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My mother and I share a sense of humor — and the love of movies that led me to become a critic. My college-age daughter’s favorite job ever was working at the box office of our local art house theater. The movies that we love and share unite three generations — and, come Mother’s Day, we’ll celebrate by watching movies about mothers. Whether comedy, tragedy or somewhere in the middle, these are the 12 mom movies to which my family keeps returning.
To Leslie (2022)
Andrea Riseborough got a long-shot (and well-deserved) Oscar nomination for her tough, torn and tattered titular boozer. Leslie tries and tries again to go straight in order to rescue her frayed relationship with the grown son (Owen Teague) she abandoned as a youth. It’s a detailed, heart-wrenching performance in a drama about the intersection of motherhood and addiction — and one woman’s battle of the bottle versus the baby.
Watch it: To Leslie on Prime Video
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Ticket to Paradise (2022)
Seeking a mother-of-the-bride from hell? Look no further than Julia Roberts, 55. What’s the only thing that the pissed-off divorcée can agree on with her ex-husband George Clooney, 62? Their only daughter shouldn’t go through with her destination wedding in Bali. These A-list opposites can’t help but attract, and both are easy on the eyes as they unite in a dastardly attempt to thwart the nuptials, only to trip on the last threads of their affection for each other.
Watch it: Ticket to Paradise on Apple TV, Prime Video
Mamma Mia! (2008)
Irresistible! This sun-drenched, ABBA-fueled musical has a beat you can dance to in your living room. Meryl Streep, 73, sings her heart out as an island-bound earth mama whose “Dancing Queen” daughter (Amanda Seyfried) returns home to wed. When it comes to marching her down the aisle, who’s her papa? Is it Stellan Skarsgård, 71, Pierce Brosnan, 69, or Colin Firth, 62?
Watch it: Mamma Mia! on Apple TV, Prime Video
Lady Bird (2017)
Writer-director Greta Gerwig’s knockout coming-of-age dramedy plumbs the complicated relationship between a high school senior (Saoirse Ronan) and her overworked mother (Laurie Metcalf, 67). Their emotional tug-of-war is so relatable! As the younger woman struggles to define herself as an individual, inevitably part of that process requires pulling away from the bewildered mother who shaped her.
Watch it: Lady Bird on Hulu, Prime Video
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