Mother's Day

Bob Mahoney/Netflix

15 Movies On Netflix About Mothers & Daughters That’ll Make You Emotional

You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll be calling your mother.

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There are so many movies out there that examine the important but occasionally fraught relationships that moms have with their daughters. And these mother-daughter movies on Netflix are just a few, though they'll all be readily available to watch on Mother's Day this year. When the holiday rolls around the second Sunday in May, you may find yourself looking for something on-theme to enjoy. Luckily, Netflix has a few things to offer.

Most of the films on this list don't shy away from how complex the bond between a mom and daughter can be, though they all interpret it in different ways. Some are spiky and tense; others are bizarre and surreal and some go for heartwarming comedy. Hopefully one of these movies will be able to match whatever mood you find yourself in.

After all, any movie can be a Mother's Day movie if it's something you enjoy with your mom or your daughter; it's all about what brings you together. But if you're looking for some new options, look no further. Whether it's messy or funny, dramatic or ridiculous, Netflix has a mother-daughter movie for everyone. So without further ado, here are a few possibilities to explore.

Dumplin'

Much of this feel-good teen comedy revolves around the titular Dumplin's distant relationship with her former beauty queen mom. Their history is knotty and they don't really understand each other, but they find a way to bridge those gaps with time. Australian actress Danielle Macdonald plays Willowdean Dickson, the plus-size teenager, who also happens to be a huge fan of Dolly Parton. And Jennifer Aniston plays Willowdean’s former beauty queen mom.

“It's a movie about, you know, learning to love yourself and girlfriends and a love story, many love stories,” Aniston told Jimmy Kimmel Live in a 2018 interview. “A love story with Dolly Parton, a love story between a mom and daughter, between friends, mainly, at the end, it's a love story about Willadean learning to love herself and redefining what beauty is.”

Watch Dumplin’, rated PG-13, on Netflix.

20th Century Women

Annette Bening stars as Dorothea Fields, a mom of two boys and a boarding household landlord living in California in 1979 who begins to care for her tenants, too. Although the female tenants aren't Fields’ actual daughters, the film highlights how mother-daughter relationships aren't always conventional. Bening, who described herself as a “self-identified feminist” to The Guardian, said characters like Fields shows other women that we don’t have to do everything. But in developing her character, the director did have a quirky request from Bening.

“He wanted me to think about Humphrey Bogart,” Bening shared in a 2017 HeyUGuys interview. “It wasn't like I was doing a Humphrey Bogart impression which would have been strange, but he did he did say that she [Bening’s character] loved Humphrey Bogart and that she also sort of wanted to be Humphrey Bogart.”

Watch 20th Century Women, rated R, on Netflix.

Rip Tide

In Rip Tide, New York teenage model Cora has always worked hard to live up to the expectations of her mother. But when she goes to live with her aunt in Australia after an embarrassing video of her goes viral, she learns a few lessons along the way. The relationship between Cora and her aunt serves as a reminder that the word "mom" has many meanings and they all make sense in their own way. The movie stars Debby Ryan, Andrew Creer, Naomi Sequeira and Danielle Carter.

“It’s about how social media can make you want to go literally as far from your life as possible,” Ryan shared in a 2017 Just Jared interview. “It’s about grief, profound lingering grief and how, even though we’re all healing from different things, none of us has to heal alone.”

Watch Rip Tide, not rated, on Netflix.

Otherhood

Netflix

Grab the tissues, because if you’re not crying, you’ll be laughing at this 2019 comedy movie starring Angela Bassett, Patricia Arquette, and Felicity Huffman. The three women play three mothers who are exploring the different stages of motherhood together. It’s also a movie that shows the lengths mothers will go through to reconnect with their now-adult children. In this particular scenario, the three women take a road trip to New York City to surprise their adult sons for Mother’s Day. Moms watching this movie will learn about redefining their relationships with their children, friends, spouse and most importantly, themselves. Both boy and girl moms can find relatability in this flick.

Watch Otherhood, rated R, on Netflix.

Lady Bird

Lady Bird follows one teenager’s adventures in love and self-discovery, as she dreams of moving away from her hometown in California for a new life on the East Coast. This film also delves into the very complex relationship between a mother and teenager that will tug at your heartstrings. The movie stars Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf.

“We only see the mother and daughter during this brief period of time in their lives where they're really butting heads,” Metcalf told Deadline in a 2017 interview about the movie. “They've not always been like that and they won't always be like that because the only glimpse into their lives that we see.” This movie was Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut, who was inspired by her post-9/11 time period in a catholic school.

Watch Lady Bird, rated R, on Netflix.

Sunday’s Illness

After abandoning her daughter when she was just 8 years old, a mother is reunited with her long-lost daughter 35 years later and forced to spend 10 days with her in a remote location in this international film from Spain. Directed by Ramón Salazar, IndieWire film commentator Eric Kohn called it a “powerful look at the durability of parent-child bonds as well as a fascinating psychological thriller about what it takes to heal such a rift when it seems irreparable.” The movie is in subtitles and first premiered at the 68th Berlin International Film Festival.

Watch Sunday’s Illness, rated PG-13, on Netflix.

All Together Now

An optimistic and talented teenager named Amber harbors a secret: she and her mother are homeless and live on a school bus. She must navigate her relationship with her mother and friends while figuring things out in this 2020 Netflix original film, which is also based on a true story. IndieWire gave the movie a “Grade B.”

All Together Now makes the argument that tragedies don’t have to be faced alone,” IndieWire commentator Kate Erbland wrote. She added that although the movie “has a happy ending,” it also “makes it clear that such conclusions are only the start.”

