Even though the curve of the COVID19 virus has leveled off in most of the country, the need for sheltering has remained intact for many people over the age of 60, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a shared experience with our mothers on this upcoming most special day of celebration.
The following list of mother/child-themed movies is far from complete, but I do trust there is something here to satisfy most tastes. All titles are available on some or all streaming services including but not limited to: Amazon Prime, Google Play, Vudu, iTunes, Netflix, and YouTube. You might not be able to be in the same room with your mom when you watch but you can easily view them at the same time while also possibly sharing a Zoom or Skype call.
Happy Mother’s Day
1. "The Joy Luck Club" (1993) — Based on the 1989 novel by Amy Tan and directed by Wayne Wang, this underappreciated masterpiece features four unique sets of native Chinese mothers who share stories about their American-born daughters. It’s an emotional roller-coaster and bittersweet yet concludes on a decidedly up-note.
2. "Gifted" (2017) — Smart, charming, funny and moving in equal measure in all the right places, "Gifted" is an odd hybrid of "Kramer vs. Kramer" and "Good Will Hunting." Chris Evans ("Captain America") stars as Frank, the uncle of the orphaned math genius Mary (Mckenna Grace) who is embroiled in a custody battle with her wealthy and brittle grandmother (Lindsay Duncan). Octavia Spencer and Jenny Slate each turn in exceptional supporting performances.
3. "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" (2017) — In this pitch-black dark comedy, Frances McDormand won her second Oscar as Mildred, a divorcee who is still reeling over the death of her daughter nearly a year earlier. In angry protest, she rents billboards blaming the police for a lack of progress in the case. As the investigating officers, Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell also received Oscar nominations with the latter winning in the Best Supporting Actor category.
4. "Kill Bill, Volume 2" (2004) — "Volume 1" was a martial arts bloodbath, but "Volume 2" is a spare, Spaghetti Western-inspired revenge flick where lead character Beatrix Kiddo (Uma Thurman) goes all Clint Eastwood in her attempt to reunite with the daughter she’s never seen. Though it has some of the usual Quentin Tarantino gory violence, it ends on an incredibly positive note.
5. "Juno" (2007) — This is the first and probably only movie ever made which broached the touchy subject of abortion without turning the whole affair into a slogging, political shouting-match. Director Jason Reitman and Oscar-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody tip-toe around the social issues without taking sides either way and the Academy Award-nominated Ellen Page as the title character turns in a bravura performance.
6. "Bad Moms" (2016) — Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn star as three very different moms, all going through various forms of frustration and cabin fever who decide to cut loose and throw all caution to the wind. Ribald, profane and earning every bit of its hard-R rating, "Bad Moms" is strictly something for mothers and/or grandmothers and their adult children.
7. "Lady Bird" (2017) — Laurie Metcalf and Saoirse Ronan both received Oscar nominations as a feuding mother and her daughter both not ready for their impending “empty nest” situation. The first directorial effort from writer Greta Gerwig isn’t nearly as artsy as her past acting catalogue and the supporting turns by Tracy Letts, Lucas Hedges and Timothee Chalamet are all spot on.
8. "Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore" (1974) — Not to be confused with the subsequent sit-com “Alice” which was based on it, this “Alice” is one of director Martin Scorsese’s most personal, low-key and intimate efforts. Fresh off of “The Exorcist,” Oscar-winner Ellen Burstyn stars as a divorced mother of a pre-teen boy, trying to regroup and possibly finding a fresh romantic start with a new man (Kris Kristofferson).
9. "The Blind Side" (2009) — Sandra Bullock won the Oscar for her portrayal of the real-life Leigh Anne Tuohy, a Tennessee housewife who became the legal guardian of Michael Oher (Quinton Aron), a high-school football player who was eventually drafted by the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens.
And, No. 10. — "Mamma Mia!" (2008) — Adapted from the stage play of the same name, this "jukebox musical" is low on plot, but high on energy and good vibes, all set to an ABBA soundtrack. Meryl Streep plays the mother to Amanda Seyfried and the entire movie is devoted to which of the mom’s previous boyfriends (Colin Firth, Stellan Starsgaard and Pierce Brosnan) is the girl’s father. The slightly lesser 2018 sequel: "Here We Go Again" offers more of the same, light-as-a-breeze escapism.
Originally from Washington, D.C., Michael Clark has written for over 30 local and national media outlets, is currently the only newspaper-based film critic providing original content in the Atlanta Top 10 media marketplace and co-founded the Atlanta Film Critics Circle in 2017. Over the last 25 years, Mr. Clark has written over 4,000 movie reviews and film related articles and is one of the scant few conservative-minded U.S. film critics. Read Michael Clark's Reports — More Here.
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