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25 Mother/Son Movies To Watch With Your Mom On Mother’s Day

“I am trying to get home to my eight-year-old son!”

After you’ve finished brunch and your mom has all her flowers in vases, you might have some time to kill.

And so in honor of all the mothers out there raising boys, here are twenty-five mother/son movies for you to watch together this Mother’s Day.

1.

Back to the Future (1985)


Universal / courtesy Everett Collection

Since we’re doing this list alphabetically (just like your mom organizes her recipe cards), first up we’ve got Back to the Future. Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) goes back in time and meets his parents as they gear up for a high school dance. The past version of his mom does try to make out with him, which is a bit awkward, but in the end Marty helps her fall in love with his father (awwwww). Maybe a little awkward to watch sitting next to your mom, but a romp nonetheless. Now streaming on Netflix.

2.

Moonlight (2016)


A24 / courtesy Everett Collection

The 2016 Best Picture winner delivers a difficult portrait of motherhood, as Chiron witnesses his mom’s spiral into drug addiction in three acts. Naomie Harris’s Oscar-nominated turn as his mother is as captivating as it is gut-wrenching. Oh, and you’ve also got Janelle Monae right there as another mother figure. Actors doing great work all the way around. Now streaming on Netflix.

3.

Boy Erased (2018)


Focus Features

If there was ever a boy who would be close to his mother, it is Lucas Hedges (as evidenced by all the older female co-stars that adore him). In this drama about a nefarious conversion therapy camp, Lucas’s Jared and his mom (played by Nicole Kidman) go on an emotional journey as they learn together to accept and celebrate his homosexuality. You will cry and also marvel at Nicole’s wigs. Now streaming on Peacock.

4.

Boyhood (2014)


IFC Films

The second Oscar-winning mom on the list! Patricia Arquette took home an Academy Award for this quiet Richard Linklater film in which she plays the mother of a son slowly growing up before her eyes. Filmed over a twelve year period, Boyhood depicts a mother/son relationship that while rocky at times is ultimately strengthened through adversity. The film also features the classic “mom crying as her son leaves for college” scene. Now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

5.

Changeling (2008)


Universal Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

What if your son gets kidnapped, and then when the police return him, it’s not your son? Does it still qualify as a mother/son movie? I’m going to say yes. Angelina Jolie is riveting in this crime thriller as she instantly recognizes that the new boy is not the one who disappeared but is written off by the police as hysterical (Men amiright?). If your mom doesn’t appreciate a little psychological suspense, hopefully she at least appreciates Angelina’s hats. Now streaming on Hulu.

6.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)


Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection

Benjamin’s (Brad Pitt) birth mother dies in labor in this drama documenting the life of a man born old and aging backwards. Luckily, he is quickly taken in by Queenie (Taraji P. Henson) the caretaker of a nursing home (because he looks old), and the pair’s lives are intertwined as his adoptive mother continues to age while he gets younger. Of course raising an 80-year-old with the mind of a toddler is not the norm, but I think it holds up nonetheless. Now streaming on Hulu.

7.

Hereditary (2018)


A24

“I AM YOUR MOTHER!” Or so Toni Collette shouts at Alex Wolff across the dinner table. This horror film is certainly not about a good mother/son relationship (one of them gets demon possessed and tries to murder the other by the end), but the ride is a terrifyingly interesting one. Morals of the story: don’t let your sister eat nuts if she’s allergic and don’t summon a demonic presence into your home. Now streaming on Hulu.

8.

Love, Simon (2018)


20th Century Fox

If you’re gonna come out to your mom, here’s hoping that your mom is Jennifer Garner. When Nick Robinson’s titular character tells his mother that he’s gay in the coming-of-age rom-com, Jen delivers one of the best loving mom monologues in cinema. Who doesn’t want a hug from Jennifer Garner and her cozy sweater? Now streaming on Hulu.

9.

The Blind Side (2009)


Warner Bros. Pictures

Based on the true story of NFL football star Michael Oher and his adopted mother Leigh Anne Tuohy, this Oscar-nominated film is a heartwarming depiction of adoptive family. Sandra Bullock won an Oscar for playing the no nonsense southern mother ready to berate anyone on her son’s behalf. Also before Emily (Lily Collins) was in Paris, she was Michael’s cheerleading sister. Now streaming on HBO Max.

10.

Home Alone (1990)


Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved. Courtesy: Everett Collection.

Every mother’s worst nightmare is to accidentally leave their child home alone…for a week…while they’re on vacation in France. But for all the hijinks, this Christmas classic is really about Catherine O’Hara and Macaulay Culkin learning to love and appreciate each other. Long before Moira had David, Mrs. McCallister had “KEVIN!” Now streaming on Disney+.

11.

Jerry Maguire (1996)


TriStar Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

And the award for cutest child in a movie ever goes to Jonathan Lipnicki in Jerry Maguire. With his spikey hair, round glasses, and endless charisma, the little tike and his single mom (played by Renee Zellweger) steal the show. You’re rooting for them to find happiness and for Tom Cruise to just shut up and make them a family. After all, he had her at hello. Now streaming on Peacock.

12.

The Kids Are All Right (2010)


Suzanne Tenner/©Focus Features/Courtesy Everett Collection

What’s better than one mother/son relationship in a movie? How about two? Josh Hutcherson’s Laser (what a name!) is being raised by a pair of lesbian moms played by Anette Bening and Julianne Moore. When he contacts the sperm bank to learn the identity of his father, however, he meets Mark Ruffalo and must unpack his relationships with both his moms (and his new-found dad). Now streaming on Peacock.