Watch All Together Now, rated PG, on Netflix.

Dad Wanted

In this international film from Mexico, starring Natalia Coronado and Silvia Navarro, a young girl’s mother prevents her from BMX racing after the death of her father, who was killed in an accident. Little does she know that she will do everything in her power to enter a competition without her mother knowing. The competition requires the consent of one parent. Instead of asking her mother, who will obviously object, she finds someone to stand in as her father so she can enter the competition. The film exposes the strained relationships kids can have with their parents and the process of healing it. The 2020 movie has some foul language so it’s probably best for older kids.

Watch Dad Wanted, not rated, on Netflix.

Moxie!

This comedy-drama shows the power of words. Amy Poehler plays a former Riot Grrl turned mom who inspires her teenage daughter to start a revolution and make a change in her high school by calling out sexism in an anonymous zine. This Netflix original film is based on the book, Moxie: A Novel by Jennifer Mathieu. The movie stars Josephine Langford, Hadley Robinson, Lauren Tsai and Alycia Pascual-Pena.

“We know that this film is a YA film with big feelings and a big message, and at the end of the day, we've all talked about how it's a human film," Poehler told Entertainment Weekly in a 2021 interview. “It's about someone's personal journey, it's about friendship, it's about love, allyship, all that stuff. But of course, the big theme is how the feminist movement has evolved through the years.”

Watch Moxie!, rated PG-13, on Netflix.

Finding ‘Ohana

During the summer, two siblings reconnect with their Hawaiian heritage and family on a quest for long lost treasure in this Netflix original film from 2021. The film stars Kea Peahu, Alex Aiono, Lindsay Watson, Owen Vaccaro, and Kelly Hu. Peahu, who is from the Hawaiian island of Kapolei, received global fame from first film debut and praised the movie for its representation of her home.

“I'm really glad this movie shows Hawaiian culture, what's important about it and we represented, as it actually is presented so I'm really glad there wasn't any misunderstandings,” Peahu told CBR in a 2021 interview. “It's really rare for people from Hawaii to get to move and make these movies so I'm really grateful I could be one of those people. I'm really glad this movie puts Hawaii out there and I'm really glad people can see it and learn a few lessons when they watch this movie.”

Watch Finding ‘Ohana, rated PG, on Netflix.

Roxanne Roxanne

Teenage rap battle champion, Roxanne Shanté, must care for her family while defending herself from the dangers of life in this film based on a true story and revolves around the life of one of the first female MCs in the ‘80s, Roxanne Shanté.

“I would call myself a feminist today,” Shanté told NPR in a 2018 interview reflecting on her career. “We need that. We need to hear that. Little girls needed to hear that. There are so many things that we as women would be able to do. Not that we physically can't do them, but sometimes we mentally hold ourselves back from doing these things because we are told those are man things or those things that men are only good at or those are things that men are only strong enough to handle. And that is not true.”

This movie, which was first shown at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, has strong language and violence and may not be appropriate for younger children.

Watch Roxanne Roxanne, rated TV-MA, on Netflix.

Ginny Weds Sunny

Another international flick to enjoy! A bachelor accepts the help from his mother to find a bride-to-be after constantly being rejected from women. Now that is one way to form a special mother-daughter-in-law relationship. This Indian Hindi romantic comedy stars Yami Gautam as Ginny and Vikrant Massey as Sunny. Gautam took the role as an opportunity to portray Indian girls in a more positive, light-hearted light, instead of the sensationalism one would typically see in Bollywood-style films.

“We have seen rom-coms before, we have seen Delhi girls in films before, so the challenge in front of me was to add something to make it look different, and make it mine,” she told FirstPost in a 2020 interview. “I took it as an opportunity as a performer to draw that line where you don’t necessarily have to sound brash, or there have to be any cuss words. Deep down, what I loved about the character besides her being strong and witty, was her vulnerability that nobody has seen.”

There are some romantic scenes but overall it’s a great movie for family night.

Watch Ginny Weds Sunny, not rated, on Netflix.

Thi Mai

A heartwarming adventure with a happy ending. A woman travels from Spain to Vietnam with her friends, determined to bring home the baby that her recently deceased daughter had planned on adopting, proving that motherhood can be complicated. The three women have never left Spain in their lives and, naturally, hilarity and cultural confusion. This movie is also in Spanish and English and is written by Marta Sánchez and directed by Patricia Ferreira. It’s been praised and critiqued for its modern-day portrayal of Vietnam. The movie stars Carmen Machi, Aitana Sanched-Gijo, and Adriana Ozores.

Watch Thi Mai, not rated, on Netflix.

Riding Faith

An uplifting and inspirational story about family, faith and never losing hope despite all odds. In the wake of her father’s death, a young girl must hatch a plan to save her family’s ranch with the help of her widowed mother. The movie stars Paco Aguilar, Simon K. Parker, John Schneider, Grace Van Dien and T.C. Stallings. Now that is one way to heal. This is a great movie for those who love horses, western riding, and rustic farms! The drama first premiered last June and is based on the true-life story of inspirational rodeo rider Amberley Snyder.

Watch Riding Faith, rated PG, on Netflix.

You Are My Home

A great holiday flick for Christmas but you can watch year around. After being separated from her family, a young girl finds herself in the care of a woman who is heartbroken from her own struggles. The young girl lost her mother at the border. However, this movie proves that mother-daughter relationships can come in many different ways. It may sound like a true story but it’s an original script written by Marion Milner and Amanda Raymond. Alyssa Milano, are the Cristián de la Fuente stars of this movie.

Watch You Are My Home, not rated, on Netflix.

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