Every Mother's Day, I get a little panicky about how I'm going to spend the day with my mom. Brunch? Manicures and pedicures? Enjoying some spring fun like the botanical gardens? The problem is, these super popular ideas are super popular because literally everyone is doing them. And my mom and me? We're not big on crowds. Which is why hunkering down in the air conditioning to enjoy some Mother's Day movies may be the best idea for a Sunday that's all about celebrating your mom.
Finding movies specifically about Mother's Day may prove difficult (although there is one), but we all know motherhood isn't that exact or simple of a science. It's complicated, it's hard, it's beautiful, and it includes a lot of tough decisions. Whether you're in the mood to laugh with your mom over Tina Fey and Amy Poehler bonding or you want to sob the worst kind of tears as Susan Sarandon tells Julia Roberts she's dying, these 11 movies are perfect for your weekend celebration. Just be sure to pack all the snacks, the drinks (I'd recommend something special), and tissues. Because whether you choose a comedy or not, motherhood has this innate way of making you feel all the feels, and you're going to need more than one Kleenex.
OK, you knew this one was coming. Stepmom is the 1998 movie that made you call your own mother and sob into the phone. The plot follows Julia Roberts and her new role as stepmom to Susan Sarandon's two kids. Things are rocky, but when Sarandon's character is diagnosed with cancer and things aren't looking good, the two women have to come together to discuss what's best for the kids. And the emotional scenes? They will wreck you.
2. 'You've Got Mail'
This one may not obviously be about motherhood, but Kathleen Kelly and the relationship she had with her mom (along with the grief she feels in her loss) is pretty prevalent. You've Got Mail shows how much of our mothers are intertwined in us, giving us both the roots we so desire, and the wings we most definitely need. In a word, Meg Ryan's character says her mother was "enchanting," and man. I can only hope my children describe me the same way one day.
3. 'Steel Magnolias'
Good grief, you knew this one had to be on there didn't you? I'm from the south, but this movie immediately makes my accent worse and makes me want to make cornbread and sweet tea. Steel Magnolias is nothing if not a movie about the power of women, but Sally Field and Julia Roberts' characters are enough to make you sob on Mother's Day. (These two women show up more than once in this list and to be honest, I'm calling it emotional terrorism.) When Shelby, M'Lynn's daughter is facing complications from her Type 1 diabetes, M'Lynn always springs into action. But after Shelby delivers a baby boy and has to accept a kidney from her mother, things go south and M'Lynn ends up losing her daughter. It's a tear jerker for sure, but the intricate weave of these women and their friendship, love, and support for each other is worth all the tears.
4. 'Forrest Gump'
Oh, hi Sally Field. Here again to win the best mother award? Look, Forrest Gump may not seem like an obvious choice for Mother's Day, but for one thing, it's Tom Hanks and Sally Field, and for another, Forrest wouldn't be the incredible man he is if he didn't have a mother who believed in him from the very first moment. "Don't ever let anybody tell you they're better than you, Forrest. If God wanted us all to be the same, he'd have given us all braces on our legs." Oh man. I'm crying already.
5. 'Mother's Day'
OK, to be fair, I haven't seen Mother's Day, but I feel like it's a must-have on this list. Directed by Garry Marshall, an icon in my eyes, this star-studded film is one of those ensemble movies where everyone's story trickles into each other's. Each woman somehow has to come to terms with the relationship they have with their mother, and from the things I've heard and clips I've watched, it seems pretty realistic to how a lot of mother and daughter relationships are.
If you want to plan your Mother's Day with an outing, go see Tully, which is still currently in theaters. It's Diablo Cody's latest and, without giving too much away, it's the portrayal of motherhood you haven't seen, but have longed for. It's real, it's honest, and it's heartbreaking. See it with your mom if you can so you two can share the battle stories you had no idea she was holding onto.
7. 'Baby Boom'
Hello, Diane Keaton can do no wrong and I stand by that with Baby Boom. Not only is it 1987 and full of incredible pant suits, but Keaton's character has to take on that whole "women can have it all" mantra when she is unexpectedly left a newborn daughter after a relative dies. In quick succession, she loses her partner and her job, but that doesn't stop her from becoming a bona fide rockstar in every sense of the word. Seriously, this was one of mine and my mom's favorites, and it's worth a watch.
8. 'Away We Go'
If you're looking for the brilliance of John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph as first-time parents, look no further than Away We Go. This stellar movie follows a pregnant couple who are down on their luck, but trying to make the most out of their new family. When they are faced with nowhere to go, the two set off on a journey visiting friends and family to make a home for themselves and their new baby. It is a beautiful take on parenthood, on nesting, and on creating a family together. (Plus, the movie is just gorgeous.)
9. 'Father Of The Bride 2'
Oh look, it's Diane Keaton again. I'm just as obsessed with Father of the Bride, but for the essence of motherhood, we really need Father of the Bride 2 so you can watch the comedic genius that is Steve Martin being faced with his pregnant daughter and now, his pregnant wife. (Who is Diane Keaton in case you were under a rock.) I really can't give a lot more away, but just trust that this movie is funny, heartwarming, and will become a family favorite if it's not there already.
Oh Juno. I saw this in theaters with my best friend when I was like 19 or 20 and it affected me so profoundly that I still cry thinking about it. When high schooler Juno becomes pregnant, she has no qualms at all about placing the baby for adoption with Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman's characters. But, as plans tend to go awry, she finds herself facing a big decision. Using her heart, her love for this baby, and the incredible sense of true motherhood, Juno ends up changing the lives of so many people. It is beautiful, it is a testament to our spirits as women and mothers, and it is achingly lovely. Also, it's hilarious.
11. 'Baby Mama'
OK, let's end this list on a movie that will make you belly laugh, but it still a lovely film on motherhood: Baby Mama. You just can't go wrong with Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, but especially in this movie where Tina Fey desperately wants to have a baby and Amy Poehler, at first, is willing to do anything to get some freebies out of life. Eventually, the film takes a turn, but it's not hard to see how it's going to play out and it's pretty beautiful. (It's also worthy of the laugh-crying emoji, of course.)