By its very nature, motherhood is the be-all and end-all of humanity. Moms mark the start of everyone’s story! As such, here’s a handful of mom-related movies (in alpha order) to watch on Mother’s Day.
Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. (2023)
Directed and written by Kelly Fremon Craig
Based on the same-named bestseller, this humorous and heartwarming period piece transports audiences to 1970 when sixth-grader Margaret (Abby Ryder Fortson) enters the most vulnerable stage of her life: puberty. To help navigate the singularly female experience of dealing with menstruation, brassieres and boys, Margaret relies on her mother (Rachel McAdams) and grandmother (Kathy Bates), both of whom are adjusting to changes in their lives. Timely and timeless, this coming-of-age tale movingly acknowledges the cringy experiences girls go through to become women.
Rated PG-13; currently playing in theaters.
The Fabelmans (2022)
Directed and co-written (with Tony Kushner) by Steven Spielberg
Back before there were iPhones or camcorders, aspiring diretors had to purchase pricey film to shoot home movies. This is just one of the challenges teenaged Sammy Fabelman (Gabriel LaBelle) encounters while growing up in the 1960s. His straight-laced father (Paul Dano) cannot imagine his son could earn a living as a filmmaker, unlike his artsy mother (Michelle Williams) who sacrificed her dreams of becoming a concert pianist to care for her husband and children. Nevertheless, her encouragement is saddled with complexities that Sammy struggles to wholeheartedly embrace. While paying homage to his mother in this semi-autobiographical dramedy, Spielberg nostalgically re-creates the mid-20th century in a personal, poetic and playful way.
Rated PG-13; available on Prime Video, YouTube, and Apple TV.
Directed and co-written (with Michael Reilly and Keith Beauchamp) by Chinonye Chukwu
Set in 1955, this biographical drama succinctly captures the sunny personality of Emmett Till (Jalyn Hall). Despite the concerns of his mother Mamie (Danielle Deadwyler), the Black 14-year-old leaves his Chicago home to visit his cousins in Mississippi. Amid the beauty of the Southern landscape and the upbeat tunes of the day, Emmett endures a horrific fate in America’s Jim Crow-era. After he is kidnapped, tortured and lynched, Till’s racially-motivated murderers go free. In the wake of her devastation, Mamie stands strong for her son — insisting his unrecognizable corpse is seen and his story is used to fuel the civil rights movement. Thanks to aesthetic imagery and the theme of motherly love, this film achieves the difficult feat of relaying the gravity of a violent tragedy without turning viewers off.
Rated PG-13; available at Redbox, on Vudu, Prime Video and Apple TV.
To Leslie (2022)
Directed by Michael Morris; written by Ryan Binaco
Sometimes kids have to parent their parents. And until single mother, lottery squanderer and alcoholic Leslie Rowland (Andrea Riseborough) finds her footing, that’s what her 20-year-old son James (Owen Teague) must do. Luckily, a prospective suitor (Marc Maron) steps in with emotional and financial support as family members (Allison Janney and Stephen Root) offer a dose of tough love in this gritty indie flick.
Rated R; available on Vudu, Prime Video, and Apple TV.
Here are four more films which feature strong moms: I Remember Mama (1948); Asia (2020); Belfast (2021); and Everything Everywhere All At Once (2022).