Mother’s Day is great when your relationship with your mom is… also great. Is that everyone? No.
The waves of social media posts proudly proclaiming “my mom is my best friend!” can be heartwarming if you’re a Gilmore, but for a lot of people, they turn into guilty reminders of a relationship gone sour, either over time or from the beginning.
We picked out our favorite mother-daughter movies for those whose relationships range from Freaky Friday-complicated-but-working-with-it to Heavenly Creatures-style-mania. ‘Cause hey, if we’re gonna talk about moms, we’re gonna talk about all moms. Even the murdering ones.
Postcards from the Edge
Based on Carrie Fisher’s novel of the same name, Postcards shows a semi-autobiographical version of the complicated Hollywood relationship that Fisher had with her own mom, Debbie Reynolds.
It’s a curious look at the problems of cinema families, the mother and daughter characters are simultaneously endearing and obnoxious, but most importantly, honest. Also Meryl Streep and #queen Shirley McLaine act their pants off in it.
Streaming on Netflix, Starz
Astrid’s mom was a beautiful, ethereal poet. She also, um, murdered her ex using a really witchy poison and ended up in prison for a super long time, leaving Astrid to navigate California’s foster care system, where she finds many more mothers, each with their own issues to address.
White Oleander covers so many different mother-daughter relationships in one — the mothers we’re both with, the mothers we choose ourselves, and the mothers that are forced upon us.
August Osage County
Matriarch Violet is a pill-popping, truth-telling, slowly dying Southern Woman (caps intended). She’s also played by Meryl Streep, which makes her incredibly watchable despite all that other garbage. Meryl Streep is really holding this list down for mothers and daughters.
Over the course of this epic family drama, she manages to f*ck up pretty much everything and everyone in her immediate gene pool so badly that I started to feel better about my own life. And so can you!
Streaming on Netflix
Flowers in the Attic
This movie is so bad that it’s good and I’ll stand by that ’til my dying day. Like if you see this movie in a theatre, everyone will lose it in a very physical way, it’s that good.
Flowers stars both Leslie Graham and Kiernan Shipka, two women who just naturally seem like they would have the mother-daughter chemistry of some animal that eats its young. Anyways, mom locks daughter and her siblings in an attic and then two of the kids KISS? Listen, it’s really good.
Precious is a hard movie to watch, but knowing that it introduced sweetheart Gabourey Sidebe into the world makes it a little easier.
A hard look at a long-abused teen and her devastating family circumstances, it’s a portrait of a part of America a lot of people would rather not acknowledge. But it’s honest and unflinching above all else.
The original only. Please get Chloë Grace Moretz away from me.
Carrie’s got issues. She does. She’s telekinetic, it’s a whole thing. More than that, though, her mom won’t let her do anything. Super religious, super constrictive, Carrie is forced to sew her own clothes in patterns that she hates, left horribly uninformed about things like her own body, and generally kept home under her mother’s iron fist. It’s a relationship at least one Catholic school girl in every class can relate to.
Streaming on Hulu and Epix
Thirteen follows the fall down the rabbit hole of 13 year old Tracy, an honors-student-turned-wild-child all because of what? Oh yeah, her mom.
Tracy’s mom is a recovering alcoholic, and caught up in a lot of her own stuff. So much so that she’s not paying attention to her daughter, who ends up getting caught up in drinking, drugs, and *gasp* boys.
This movie is like the bible for ignored but shy teen girls everywhere, who can’t quite see themselves roaming the streets of L.A. (“I can’t do that, I’m only 13!”), but they sure think it’s cool.
Streaming on Cinemax
So if Mothers’ Day is getting harder to celebrate every year, just stop celebrating. Revel in the tumultuous relationships of others, eat some eggs Benedict you made for your own damn self, and enjoy your Sunday.