movie to watch with your familia.

Stream Encanto, rated PG, on Disney+.


Steel Magnolias

Few movies are closer to Southerners' hearts than Steel Magnolias, and for good reason. In this 1989 ensemble film, a group of Southern women, whose lives revolve around a local beauty parlor, help one another handle the trials and tribulations of parenting with a healthy dose of snark and support. A Mother’s Day movie for the ages, it’s full of humor and heartache. When M'Lynn’s (Sally Field) daughter Shelby Eatenton (Julia Roberts) ends up in a coma on life support after undergoing a kidney transplant and later dies, well, let’s just say, we hope you have some Kleenex on hand.

Stream Steel Magnolias, rated PG, on Amazon Prime.


Maleficent: Mistress of Evil


A sequel to the 2014 film Maleficent, Aurora is now queen of the Moors and Maleficent, her godmother, serves as the realm’s guardian. Maleficent has a special, maternal bond with Aurora, and when the young queen announces her engagement to prince Phillip, Maleficent is none too please. Meeting her goddaughter’s conniving, judgmental in-laws, who are completely dismissive of Maleficent’s role in Aurora’s life, does not help matters. It isn’t long before Prince Phillip’s mother Queen Ingrith reveals her true colors, it is up to Maleficent to stop her (with the help of a few magical friends). This is a wonderful movie to watch on Mother’s Day because it demonstrates that you don’t have to be a blood relative to be a loving mother figure in someone’s life.

Stream Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, rated PG, on Disney+.


Little Women

Louisa May Alcott’s classic book has been adapted at least six times for the screen, but Greta Gerwig’s interpretation is the latest. The 2019 release of Little Women starred a host of new Hollywood favorites including Timothée Chalamet, Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, and Florence Pugh. But it was the relationship Laura Dern created as Marmee March, the mother of the little women, that really delivered the emotional weight. As far as period pieces are considered, this is a groping classic of a mother and her daughters trying to get through the tough years after the Civil War, and the effort it takes to keep the peace in her own home.

Watch Little Women, rated PG, on Hulu.


Baby Boom

This classic ‘80s movie is the ultimate working mom flick all about how a New York City exec handles the sudden arrival of an infant in her life, and manages to find business and motherhood success in spite of it. Yep, this Diane Keaton classic comes complete with power suits, sky high shoulder pads, and enough ‘80s yuppie fashion to have your reconsidering popped collars. Along with that also comes a helping heaping of sweetness thanks to Keaton’s performance as a smitten new mom. Moms know this feeling which is why it’s worth rewatching Baby Boom this Mother’s Day.

Stream Baby Boom, rated PG, on YouTube.


Freaky Friday


Tess Coleman is a single mom, and she and her teenage daughter Anna couldn't be any more different. Their relationship, such as it is, is fraught with tension in a way that happens with parents and teens, and it’s driving them up a wall. But one morning, they wake up to find they have switched bodies and must walk a mil in the other’s shoes – secretly – until they learn how to switch back. In the process, of course, the gain a deepened understanding of one another. A true Mother's Day movie classic!

Stream Freaky Friday, rated PG, on Disney+.


Troop Beverly Hills

Shelley Long does not get enough credit for her power moves in the classic movie Troop Beverly Hills. A rich, spoiled Beverly Hills mom, she takes up the call to lead a troop of Wilderness Girls (fictional Girl Scouts) and without a clue of how to operate beyond Rodeo Drive, proves that with determination and humility, you can overcome your own shortcomings. How’s that for real mom talk? Stay for the wildly over the top 1980s costumes, stay for the Wilderness Girls singing “It’s Cookie Time," the scene that truly secured this gem's cult status.

Stream Troop Beverly Hills, rated PG, on YouTube.


