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My mother's love of movies led me to be a film critic. So come Mother's Day, May 10, I'll join my college-age daughter — itching to go back to her job at our local arthouse theater — to share the cinephilia that unites our three generations by watching the best movies ever made about moms. Whether comedy, tragedy or somewhere in the middle, here are 10 movies to which my family keeps returning.
Mamma Mia! (2008)
Irresistible! This sun-drenched contemporary musical has a beat you can dance to in your living room. Meryl Streep, 70, sings her heart out as an island-bound earth mama whose dancing queen daughter (Amanda Seyfried) returns home to wed. But who'll march her down the aisle? Is it Stellan Skarsgard, 68; Pierce Brosnan, 66; or Colin Firth, 59?
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Where to watch: Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, Hulu, Vudu, YouTube. Typically $3.99 or by subscription.
Lady Bird (2017)
Writer-director Greta Gerwig's knockout, Oscar-nominated coming-of-age dramedy plumbs the highly relatable emotional tug-of-war between overworked Laurie Metcalf, 64, and high school daughter Saoirse Ronan, struggling to define herself by pulling away from the bewildered mother who shaped her.
Where to watch: Amazon, Google Play, Vudu, YouTube. Typically from $2.99 or by subscription.
It's the mother of all monster movies! Astronaut Sigourney Weaver, 70, gets between a slobbering carnivorous creature from outer space and the alien's babies. The scares are out of this world — and wedded to an emotion to which humans can relate: the fierce protective love a mother has for her offspring.
Where to watch: Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, YouTube, Hulu. Typically $3.99 or by subscription.
Not to be confused with Bong Joon-ho's 2009 murder-mystery masterpiece Mother or Jennifer Lawrence's 2017 horror-film bomb Mother, this is a bittersweet classic that Albert Brooks, 72, wrote, directed and stars in. Laugh until you cry as Brooks’ neurotic, twice-divorced character reluctantly moves in with his judgmental nut-job of a parent (Debbie Reynolds). Carrie Fisher lobbied her friend Brooks to cast her mom in the role that was intended for Doris Day — and movie-mama history was made.
Where to watch: Amazon, Tubi, Google Play, Vudu, YouTube. Typically $2.99 or by subscription.
Terms of Endearment (1983)
Who needs an excuse to weep when this Debra Winger/Shirley MacLaine 1984 Best Picture winner is just a stream away? After daughter Winger, 64, gets cancer, she and her perfectionist mother, MacLaine, 86, confront the ravages of the disease and navigate the trickier curves of their close relationship. Hankies, please!
Where to watch: Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, YouTube. Typically $2.99 or by subscription.