Pop the popcorn and grab the tissues before you sit down to watch these movies with your mum or daughter – they’re guaranteed to have you crying tears of joy, sorrow and laughter!
Everyone loves a feel-good movie, but no one gets a lump in their throat and puddles in their eyes faster than a mum. Heck, toilet paper commercials have even been known to make mamas burst into tears. One of my good friends had warned me about it. “Since I became a mum, I can’t watch anything remotely emotional without bawling my eyes out,” she said. I didn’t believe her until I became an over-emotive mother myself. Well, stock up on the jumbo tissues before you settle down to watch these movies, ladies, because they’re guaranteed to turn you into a miniature version of Niagara Falls.
1. Steel Magnolias (1989)
With its all-star ensemble cast including Sally Field, Dolly Parton, Shirley MacLaine, Daryl Hannah, Olympia Dukakis and Julia Roberts, Steel Magnolias tells the story of six Louisiana women who band together through a series of joys and hardships. This movie is guaranteed to make you cry at the sad part every single time (even if you’ve watched it 47 times like certain Kidspot staff members who shall remain nameless).
2. Fried Green Tomatoes (1991)
A discontented housewife (Kathy Bates) forms a friendship with an elderly lady (Jessica Tandy) in a nursing home and learns valuable life lessons through the woman’s tales. Their heart-warming friendship will make you want to ring your grandma, your mumandyour best friend afterwards.
3. Beaches (1988)
The story of a lifelong friendship between a child star (Bette Midler) and a rich kid (Barbara Hershey) takes a heart-rending turn that will leave you a sobbing mess. My friend who told me she can’t watch anything emotional without weeping tortures herself regularly by watching this with her mum and two sisters because it’s their all-time favourite.
4. Terms of Endearment (1983)
Another classic ‘80s mum film, Terms of Endearment chronicles the love-hate relationship between a mother (Shirley MacLaine) and daughter (Debra Winger) over the course of 30 years. MacLaine won a well-deserved Best Actress Oscar for this role.
5. Stepmom (1998)
Every mother will relate to the rollercoaster of emotions that both the terminally ill mum-of-two (Susan Sarandon) and the new step-mum who’s trying to find her place in the family go through in this touching film.
6. Now and Then (1995)
Driven by another ensemble cast of Hollywood powerhouses including Demi Moore and Melanie Griffith, Now and Then tells the life stories of four childhood friends through a series of flashbacks. You’ll become so attached to each character that you’ll feel like you’re one of them by the end of the movie.
7. First Wives Club (1996)
Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn and Diane Keaton star in this hilarious tale of three divorced women who plot revenge against their ex-husbands who traded them in for younger models. If you need a little break from the tear-jerkers on this list, First Wives Club is it.
8. Mermaids (1990)
No mum movies list would be complete without a Cher flick – and Mermaids takes the cake. Cher plays an eccentric mum who never ceases to embarrass her teenage (Winona Ryder) and grade-school (Christina Ricci) daughters. But if you guessed that it’s also filled with poignant mother-daughter moments that will melt your heart, you’ve been paying attention.
9. Not Without My Daughter (1991)
A dramatic departure from all the feel-good entries on this list, this tortured film tells the true story of an American woman who desperately tries to escape from Iran with her daughter after her husband decides to keep them captive there. This book touched me deeply when I read it as a teen and Sally Field is extraordinary in the role of Betty Mahmoody.
10. Erin Brockovich (2000)
You don’t get much more SuperMum than this. Based on the true story of a single mum who brought a Californian power company to justice for polluting her town’s water supply and making residents sick, Erin Brockovich earned Julia Roberts an Academy Award for Best Actress.
11. Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
A typically twisted Woody Allen plot involving love affairs between main character Hannah’s (Mia Farrow) husbands and sisters, Hannah and Her Sisters is one of his best-received movies. But make sure you feel ready to introduce your daughter to slightly edgier content before you watch this with her.
12. How to Make an American Quilt (1995)
Finn (Winona Ryder) isn’t sure whether she should accept her boyfriend’s (Dermot Mulroney) proposal, so she goes to her grandmother’s house to think it over. She learns valuable lessons about love from the members of her grandma’s quilting group, who are making a quilt for her wedding gift. Cheesy good feels guaranteed.
13. Chocolat (2000)
When a single mum (Juliette Binoche) and her young daughter move to conservative small-town France and open up a chocolate shop during Lent, they’re met with resistance from the townsfolk before eventually winning them over. This American-British collaboration is super-sweet.
14. Eat Drink Man Woman (1994)
This critically acclaimed Taiwanese film explores the relationships between a chef and his three unmarried daughters who still live with him. Providing a fresh twist on the mother-daughter scenario, it’s sure to touch mums’ hearts too.
15. Muriel’s Wedding (1994)
If you haven’t already seen this Aussie coming-of-age story starring Toni Collette, do yourself a favour and hire it with your mum or daughter tonight. You’ll cringe at Muriel’s awkward social skills and faux pas, but you’ll end up identifying with her and wishing you could just give her a hug.
16. Thelma & Louise (1991)
Funny, sexy, dark and dramatic all at once, this Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis hit is a must-see for all women. A young, shirtless and incredibly hot Brad Pitt justifies the hiring price alone, but this movie delivers so much more. A word of warning, though: it features a very disturbing rape scene, so make sure your daughter is ready to see it.
17. Driving Miss Daisy (1989)
The story of an unlikely friendship between a wealthy white widow (Jessica Tandy) and her black driver (Morgan Freeman) raked in four Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actress. If you haven’t seen it yet, the time is nigh.
18. Eat Pray Love (2010)
The book was meh, but that Julia Roberts sure can turn literary lemons into big-screen lemonade, can’t she? You know the story – after a bad divorce, a woman travels the world for a year in search of her true self and finds delicious food, her spiritual side and a great man. That’s fodder for female warm-fuzzies if I’ve ever heard any!
19. Babette’s Feast (1987)
Anyone else notice how many entries on this list are about food? And they say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Babette’s Feast tells the moving story of a servant who makes the ultimate sacrifice to pay back the sisters who took her in and saved her life. Made in Denmark, it won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
20. Shirley Valentine (1989)
Pauline Collins plays the role of a dissatisfied housewife who takes a trip to Greece and discovers a new lust for life. You’ll find yourself rooting for this loveable character we can all identify with on many levels.
This article was Sabrina Rogers-Anderson for Kidspot.com.au and has been adpated for Kidspot.co.nz