Turning Red


Mei and her mom Ming are incredibly close—they watch TV together, care for the family temple together, and pretty much do everything together. But now that Mei is 13, this is becoming a bit of a problem. She struggles for more independence, but still yearns for her mother’s approval. After an emotionally chaotic day, Mei finds herself magically turned into a giant red panda. It seems to happen when her emotions get intense. Her mother tells her that this is a family trait among women. There’s a way to stop it from happening, but they must wait for the next red moon to perform the ritual. Until then, Mei must be calm and subdued at all times. But Mei comes to discover that, actually, she longs to embrace her inner panda, something Ming does not see as an option. This beautiful coming of age story is a perfect movie to watch on Mother’s Day.

Stream Turning Red, rated PG, on Disney+.


Grey Gardens


This classic 1976 documentary takes a look into the eccentrically tragic lives of Edie Bouvier Beale and her mother, Edith aka Little Edie and Big Edie, who were related to former first lady Jackie Kennedy Onassis. They live together in East Hampton in a estate called Grey Gardens, but the once palatial home is crumbling around the reclusive and codependent mother and daughter. But through their stories of the past – their remembrances of their lives before their downfall – we see two captivating, artistic, independent women, whose personalities are made even bigger against this backdrop of sadness and squalor. At times sad, other times uproariously funny, it’s a quirky pick for a Mother’s Day movie! This film is not rated, but Common Sense Media recommends it for ages 13 and older. (Chances are kids in general won’t like this one until at least high school, but it’s still a fun, quirky choice!)

Stream Grey Gardens on HBOMax.


Mother’s Day

If this movie sounds a little too on the nose for this list, you’re right. In this star-studded film (see: Jason Sudeikis, Julia Roberts, Kate Hudson, and Jennifer Aniston) a series of parents find themselves navigating a host of issues that all come to a head on, naturally, Mother’s Day. There’s a single mom whose ex just got remarried. There’s a super dad trying to play the role of both parents. There’s a woman who avoids her mom. And an adopted daughter searching for her biological mom. But even with all of these tricky relationships, on Mother’s Day reconciliation becomes possible.

Stream Mother’s Day, rated PG-13, on Amazon Prime.


King Richard

The role of Venus and Serena Williams' larger-than-life father may be the focus of this Academy Award-winning movie starring Will Smith, but let’s not forget the powerful depiction it shows of the girls’ mother, Oracene Price played by Aunjanue Ellis. As King Richard depicts, the working nurse was the glue that kept her large family together from the courts of Compton to the big stage at Wimbledon. And while Richard may have gotten all the glory, Oracene’s steadfast commitment to her family, the movie suggests, was foundational to the success of the greatest tennis stars’ on the planet.

Stream King Richard, rated PG-13, on HBOMax.


Miss Juneteenth

A mom and her rebellious daughter (sound familiar?) find common ground when they team up to get the daughter a college scholarship by enrolling her in a beauty pageant in Miss Juneteenth. Mom, a beauty pageant alum, struggles to direct her daughter while making ends meet as a single parent. In this touching story, the lengths any mom will go for their child are made clear and the ways in which a child can misinterpret that love are exposed. The good news? This story has a happy ending moms and daughters can appreciate. This movie is not rated, but Common Sense Media recommends it for children 14 and older.

Stream Miss Juneteenth on Amazon Prime.



Any time single mom Rachel ends a relationship, she wants to make a truly clean break, packing up herself and her two daughters, 15-year-old Charlotte and 9-year-old Kate, to another town or state. The family has recently moved from Oklahoma to Massachusetts, but the fresh start feels anything but for Charlotte, who is constantly annoyed by her flamboyant and eccentric mother, who acts more like a friend than a parent. When Charlotte finds herself falling for an older man, the true strength of their bond is tested. Ultimately this is a heartfelt film with one iconic kitchen dancing scene that alone is reason enough to stream Mermaids.

Stream Mermaids, rated PG-13, on HBOMax.


