Movies and mothers go together like popcorn and soda, which is why I'm hoping you're planning to Netflix-and-chill on the one day each year our culture decides it's time to celebrate the most hard-working people on earth. In honor of the most legit of all Hallmark days, there are some movies to watch with your mom on Mother's Day — because despite the shops and websites trying so hard to sell you expensive gifts, all she really wants is to soak up some Titanic on the couch with you.
As a mom who also has a mom, you can trust me on this one. Your mom doesn't want a new vacuum cleaner, or a witty wine glass with her name on it, or a necklace studded with the birthstones of her children. Just Jack and Rose, or maybe Darcy and Elizabeth. The one movie I can't — nay, won't — recommend is 2016's Mother's Day, starring Julia Roberts and like a million other people. While it seems an obvious choice, that movie is not my favorite, and your mom deserves something less specific. Now go buy candy, popcorn, and maybe an extra couch cushion, and don't be afraid to order some takeout Chinese. Never forget your mom works hard all year and has earned this super chill Mother's Day.
Why is Titanic (1997) on a list of Mother's Day movies, you ask?
Well, remember when your mom took you to see this back in 1997, and promised she'd never stand between you and love? And how she explained that love is supposed to look exactly like Jack giving up that life-saving plank of wood for Kate? And how she reminded you of that every time you brought a sub-par boyfriend home for dinner?
... Yeah, that's why.
Stepmom (1998) explores the meaning of motherhood by delving into the relationship between a mother dying of cancer, and the woman who will care for her children after she's gone. Yes, you will blubber. You will cry. And you will need that second glass of wine. The movie stars Susan Sarandon, and some dazzling fall foliage.
3. 'Practical Magic'
Yes, I know this one's primarily about a relationship between sisters, but you can just stop. In Practical Magic (1998), powers are passed down from mothers to daughters, which is exactly how it works in real life. Set in colorful New England, Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman shine as witches who are unlucky in love.
4. 'Mean Girls'
Trust me, if your mom was around while you navigated the shark-infested waters of a high school social life, she was just as traumatized by that mess as you, which is why she'll totally get Mean Girls (2004). Also, she let you take a "mental health day" when things got real, because — you guessed it! — she's not a regular mom. She's a cool mom.
5. 'Mamma Mia!'
On the surface, Mamma Mia! (2008) is about a daughter's search for her father, but at heart, it's really about Meryl Streep. (Like all movies containing Meryl Streep!) Moms just want to have fun, and maybe also throw a super fine wedding off the coast of the Mediterranean. Also starring Amanda Seyfried and Pierce Brosnan, mom is sure to belt ABBA for weeks.
I remember watching this movie as a kid and wishing Juliette Binoche were my mom. Years later, I realized that in all the ways that mattered, she was. The heart-warming Chocolat (2000) makes a great double-feature with Practical Magic. Pro tip: buy plenty of chocolate if you're staying up for both.
7. 'Queen Of Katwe'
The feel-good story of a Ugandan girl who discovers her superpowers as a chess player, Queen of Katwe (2016) is a great choice for moms and daughters in need of a little inspiration. And who among us doesn't need girl-power Chariots of Fire, sometimes?
Also, it stars Lupita Nyong'o. So enough said.
8. 'Pride & Prejudice'
Keira Knightley is Elizabeth Bennett in Pride & Prejudice (2005), a classic tale of love and family. If you're not sure what your mother's taste in movies is, this one's a sure bet. When it comes to Jane Austen, resistance is futile.
I love this movie, but I actually love 1995's BBC mini-series starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle even more. If you have five hours, give it a go.
9. 'The Babadook'
But wait, my mom's not into all that touchy-feely, inspirational nonsense, you say. She's a horror fan! Never fear. The Babadook (2016) is a meditation on motherhood that's sure to keep you up at night. Just don't expect to get the creepy theme song out of your head anytime soon.
10. 'Riding In Cars With Boys'
Riding In Cars With Boys (2001), starring Drew Barrymore, takes an unsparing look at the hardships of single motherhood. Back in the day, I saw this one with my mother in theaters, and there wasn't a dry eye in the house. A great double-feature with Erin Brockovich (2000), if you want to explore the single-mothers-take-on-the-world theme. Happy Mother's Day.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.