5 films for a memorable Mother’s Day movie night

By Stephen Aspeling9 May 2024

5 films for a memorable Mother’s Day movie night

Listen up, Mother’s Day is this weekend and it’s time for you to shine! Whether you’re planning to serve mom breakfast in bed, go on a shopping spree, take her for high tea or all of the above… there’s no better way to celebrate (or crash from pure shop-til-you-drop exhaustion) than with some quality time on the couch.  

Once you’ve made snow angels in your pile of new acquisitions, fluff up the cushions, grab a blanket if it’s cold and indulge in those leftover confectionaries to share in the time-honoured tradition that is oohing, aahing or singing in unison to a heart-warming romcom or musical. While merely a serving suggestion, why not spice things up with five captivating mother-themed movies that should appeal to all sorts of mums.  

1. The Fabelmans 

Gabriel LaBelle plays Sammy Fabelman in The Fabelmans on Showmax

It’s funny to think that Michelle Williams got her first big break in Dawson’s Creek. Now a seasoned actor, she’s left a number of transcendent performances in her wake, known for tackling darker or tragic themes. Two Golden Globes, a Primetime Emmy, a Tony Award and five Academy Award nominations later and she’s still going strong. The Fabelmans finds her playing to her strengths as Mitzi in an Oscar-nominated performance as an eccentric mother to a young filmmaker. Based on Steven Spielberg’s own lived experiences, this is his most personal film yet, tapping into an intimate and heartbreaking time in his life. 

From screening his earliest 8mm films to fellow boy scouts to navigating bullies in the schoolyard, The Fabelmans is a touching family portrait that captures the essence of Spielberg’s upbringing. Through vivid storytelling, Spielberg relays this rare coming-of-age drama with heart and humour, allowing Michelle Williams and Paul Dano to play mom and pops to Gabriel LaBelle as young Sammy Fabelman. While mostly centred on Sammy’s nostalgic odyssey, the character study elegantly captures his mother through her brilliance and flaws as a pianist and lover of life. 

2. Mafia Mamma

Maria Mamma on Showmax

Toni Colette is one of the most talented actors working in Hollywood. Shockingly underappreciated for her role as a mother living on the edge of sanity in Hereditary, she’s right at home as a matriarchal figure in the aptly titled action crime comedy Mafia Mamma. When people think of mob movies, it’s usually time to put a grape in each cheek and talk about making a deal someone can’t refuse. While atypical in one sense, this hot-blooded caper from Catherine Hardwicke centres on a woman who becomes queenpin after a former mobster’s last wishes to keep it in the family finds her at the deep end of the lineage. 

This suburban mom isn’t ready to sleep with the fishes but is ready to take Italy by storm in her reworking of Eat Pray Love. Inheriting a mob empire, she reinvents herself and tries to take the new role in her stride as allies and enemies rise up from the former regime. Reluctant at first, it turns out Kristen isn’t averse to exerting power and influence – but in defying expectations, she’s doing it her way! Starring opposite the beautiful Monica Bellucci, this is the Toni Colette show, as she channels her supremely watchable lead performance into an often gritty and rather silly movie that’s full of mild-mannered to wild surprises. 

3. Mamma Mia 

Mamma Mia on Showmax

ABBA, Meryl Streep and Greece… what’s not to love? Okay, fine, but as comical as Pierce Brosnan’s singing is, it’s his earnest commitment that ultimately wins the day. Mamma Mia is a holiday movie, taking some of that Shirley Valentine spirit and turning a beloved stage production into a living and bellowing musical. This star-studded and rewatchable Aegean affair also features Julie Walters and Christine Baranski, whose heartfelt and hilarious supporting performances get the party started. The movie that launched Amanda Seyfried’s career, it’s infectious and fun-spirited enough to get you dancing and singing along. 

Moms of every age will find a way to relate to this jukebox fiesta, whether getting emotionally invested in the themes around motherhood or just ogling the pretty boys on the beach. From Baranski’s high kicks and Streep’s dungarees to silly fun in the sun, Mamma Mia paints a joyful postcard memory to remind us to live in the moment. While you’re at it, why not make it a double feature with Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again

4. Bridget Jones’s Baby

Bridget Jones's Baby on Showmax

Granny panties aside, Bridget Jones charmed her way into our hearts with her off-the-cuff approach to love, life and everything else. An awkward romance comedy with a klutz in full flight, this delightful movie epitomised a young woman whose “love life was DOA”. Some would say having Colin Firth and Hugh Grant vying for your affections were champagne problems but somehow Bridget manages to thwart her own romantic overtures… in style. Now that Bridget is focussing on her career and singlehood, the prospect of having a baby becomes unavoidable. 

In true Mamma Mia fashion she tries to figure out if the would-be father is a billionaire or lawyer. Now a mother-to-be at the age of 43, she’s once again vexed by the troublesome task of choosing between two gorgeous suitors. The hilarity ensues as Jones tries to crack the case of her future child’s father as a veritable bun fight develops between Mark Darcy and Jack Qwant, played with verve and extreme handsomeness by the dapper Colin Firth and real-life prince charming Patrick Dempsey. 

5. Definitely, Maybe 

Definitely Maybe on Showmax

Definitely, Maybe is what happens when you get the most charming guy and the cutest kid in Hollywood to star in the same movie. Before he helped Sandra Bullock escape deportation in The Proposal, Ryan Reynolds was a daddy to Little Miss Sunshine, Abigail Breslin. An entertaining romantic comedy told as a retrospective, there’s also a touch of mystery to this heartwarming tale as a single thirty-something dad tells his daughter amusing stories about his life before marriage. Changing their names and relaying stories about past girlfriends, the twist is that she’s got to guess which one of them is her mom. 

Full of heart and humour, this charming and satisfying rom-com leverages its smart writing and clever concept to good effect. An entertaining and sweet-natured movie, its warmth and wit is further compelled by sparkling cast chemistry and solid performances. At times a little bittersweet, Definitely, Maybe brings things back to winsome nostalgia with its How I Met Your Mother storytelling device.