April, 2021. This year of the pandemic is the year to snuggle up and watch a movie for Mother’s Day if ever there was one! We’ve all been on screens this year more than usual, but if you offer a high-quality film and some Tangle Chocolate to go with it, you’ve got a special evening. Here are some favorite films that feature either a memorable mother/child relationship or a powerful mother character.
Imitation of Life. Juanita Moore plays a black mother whose light-skinned, mixed-race daughter passes for white in this 1959 classic. Moore mothers not only her own child, but also her boss (Lana Turner) and her boss’s daughter.
A Raisin in the Sun. Whether it’s the 2008 version starring Phylicia Rashad or the original 1961 version featuring Sidney Poitier, Claudia McNeil, and Ruby Dee, this powerful story gives us a matriarch navigating her needs and those of her children as she takes on the family’s financial future after her husband’s death.
The Joy Luck Club. Based on Amy Tan’s novel, this 1993 movie depicts four mother-daughter relationships between four Chinese immigrant mothers and their Chinese-American daughters who live in San Francisco.
Crooklyn. Directed by Spike Lee in 1994 and based on his life with a tough, loving school teacher mother, musician father, and four siblings. Some beautiful mother/daughter scenes.
Beloved. Based on Toni Morrison’s book, Oprah Winfrey in 1998 plays a formerly enslaved mother who has made some hard decisions with her children’s fate in mind.
Freaky Friday. Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan are perfect in this 2003 romp about an oil-and-water mother-daughter pair who accidentally switch bodies. Predictable, corny, and so much fun!
American Gangster. In this 2007 movie, Ruby Dee appears 45 years after being in A Raisin in the Sun, and explores a mother/son relationship with her drug lord son, played by Denzel Washington.
20th Century Women. Annette Bening, Greta Gerwig, and Elle Fanning play the three very different women who influenced a teenage boy in California. Made in 2016 and set in 1979. Not all women who play a major role in our maturity are our mothers!
Lady Bird. In this 2017 movie written and directed by Greta Gerwig, Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf play a contemporary mother and daughter whose relationship quietly changes as the teenaged daughter grows to appreciate her mother’s sacrifices made on her behalf.
If Beale Street Could Talk. Regina King plays the kind of mother we all wish we had when our lives don’t go the way we planned in this 2018 adaptation of James Baldwin’s novel.
Ben is Back. Julia Roberts plays the mother who won’t give up on her drug-addicted son (Lucas Hedges) in this 2018 tear jerker. With substance abuse affecting as many families as it does, this is a movie that almost all of us will relate to in one way or another. The film is written and directed by Peter Hedges, who is Lucas’s real-life dad.
The Farewell. This 2019 gem depicts, movingly, the tight bond between a grandmother and granddaughter. The premise is comedic, with Chinese-American characters returning to China allegedly to attend a wedding, but the wedding is actually an excuse for the extended family to gather and say goodbye to the matriarch.