Secret Life of Bees

Based on Sue Monk Kidd’s novel of the same name, Secret Life of Bees is all about what happens when a 14-year-old motherless child is taken in by the Boatwright sisters (Queen Latifah, Alicia Keys, Sophie Okonedo), who love her and teach her all about beekeeping. Lily finds support and solace in their care and the key to her mother’s past as well. While this movie came out in 2008, it holds up in the cherished canon of great Mother’s Day movies, especially for its depiction of the power of a mother’s love to see beyond race and class.

Stream Secret Life of Bees, rated PG-13, on Hulu.



When mothers and daughters are different (and I think it’s safe to say a lot of us have been there) it can cause challenges and that’s the case in this comedy called Dumplin’. Willowdean Dickson (Danielle Macdonald), aka Dumplin’, as her mother calls her, was not made in the mold of her beauty pageant mother (Jennifer Aniston). But when her mom decides to put on a pageant in their small town, Dumplin’ uses the pageant to show her mom that she can be a queen too. Will her mom accept her daughter’s idea of beauty? You’ll have to stream this Mother’s Day movie to find out.

Stream Dumplin’, rated PG-13, on Netflix.


Mamma Mia!

Love ABBA? (I mean, who doesn’t? And if you don’t who even are you? Have you heard Money Money Money.”) Then you’re already likely familiar with this send up to the pop group starring Meryl Streep. If not, Mamma Mia! is still worth your time. Come for the love triangle, stay for the choreographed dance numbers because, let’s be real, musicals are hard to come by in this day and age. Mamma Mia! has all the highs and lows you can expect from a Broadway production, but with the benefit of some Hollywood mega stars — Pierce Brosnan anyone?

Stream Mamma Mia!, rated PG-13, on Amazon Prime.


Away We Go

How do you pick where to raise your children? That’s what the couple (Maya Rudolph and John Krasinski) in Away We Go wrestle with as they drive across the country trying to find the right home for their forthcoming baby. What mom can’t relate to that? Even if you’ve never left town, the emotional weight of trying to find the perfect place to raise a child resonates. And the poignant vignettes in between, as the couple meet old friends and make new (who offer their parenting advice, like it or not) is wildly entertaining.

Stream Away We Go, rated R, on YouTube.



A tale of two mothers is interwoven in this quirky classic as young Juno must reveal to her parents that she’s pregnant. How her own mother reacts and how Juno navigates her pregnancy as a high schooler is as touching as it is devastatingly poignant. Her decision to place her baby with an adoptive family, who face challenges of their own, is just as powerful. It doesn’t matter if you had a child at 16 or 36, the themes in the quirky cult classic Juno will move anyone who has carried (or adopted) a child.

Stream Juno, rated R, on HBOMax.


Lady Bird

Whether you can relate to Lady Bird herself (Saoirse Ronan) or her frustrated mother (played by Lauren Metcalf), there’s plenty to appreciate in this touching coming of age tale from writer and director Greta Gerwig. Like, did you ever fall out of the car as your mom was driving because you were so annoyed by her? No? But can you empathize, right? Thought so. The course of motherhood never did run smooth, and if you’ve ever had to hide in a closet to scream because your child is driving you crazy, then you’ll relate to this hilarious Mother’s Day movie.

Stream Lady Bird, rated R, on Paramount+.



Kids grow up. There’s no two ways about it. And when that happens, what’s a mom to do? That’s what Otherhood’s Angela Bassett, Patricia Arquette, and Felicity Huffman must contend with when three best friends try to regain the appreciation and affection of their grown-up sons. How will they do it? They’ll surprise each of their boys in New York City, of course. As you can imagine, hijinks ensue when the moms drop in unannounced on their boys. (Who doesn’t love a surprise visit from mom of all people...?) But in the process, everyone gains a little more appreciation for each other.

Stream Otherhood, rated R, on Netflix.

Ready to cue up one of these Mother’s Day movie masterpieces? Pick one or a few and settle in for a little mama drama therapy.

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