I don’t know about you, but my mother and I have always bonded over our mutual love for Hugh Grant and making fun of people’s outfits. Both of these things apply to my list of ten movies to watch with your mum this Mother’s Day! (Hint, it’s this coming Sunday, May 11th! Get planning!) Now, I know that every woman has different tastes in movies, but I’ve compiled what I hope to be at least somewhat universally appealing. There’s a whole list of movies I could come up with that you should not watch with your mother (Black Swan, perhaps?), but I will leave it with this for now.
So, in the immortal words of Mr. T, “treat your mother right” and spend some time with her this weekend, perhaps over one of these films.
10 – Freaky Friday
Would you switch bodies with your mother for a day? In this 2003 remake of the 1976 classic, Lindsay Lohan (Mean Girls, The Parent Trap) and Jamie Lee Curtis (A Fish Called Wanda, Trading Places) play a mother and daughter duo that, through some ambiguously depicted and possibly racist magical act in a Chinese restaurant, switch bodies. Turns out there is a lot of tension in their family (Conflict? In a movie? Inconceivable!) which must be resolved by a day in each other’s shoes. While this movie has the campy charm iconic of most early-2000s flicks, it’s a fun one and could be a blast from the past to reminisce with your mom about how exciting you were to deal with as an angsty teen.
9 – The Princess Diaries
My mom and I love this movie. Anne Hathaway (The Dark Knight Rises, Les Miserables) is at her finest here, pre-Les Mis haircut-pretention. The 2001 movie is based on the book series of the same name by Meg Cabot, which I ate up as a pre-teen. The basic premise is the stuff of a young girl’s dreams – a not-so-popular gawky teenager finds out that she is a princess and her life is changed forevermore. I think it’s a great Mother’s Day pick for a myriad of reasons, but maybe the most prominent is because I was once a teenage girl who assumed she was a secret princess and I used to bug my mom about it all the time. Regardless, you’ll enjoy the loving relationship between Princess Mia and her mother, Helen, as well as the always astounding Julie Andrews (Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music). Apart from its heart-warming centre, it’s also absolutely hilarious.
8- 13 Going on 30
My mum insists that she’s never seen this, but I make her watch it all the time. Apart from the soundtrack rekindling my love of Billy Joel, this 2004 movie celebrates friendship and 1980s fashion, two of my most favourite things. 13-year-old Jenna, played by Jennifer Garner (Alias, Dallas Buyers Club), wants to be popular, but the popular girls only take advantage of her and make fun of her behind her back. At her thirteenth birthday party, her best friend Matty tries to admit his feelings for her. Jenna does not take this well, as the popular girls leave her party and she blames Matty. Upon locking herself in a closet, she spills magic wishing dust (which Matty gave her as a gift) on herself while wishing to be “thirty and flirty and thriving”, a phrase she saw in a magazine. She then wakes up in her future in 2004, but without any knowledge of what has happened since that day in 1987. She soon discovers that her future self is not quite the nice girl that she once was, and vows to turn things around. I won’t spoil the ending, but it’s pretty darn cute. This is an entertaining and heart-warming movie, which is decidedly tame enough to watch with your mom. Bonus, it has Mark Ruffalo (The Avengers, Now You See Me) as the grown-up version of Matty, back when he was still cool enough to do rom coms.
7 – Ella Enchanted
Oops. I somehow picked another Anne Hathaway movie. If you were anything like me as a kid, you loved fairy tales. And I loved sharing them with my mum. That’s why I love this movie (based on the 1997 book by Gail Carson Levine) in which Princess Ella is given a gift by a fairy godmother, as per custom. Her gift is obedience. Unfortunately, this backfires a lot throughout her childhood, adolescence, and into adulthood, as she can be forced to do things against her will. The movie is kind of cheesy and involves a bunch of magic and singing, which obviously makes it great. It also contains important values and a theme of mother and daughter relationships and strength. Your mom will love it!
6 – Music & Lyrics
Remember what I said about Hugh Grant (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill)? This has to be one of my favourites. Also starring Drew Barrymore (The Wedding Singer, 50 First Dates), Music & Lyrics follows the love story of a washed-up 80s pop star, Alex (Grant) and the girl who waters his plant, Sophie (Barrymore). Alex is hired to write another great pop song for a new female star, but struggles with writing lyrics. He inadvertently discovers that Sophie is a gifted lyricist, and the two begin working together on the song. I’m sure you can guess what happens, based on the cheesy title. I happen to like a lot of movies involving singing, probably because my mother does. This list may be slightly biased.
