9 Fantastic Classic Films to Enjoy with the Moms in Your Life
A list of movies celebrating motherhood, female friendships, and family bonds that we love for Mother's Day!
Every year, we set aside a special day to celebrate, remember, and appreciate moms. Whether you’re celebrating your mom, a mother figure in your life, a spouse or partner, or yourself as a mother, the perfect “gift” is time with others. We love a watch party here at rmrk*st, so what better way to celebrate Mother’s Day than with a great film 🎬? And not just a great film, but a classic that has resonated with viewers for decades? These picks celebrate motherhood, yes, but also the power of female friendships, the strength and resilience of women, and the bonds of family and friends, or, found family. How many of these films have you seen? Perhaps this is a better question: which of these have you watched upwards of 10 times?! Here’s our list of 9 classics you can watch this Mother’s Day:
1. The Joy Luck Club
The Joy Luck Club premiered in 1993 based on the book of the same name. In it, four women–Lindo Jong, Ying-Ying St. Clair, An-Mei Hsu, and Suyuan Woo–share their past trials and tribulations all while playing their weekly mahjong game. It is heartbreaking, gut-wrenching, comical, and endearing. The story showcases Chinese 🇨🇳 culture, traditions and values while highlighting the challenges of immigrant life in America.
The Joy Luck Club is a classic film that all female family members can share in together, because the themes of mother-daughter relationships, sacrifice, love, loss, and self-discovery are all featured against a visually stunning backdrop. The contents of this film present an opportunity for family members to understand how generational gaps create cultural differences that affect those relationships, and that’s probably why the movie has been beloved for decades.
2. Soul Food
Written and directed by George Tillman, Jr., the story in this film is based on Tillman’s own family and experiences. The Joseph family gathers every Sunday for a soul food feast prepared by the family matriarch. But as the family faces financial struggles and personal challenges, these weekly meals serve as a vital lifeline for support, love and unity within the family.
Soul Food remains widely acclaimed for presenting a positive and authentic image of the African-American family and experience which is typically removed from most Hollywood productions. And it’s great for Mother’s Day, because the film celebrates the mother as the heart and soul of the family, and whether you watch with family or friends, bring tissues 🤧. You will need them.
3. Thelma & Louise
Would any classic movie list be complete without this staple? In a word, no. While the story in Thelma & Louise isn’t focused on the experience of motherhood, it was groundbreaking in terms of defying gender roles and the female experience and showcasing the strength and resilience of women. It follows the classic road trip 🚘 plot about two friends, Thelma Dickinson and Louise Sawyer who embark on a weekend vacation. When things take an ugly and dangerous turn, the two are tested, but their friendship grows stronger throughout the experience.
Why is it great for Mother’s Day? The film challenges patriarchal narratives that we often see in Hollywood films, and portrays women as strong, capable and courageous. It also highlights the unique value of female friendships while imparting universal themes of self-discovery and empowerment.
4. Terms of Endearment
Terms of Endearment explores the complexities of mother-daughter relationships, making it a great pick to watch with the mother or daughter figure in your life. A lovely, tingle-inducing story of a mother and daughter who do not share the same views on how their lives should be lived, the film explores how that relationship is tested when a cancer diagnosis comes into play.
Motherhood is full of complexities and joys. In the face of hardship, a strained relationship can be overcome by unconditional love. The story is a beautiful reminder not to take the presence of our loved ones in our lives for granted. Life can be a struggle, but ultimately, as any mother or daughter knows, love remains. This one is sure to leave a lasting impact on viewers.
If romantic comedy is your thing, look no further than Moonstruck. Cher, Olympia Dukakis, and Nicolas Cage headline this star-studded cast in a laugh-out-loud romantic story, sure to bring tears of joy and belly aches to all viewers.
What happens when you fall in love with your fiancé’s estranged brother? Sounds a little crazy, but that’s all part of the charm! The film highlights the importance of family and the power of love, as mother and daughter navigate their own rollercoaster 🎢 romantic relationships while balancing the complexities of family life. Sure to put a smile on your face, Moonstruck is the perfect film for a movie night with Mom.
6. Memoirs of a Geisha
This film is a visually stunning and emotionally gripping piece of cinema. Set in 1929, two sisters are sold by their father for medicine to save his wife. Nine year old Sakamoto Chiyo and her fifteen year old sister are forced to work in the entertainment districts of Kyoto. But young Chiyo has aspirations and ideas of her own for a better life. She becomes a geisha, a highly skilled performer and entertainer, and must navigate the complex relationships and politics of that world.
We chose it for Mother’s Day because it explores the bonds of sisterhood and celebrates the resilience and strength of women. It depicts the challenges women have always faced when pursuing their dreams, or simply wanting to lead a fulfilling life. A cinematic masterpiece, the film transports viewers to a bygone era of Japanese 🇯🇵 culture and tradition. This beautiful epic spans thirty years and unfolds in a cinematic feast for the eyes and heart.
Perfect for Mother’s Day, Stepmom explores what being a mother really means. A terminally-ill mother, played by Susan Sarandon, has to come to terms with her own impending death while struggling to embrace the new woman in her childrens’ lives: her ex-husband's new fiancé, played by Julia Roberts. The two women must find a way to accept one another, co-parent, and maintain that the children are first priority while they both go through this challenging time. During the course of the film, begin to develop a deep understanding and appreciation for one another, as well as an unlikely friendship.
The movie is a perfect jumping off point for blended families to share and discuss their own experiences. While the two women must learn to co-exist, knowing one of them will not survive, the film explores what it means to be a mother, and how to cherish the ones we love while they are with us. Their individual relationships to the children remind viewers that while families change and shift, mothers can never be replaced, and love is not a zero-sum game: there is always enough love ❤️ to go around.
8. Waiting to Exhale
Four friends–Savannah, Robin, Bernadine, and Gloria–support each other through the ups and downs of womanhood: new jobs, divorce, boyfriends, and relationships with their own mothers. Waiting to Exhale is a beautiful film that celebrates the power of female friendship 🤗 and resilience present in motherhood.
Women can provide unique support to one another, and this movie is a timeless classic that continues to inspire and resonate with audiences. It’s a perfect film for a night in with your fellow moms.
9. Steel Magnolias
Based on Robert Harling’s story about his own sister, this play-turned-movie hits all the feels. A timeless classic, Steel Magnolias is the story of four Southern women that is sure to make you cry, laugh, rage, and remember just how important friendship and mothers are in our journeys through life. The movie has, of course, an all star cast: Sally Field, Julia Roberts, Dolly Parton, and Shirley MacLaine.
In the film, one of these women must come to terms with the fact that her daughter has a chronic medical condition that threatens her life. As the other women rally around her, the story highlights the roles of mothers as caregivers, nurturers and protectors–to both their children and each other–during times of crisis. A must-watch for anyone who has experienced the joys and challenges of motherhood, this movie celebrates the beauty and resilience of everything that comes with it–and the unique bond between mothers and their children. Raising a family comes with sacrifice and challenges, but you can celebrate both the laughs 😂 and the tears 😢 together.
Let us know which films you’d add to this list, and consider hosting a watch party at Remarkist! If you’d like to find other fans of these films, head over to our Discord to find other fans who love discussing great content!
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