Mama Knows Best: Movies Featuring Empowered Moms To Binge Watch On Mother's Day - Arts & Culture

These movie suggestions are mom-approved.

Society’s idea of motherhood over the years has evolved just as much as feminist ideals and the overall perception of women.

READ ALSO: Movie Date: A Valentine’s Day Watch List To Celebrate Love In All Forms

This reflects in all aspects of our lives, from popular culture all the way to the home and the workplace.

According to Screening Motherhood in Contemporary World Cinema, motherhood has been represented on the big screen since the days of silent films.

“Mother characters populating the backdrops of cinematic narratives are noteworthy both for what they reflect about culture and for the ways that they affect cultural attitudes and ideas about the roles, relationships, and potentialities of women and mothers,” the book reads.

This has birthed countless female characters in fiction, including mothers, who match the same strength and complexity that real-life women have.

Here are movie suggestions that all celebrate the role that moms play in our lives, right in time for Mother’s Day.

All About My Mother

Synopsis: “Young Esteban wants to become a writer and also to discover the identity of his second mother, a trans woman, carefully concealed by his mother Manuela.”

Pedro Almodóvar’s film won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film, and the BAFTA Awards for Best Film Not in the English Language. Here, he explores a woman’s post-motherhood life following the untimely demise of her son.

Dekada ‘70

Synopsis: “A middle-class Filipino family struggles to survive in the era of dictatorship.”

The film adaptation of Lualhati Bautista’s novel is set during the Martial Law years in the Philippines. A mother gradually finds her agency and voice to speak out in what her husband describes as a “man’s world.”

Lady Bird

Synopsis: “In 2002, an artistically inclined seventeen-year-old girl comes of age in Sacramento, California.”

Greta Gerwig’s solo directorial debut won Best Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy) and Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy. It shows the teenage protagonist constantly at odds with her mother. The latter clearly has the best interests in mind despite their strained relationship.


Synopsis: “A widowed single mother, raising her violent son alone, finds new hope when a mysterious neighbor inserts herself into their household.”

Xavier Dolan’s film won the Cannes Jury Prize. He depicts a mother attempting everything to prevent her son from being institutionalized due to his disorder.


Synopsis: “A mother desperately searches for the killer who framed her son for a girl’s horrific murder.”

Bong Joon-ho’s film sees the eponymous mother trying to conquer all social odds to exonerate her intellectually disabled son.


Synopsis: “A family of small-time crooks take in a child they find outside in the cold.”

Hirokazu Kore-eda’s film won the Palme d’Or at the 2018 Cannes. His humanist take pushed the boundaries of what defines a family and parenthood.

Terms of Endearment

Synopsis: “Follows hard-to-please Aurora looking for love, and her daughter’s family problems.”

Shirley MacLaine won the Academy Award for Best Actress for this tear-jerking mother-daughter drama. The film also won Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actor.

Wolf Children

Synopsis: “After her werewolf lover unexpectedly dies in an accident while hunting for food for their children, a young woman must find ways to raise the werewolf son and daughter that she had with him while keeping their trait hidden from society.”

Mamoru Hosoda’s anime film illustrates the complex and distinct relationship a mother has to bond with each of her children.

Banner Photo via A24’s YouTube screenshot

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