13.

Jojo Rabbit (2019)


Fox Searchlight Pictures

Good mothers teach their children not to be Nazis. In this Best Picture nominee, Scarlet Johansson, a German during World War II, works hard to protect her son while also teaching him how to stand up for what is right. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll never be so traumatized by a pair of shoes again. Available to rent on Amazon Prime Video.

14.

Lion (2016)


The Weinstein Company

Would you look at that! Nicole Kidman is back and playing another mom with a strange wig. In this film she’s the Australian adoptive mother of Dev Patel who got separated from his family and home as a child in India and is now desperately searching on Google Earth to find them again. Nicole’s monologue about wanting him as her son! I’ve still got goosebumps. Now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

15.

Looper (2012)


Alan Markfield/©TriStar Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

Jerry Maguire but make it a sci-fi thriller. Emily Blunt takes the Renee Zellweger role of single mom with an adorable child, as she navigates a world of contract killers, paid to murder people sent back in time from the future. As Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Young Joe) tries to murder Bruce Willis (his older self), the action hones in on Emily Blunt’s farmhouse and the little boy she is trying to protect. Now streaming on Hulu.

16.

Tarzan (1999)


Buena Vista Pictures

Sometimes your mom is a human. Sometime your human mom dies and you get a new mom who is a gorilla. This Disney classic, stockpiled with Phil Collins bops on the soundtrack, brings you the heartwarming tale of a loin clothed adult male and his loving gorilla mom (voiced by Glenn Close!) BRB going to listen to “You’ll Be in My Heart.” Now streaming on Disney+.

17.

Marriage Story (2019)


Netflix

While obviously a story about, well, marriage, this Noah Baumbach film starring Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson as divorcing parents is also a story of motherhood. While navigating an increasingly contentious, bi-coastal separation, Scarlett’s Nicole must also continue to raise her son, proving to him that just because his life will be different, doesn’t mean it can’t be wonderful. TBD though if this is a better film to watch with a married or divorced mom. Now streaming on Netflix.

18.

The Sixth Sense (1999)


Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

In addition to one of the greatest plot twists in film history, this M. Night Shyamalan film also features the dynamic mother/son duo played by Toni Collette and Haley Joel Osment (both of whom got Oscar noms. You see? There’s a trend). While all their interactions are pure gold, the scene where Haley holds a séance in their car is a sure bet to get the tears flowing. Now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

19.

Ordinary People (1980)


Paramount Pictures/ Courtesy: Everett Collection.

Another oldie, this Best Picture winner from the 80’s stars Donald Sutherland, Mary Tyler Moore, and Timothy Hutton in awards-worthy performances. An upper-class family in suburban Illinois crumbles as they each mourn the loss of their son and brother. MTM plays against-type in this serious drama, and her frazzled relationship with her remaining son is devastating. Now streaming on Paramount+.

20.

Parasite (2019)


CJ Entertainment

The third Best Picture winner on this list. Honestly Hollywood producers should take note. You want some gold statues? Make a film with a strong mother-son dynamic. In this dark comedy thriller, Choi Woo-shik’s character gets his family jobs working in the house of a rich Korean family. When their caper starts to go awry, however, it is the mother and son who are left scrambling to pull their life back together. Now streaming on Hulu.

21.

The Omen (1976)


20th Century Fox

Giving birth and raising a child is a beautiful experience. Less beautiful, however, when your son turns out to be the Antichrist and starts telepathically coercing nannies into hanging themselves. Such is the case in this supernatural horror classic where Damien arrives to wreak havoc on his mother (played by Lee Remick) at one point pushing her over a banister. Probably not quite the relationship you have with your mom, but who’s to say. Now available on Cinemax Go.

22.

Room (2015)


Caitlin Cronenberg/©A24 / courtesy Everett Collection

You’ve really got no choice but to be best friends with your mom if you’ve been locked in a shed with her for five years by an evil man. The relationship between Brie Larson’s Joy and Jacob Tremblay’s Jack is pushed to its breaking point as the pair try to escape and rebuild a life for themselves after years of trauma. Oh, and Brie won an Oscar for this role. I’m telling you. Now streaming on Hulu.

23.

Psycho (1960)


Paramount Pictures

SPOILERS (although this movie came out sixty years ago, so honestly you should know the plot twist by now). Nothing says “I don’t have mommy issues,” like hiding your mother’s dead body in the basement, dressing up in her old clothes, and murdering motorists in your hotel. Norma Bates isn’t actually alive in the film, but her presence is all over it. Now streaming on Hulu.

24.

Wildlife (2018)


IFC Films

The directorial debut of Paul Dano (yes, one of Toni Collette’s film sons) follows a family in 1960’s Montana as the parents navigate a divorce and their teenage son. While parts of the film are bleak, the landscapes are beautiful and the acting by Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal is Grade A. Also, you should watch this movie if only for Carey’s green dress in the dinner party scene. Should have won the Costume Design Oscar. Now streaming on Netflix.

25.

The Way, Way Back (2013)


Claire Folger/TM and ©Copyright Fox Searchlight Pictures. All rights reserved./Courtesy Everett Collection

Toni Collette is an amazing actor, and apparently casting directs have realized you can’t go wrong if you give her a sad, emo child (Hereditary, Little Miss Sunshine, The Sixth Sense, need I go on?). In this coming-of-age drama set mostly at a Cape Cod waterpark, Toni struggles to choose between her aimless son and her deadbeat boyfriend. Funny and heartwarming with no antichrists or corpses in sight, this is a great watch for the whole family. Now available to rent on Amazon Prime Video.

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