Best Movies to Watch with Your Mom on Mother’s Day

One of my favorite things to do with my mom is to sit down and snuggle up to watch a movie.  It has been one of my most enjoyable moments since I was a kid.  I love thinking of the the experience of going to the itty bitty independent, local movie store and perusing the racks to find the perfect movie and the feeling of finding THE one, praying they had it in the back when you took the box up to the front counter.   I remember going to the little store around the corner from my house, picking up all the candy I could eat like orange slices and Rolos, Fun Dip and Shock Tarts, then coming home to make air-popped popcorn and watch a flick.

Being a mom myself now, the best nights I get to have with my daughter are the ones when we go grab the makings for pizza, our own favorite sweet snacks and coming home to make popcorn on the stove.  The experience is a little difference since we don’t have a video store close by (we used to still go out to I Love Video in Austin when it was nearby, so she still has had the experience of the local video store), and we check out Netflix, Amazon or Vudu for a movie to watch.  Then it’s snuggle time on the couch or recliner.  I think of my mom in those instances and get a warm fuzzy feeling in my heart knowing how much these moments meant to me when I was a little girl and being so happy to share them with my kids.

For a Laugh or Smile:

Parenthood – this is one of my all-time favorite movies depicting family.  It is honest and hilarious and stands the test of time.  This film stars a who’s who of the nineties and today, Steve Martin, Mary Steenburgen, Dianne Wiest, Jason Robards, Rick Moranis, Martha Plimpton, Keanu Reeves and Joaquin Phoenix.  Forget the all-star cast, the names aren’t what make the difference, what does is the quality of the performances and the relatability of each of the Buckmans’ stories.  Parenthood reminds us that family means different things to different people but that we really are all in this together.

Overboard – This Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn comedy shows us how much a mom really means, even if she’s not the one you started life with.  Along with all the laughs in Overboard, there are definitely some touching moments and Goldie Hawn shows how much motherhood really can change one’s priorities.

Freaky Friday – Really either the Jodie Foster or Jamie Lee Curtis Freaky Friday is a good choice for Mother’s Day.  I started with Jodie Foster and loved it when I was a kid, but honestly for Mother’s Day, I would prefer to watch the newer version with Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan.  Possibly because I’m such a huge fan of Jamie Lee and she is like my on-screen surrogate mom.  Also, this is the movie I watched with my mom as we sat up together waiting for her flight to England when she moved there about ten years ago.  We cried and cried watching this chuckle-worthy movie knowing we were about to be so very far away from one another.  Thus I have an emotional connection to Freaky Friday that would be completely inexplicable if not for that one event.

Date Night – For a non-traditional option and a lot of great laughs, Date Night with Steve Carell and Tina Fey, not to mention Mark Wahlberg makes for a fun Mother’s Day movie.

Julie & Julia – Though after reading the blog that Julie & Julia was created from I was much less impressed, the film spoke to more than one generation of women who have been stuck in the same position of disrespect and dissatisfaction.  Amy Adams herself just seems to be tailer made for moms and daughters to watch together.

9 to 5 – This is one of my all-time favorite movies.  During the extreme struggle for equality in the workforce and the glass ceiling, 9 to 5 gave our moms something to laugh at and for us to aspire to.  Seeing a group of women, however misguided stop taking crap from their male bosses made an impression on me.  Of course Working Girl did the same for me in a less ridiculous manner, but for the fun factor, I opted for 9 to 5 for this list.

Mamma Mia! I am not, as such, an ABBA fan, but I LOVED Mamma Mia!Amanda Seyfried has been one of my favorite actresses since the Veronica Mars days, Meryl Streep is another of those wonderful female actresses that I grew up with and what mom wouldn’t appreciate a movie with Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth AND Stellan Skarsgård?

For Love:

Under the Tuscan Sun – I am not now, nor was I when I first saw this movie, a middle-aged woman.  I do however, understand the appeal of running off and living on a beach somewhere selling seashell necklaces or living in Italy or France and waking up every day to beautiful scenery, away from all the real-life stresses and hang-ups.  Diane Lane is so lovable in Under the Tuscan Sun and it is truly a heart-warming experience watching someone follow their heart.