5 – Pride and Prejudice
This is probably my mother’s top pick of my list, as she is always bugging me to become as obsessed with Jane Austen as she is. This is an absolute classic, and the best part is that there are two versions you can choose from! Whether it’s the six-hour-long 1995 TV miniseries starring Colin Firth (Love Actually, The King’s Speech) or the 2005 film version with Keira Knightley (Love Actually, Pirates of the Caribbean) and James McAvoy, (X-Men: First Class, Filth) your mother is going to love watching this classic love story with you. It takes place in early 19th-century England and involves young Lizzie Bennet dealing with issues of manners, upbringing, and marriage. While this may sound a bit dull by comparison, it is truly a classic, the love story of which has transcended time. And, because it takes place approximately a billion years ago, there’s no way it contains content that would be awkward to watch with your mother!
4 – Ever After
This is one of my absolute favourites. A beautiful adaptation of the Cinderella story, Ever After (1998) stars Drew Barrymore and Angelica Huston (The Addams Family, The Royal Tenenbaums). It is more of a historical fiction than a fairy tale in terms of how the mythical elements are treated – magic and the supernatural have been removed for this version of the story and it is set in France during the Renaissance era. The main character, based off of Cinderella, pushed for civil and women’s rights and this adaptation is often seen as a modern, post-feminist retelling of the classic Cinderella story. Who better to celebrate girl power with than mummy dearest?
3 – Bridget Jones’s Diary
Hugh Grant again, oops. And Colin Firth. What can I say? My mum and I know what we like. This movie is on this list mostly because I didn’t want to repeat Love Actually from my Valentine’s Day article, and Bridget Jones’s Diary follows closely in theme, actors, and quintessential British-ness. Renee Zellweger (Jerry Maguire, Chicago) stars as the title character, and does a surprisingly good English accent. The 2001 movie is based on the 1996 book by Helen Fielding, which is based on Pride and Prejudice. And here’s where it gets weird – Colin Firth plays Mark Darcy, and he played Mister Darcy in Pride and Prejudice. Bridget has a line in the movie where she compares the two. It’s funny and endearing and embarrassing, and your mom will love it.
2 – The Princess Bride
This 1987 film (also based on a novel) goes down in history as one of my (and many others’) all-time favourites. The underlying premise is that a child stays home sick from school one day, and his grandfather brings over a story to read to him: The Princess Bride. The boy asks the iconic question, “Is this a kissing book?” and the grandfather tells him that he will have to wait until the end to find out. The story then comes alive through the rest of the film, starring Cary Elwes (Robin Hood: Men in Tights, Saw), Mandy Patinkin (Criminal Minds, Homeland), and Robin Wright (Forrest Gump, House of Cards). Wikipedia lists it as a “romantic comedy fantasy adventure”, and it is just that. Pirates, princesses, swordfights, giants and the like come alive in this classic. Chances are your mom has already seen this, and probably made you watch it as a child! Why not relive it and enjoy the magic?
1 – Mamma Mia!
I don’t think I could have picked anything other than a musical to end off this list as my number one. I don’t usually like movie adaptations of musicals, but this one is just so much fun! It stars Amanda Seyfried (Mean Girls, Letters to Juliet) and Meryl Streep (Kramer vs. Kramer, The Devil Wears Prada), is comprised of the music of ABBA, and takes places in Greece, so how could this go wrong? The plot: Sophie is getting married and wants to invite her dad, but her mom Donna has never told her who her father is. Sophie finds her mother’s diary and determines that it could be one of three men, and secretly invites them all to the wedding! The best part of this movie is that Pierce Brosnan is one of the dads and he really, really, REALLY cannot sing. Even if you don’t like musicals, you probably like looking at Greece and making fun of James Bond. You’ll be singing along by the end, I guarantee!
I hope you and your mother enjoy your Mother’s Day, no matter what you end up doing! But if you need any suggestions, this list is here to help!
Written by Fiona Douglas.