Mother's Day

Nico Hiraga as Seth, Amy Poehler as Lisa, Hadley Robinson as Vivian stand in a doorway in 'Moxie,' a...
Colleen Hayes/NETFLIX © 2020
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.

by Megan Walsh and Alexia McKay
Originally Published: 

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.

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, rated TV-PG, on Netflix.

Yes Day


When an uptight mom (Jennifer Garner) agrees to a “yes day,” a day when she and her husband say yes to their son and two daughters’ most outlandish requests, it’s the stuff of childhood dreams. The whirlwind day of fun results in a chore-free, sundae-eating, Kool-Aid balloon throwing free for all. But is it a perfect world when kids get to run the show? That’s what you’ll find out when you watch this Netflix original. A word of caution. If you watch this with your children, chances are, they’re going to ask for their own Yes Day.

Stream Yes Day, rated PG, 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.

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.


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.

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.



OK, a million warnings about this one: it’s a tearjerker. If you’re looking for a light, “feel-good” kind of Mother’s Day movie, Stepmom ain’t it. But if you need a cathartic cry, you can do no better.

Susan Sarandon and Julia Roberts star as Jackie (who is divorced from Luke, played by Ed Harris) and Isabel (his new girlfriend). The three navigate the ins and outs of co-parenting the divorced couple’s two children, Anna and Ben. Though most of the drama is focused around the relationships between the adults, the movie also explores the parenting relationships between the women and children, especially Anna, the somewhat salty tween. The complicated relationships that propel the story only become more complicated as time goes on.

Watch Stepmom, rated PG-13, on Netflix.



Told though the framing device of a young woman, Cristina, writing her college essay, Spanglish tells the story of her mother a Mexican immigrant named Flor. After the pair settle in Los Angeles, Flor finds a job as a housekeeper for a wealthy but dysfunctional family and agrees that she and Cristina will live at their home in Malibu for the summer. Cristina often serves as a translator for her mom, and finds herself dazzled by the wealth she is exposed to. This creates conflict between her and her working class mom, who wants Cristina to remain more grounded.

Watch Spanglish, rated PG-13, 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, rated TV-14, on Netflix.


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.

In Our Mother’s Gardens


This documentary explores the relationships between American Black women and the mothers and grandmothers who came before them. The interview subjects hail from a number of states and claim heritage from around the world (Africa, the Caribbean, South America). They share stories about their female forebears which range from heartwarming and funny to tragic and messy. All these stories are fundamental to who the subjects – activists, intellectuals, artists, and businesswomen – are today. While issues of intergenerational trauma, sexism, and racism are explored, so too is joy. In Our Mother’s Gardens is a love letter to the power of Black women.

Watch In Our Mother’s Gardens, rated TV-MA, on 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.

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, TV-MA, 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, TV-MA, on Netflix.

Happy Mother’s Day, everybody!

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