Sleepless in Seattle – I hate to admit it, but I love this movie.  Sleepless in Seattle is one of my ultimate guilty pleasures and one of those movies I could sit next to my mom and not have to hide those moments I tear up like I do if I’m watching it with anyone else.

Amelie Amelie is an intoxicating journey into love, fate and taking a leap.  It is a feel-good, very sweet and surprising film.  If your mom’s not much on subtitles, you may want to avoid it, but this movie is one of my top ten romantic movies of all time.

Dirty Dancing – I adore Dirty Dancing for so many reasons.  My heart aches now every time I see Patrick Swayze in anything.   This movie has definitely taken on a new level of emotion for me since his death, but I feel like this is one of the most perfect movies to watch with your mom if your lucky enough that your mom is one of your best friends.

Love Actually – This movie is pure, unadulterated fluff and it makes me happy every time I see it.  I mean giddy, giggly, super happy.  It is those exceptionally heart-warming movies like Love Actually that I love to share with my mom.

ChocolatJohnny Depp, ’nuff said?  Not really, there is so much to this beautifully told story that makes it one of my favorite films, especially the relationship between mother and daughter and the struggles our mothers endure to make sure we have the best chance at a happy life.

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a DayFrances McDormand is genius in this film, this part was made for her.  I just can’t help myself, I love me some Amy Adams.  Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day is one of the most fun films I have ever seen and one of the most perfect movies anyone could watch with their mom whether your sixteen or fourty-six, your mom will love this story.

For Family and maybe a Good Cry:

Steel Magnolias My mom is one of the only people I can watch a movie with and not be self conscious about shedding a few or not so few tears.  Steel Magnolias is one of those movies that comes with a torrent of them.  When thinking of this list, I thought of women who were on-screen moms that I loved.  Sally Field is certainly one of them in this movie.  The strong bond between all the women is something to be celebrated, and who better to do so with than mom?

Little Miss Sunshine – Family movies just don’t get more heartwarming than Little Miss Sunshine.  With a fantastic cast of characters and a family full of love and support, mom will love to share these moments with you!

The Notebook – I know this could have been put in love stories, but nothing makes me cry like this movie.  It breaks my heart every time, but The Notebook is such a fantastic story.  This movie reminds us there is nothing more powerful than love.

Tems of Endearment – Mom need a good cry?  Have I got the movie for you.  Be careful with this one, there really isn’t much to redeem the treacherous quality of this film, but we women sometimes like to put ourselves through the wringer in a film watching.  Terms of Endearment certainly does this and does it better than any movie I know.

The Sound of Music – My mom introduced me to this movie when I was little, the songs from it are some of the first I ever sang to my own kids and they love the movie now as well.  I appreciate that my mom showed me movies like this and taught me an appreciation for all kinds of film and music.  Singing was abundant in our house and car and is still the one thing that can always lift my spirits. The Sound of Music always does and always will make me think of my mom and I love that.

Beaches – I remember watching Beaches with my mom as a kid.  I remember how deeply this movie touched me and how it really made me think of how I could never live without my mom and was the first time I ever realized something like that could really happen.  I am so thankful my mom has been there to raise me and now to be Grammy to my own kids. 

If your mom has a darker sense of humor:

To Remind Mom How Lucky She Is:

The Bad Seed

The Good Son


Problem Child

To Remind You How Lucky You Are:

Mommy Dearest

Serial Mom

Just like the children they raised, moms all have different tastes an personailities.  For my husband and his mom it’s Quentin Tarantino films.  For me and my mom, it’s thrillers or tear-jerkers.  I made this list based on movies I think I could enjoy with my mom or have enjoyed with her in the past, keeping in mind not every mom is my mom.  I’m sure at least one or two will resonate with many of you.  Make sure you take a moment to let your mom know how much you appreciate her this year whether it be with a special movie moment or something else that makes her day!  Share which movies you love to watch with your mom in the comments.




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The Author

Cat Edison

Cat Edison

Cat is an Austinite once removed with an affinity for film, TV, comics, graphic novels, and really anything she can read or watch. She gets emotionally invested in movie, television and literary characters, to an unhealthy degree. Cat has always had a passion for writing and there is little she loves more. Hopeful cynic and funny lady.