Movies to Watch with Mom

Best time to enjoy some mother-child bonding is to watch a movie together and afterwards, talk about it. The following are Arti’s recommendations for Mother’s Day gifts, DVD’s or Blu-ray’s. Click on the links to read my review for more details.

The King’s Speech (2010) – New release on DVD and Blu-ray, just in time for Mother’s Day. You want to keep this Oscar Best Picture not just for the excellent performance by Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, and Helena Bonham Carter, but all the special features that come with: Director Tom Hooper’s commentary, Q & A with principal cast, behind-the-scenes featurette “An Inspirational Story of An Unlikely Friendship”, historical speeches of the real KGVI (and see how good Colin Firth is), and interview with Lionel Logue’s grandson.

True Grit (2010) – Mom might remember the 1969 John Wayne and Glen Campbell version. But tell her this is way better. The Coen brothers have breathed soul into this remake adaptation of Charles Portis’ Western novel. Time well spent if only just to watch the then 13 year-old Hailee Steinfeld’s performance, handling and being handled by Jeff Bridges. 10 big Oscar noms.

Made In Dagenham (2010) – Based on the true story of the 1968 strike at the Ford Dagenham car plant in England, where female workers went on strike to protest sexual discrimination. Sally Hawkins leads a historical, landmark victory for women workers to achieve equal pay. What efforts, torments, and costs to the individuals and their family just to claim something that’s so basic and reasonable.  Remember Sally Field in “Norma Rae” (yes, that’s 1979). This is the modern, British version.

Beauty In Their Eyes (2009) – Won Oscar Best Foreign Language Film. From Argentina, the film offers a gratifying experience, a layered, affective, and captivating combination of crime, suspense, and human sentiments. A retired legal counselor writes a novel based on an unresolved case he handled. While doing that, the flood gate of memories and unrequited love bursts open but in a moving and restrained manner. I was touched by the superb performance, the thematic element, and the heart-stirring music.

And if you’ve missed these ones, now is the time to catch up with Mom together on the comfy couch:

Nowhere Boy (2009) – Biopic of  a teenaged John Lennon (Aaron Johnson). I wrote these words in my review: “I’ve particularly enjoyed the mother-son relationship depicted so poignantly in the movie, and the tug of war between the one who has given birth to and the one who has raised the child.” Kristin Scott Thomas as Aunt Mimi and Anne Marie Duff as Lennon’s birth mother Julia give life to this delightful rendition.

An Education (2009) –  Superb performance by Carey Mulligan who deservedly received an Oscar nom for Best Actress. A coming-of-age story of 16-year-old Jenny when a suave and seemingly classy man twice her age befriends her and captures not only her heart but the trust of her parents. Adapted from Lynn Barber’s memoir. Links to Granta’s interview and excerpt from Barber’s memoir in my review.

Easy Virtue (2008) – Based on Noel Coward’s play, this one is a frothy, light-hearted take on a family feud. If you’ve enjoyed Colin Firth and Kristin Scott Thomas together (a rarity after The English Patient), then this is a must-see. Jessica Biel and Ben Barnes co-star. You’ll see some unlikely feats, like the Firth and Biel tango. But, what are comedies for, if not to highlight the improbable?

Broken Flowers (2005) – I missed this one when it first came out, not a big commotion. Glad to have caught it on DVD. With Bill Murray, you know what to expect, deadpan but also deeper than it looks. An interesting and original story.

Howards End (1992) – I’m a fan of Merchant Ivory productions. So for Mother’s Day, I say, get any of their film adaptations of literary classics, anyone will do: A Room With A View (1985), The Remains of the Day (1993), The Golden Bowl (2000). But “Howards End”, adaptation of E. M. Forster’s novel probably is the best for Mother’s Day viewing, with wonderful performance by Emma Thompson, Helena Bonham Carter, Anthony Hopkins, Vanessa Redgrave… Give Mom the Criterion Collection where you’ll find lots of special features. Click here to my post “The Merchant Ivory Dialogues”.

Thelma and Louise (1991) – This year is the 20th anniversary of this ‘classic’ film. Female friendship strengthened on a road trip with no road blocks. I rewatched it recently and find it still relevant. Best Oscar original screenplay. Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon are heading to Toronto in June for a charity appearance to celebrate the anniversary. If Mom’s a fan, send her a ticket to the event. Not possible? The 20th Anniversary Blu-ray might do.

Girl WIth A Pearl Earring (2003) – Both book and film are fine. Delightful gifts for Mother’s Day. Colin Firth as painter Vermeer and Scarlett Johansson as Griet the servant girl. Subtle yet dynamic, cinematography to match Vermeer’s works.


And to all who play a mothering role:

Happy Mother’s Day !!

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If she’s not birding by the Pond, Arti’s likely watching a movie, reading, or writing a review. Creator of Ripple Effects, bylines in Asian American Press, Vague Visages, Curator Magazine.

8 thoughts on “Movies to Watch with Mom”

  1. I should’ve waited for your list of recommendations, Arti. I lent my mom The Lake House and she called me last night to tell me she liked it but was so confused — did she die? did they meet? what’s happening when? We laughed over it and she said she’d try watching it again.


    Can’t tell you much about that one since I haven’t watched the whole of it. I’m sure there are lots out there that your mom would enjoy the first time watching. 😉 My no. 1 recommendation is the new release of The King’s Speech.



  2. I’m noticing a distinct Colin Firth trend here — which pleases me immensely! I love seeing your recommendations. It seems as though we like many of the same kinds of movies, and you mention some I haven’t seen yet. I wish I could curl up with a mom to share them with, but I bet lots of moms will be enjoying them.

    I must have missed “Easy Virtue” and I know “Nowhere Boy” ever came to my town, so those will go to the top of the list! Many thanks — I so love coming here!


    Yes, you’re very observant there. I must have watched all of CF’s movies that I can get hold of. With his Oscar win, I’m sure there are even more quality works in the future. Anyway, I’m sure you’ll enjoy EV and NB.



  3. What a great idea this is – to have a viewing list to share with Mom on Mother’s Day!!! So enjoy your perspective and not just because I share a love for Merchant Ivory films. AN EDUCATION? Sounds like just the right one. I have not seen it and believe Mulligan’s performance will be enjoyed by three gens of us – if I can get Mom, me AND my daughter in the room to watch it together!
    Thanks, Arti!


    I’m sure your whole family would enjoy An Education. Have a wonderful Mother’s Day weekend.



  4. This is a great list of recommendations (I tried to leave a comment this morning but for some reason, my blog reader wouldn’t let me through!). Arti, do you ever watch old films? Only my mum’s favourite films are things like ‘Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner?’ and ‘Bell Book and Candle’. I’d love to know if you have recommendations among the oldies that I could follow up.


    1. litlove,

      Of course, I should think back a bit more for some mothers 😉 “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner” is a 1967 film, so for that decade, here are some I can suggest (I only recommend those which I’ve seen, so I’m sure there are many more out there that’s good for Mother’s Day viewing): West Side Story (1961), Breakfast At Tiffany’s (1961), My Fair Lady (1964), The Sound of Music (1965), The Taming of the Shrew (1967, in memory of Liz Taylor), The Graduate (1967).
      And further back in the 50’s, there are quite a few that worth re-watching with Mum 😉 this Mother’s Day, off-hand I can think of:
      Roman Holiday (1953), The Big Country (1958), High Noon (1952)… and there’s always Casablanca (1942, which I think is one of my all time favorite love story/film) Your Mum might even have some in mind that she’d like to share with you.


  5. Thank you for these excellent recommendations.

    May I add another? We watched “Temple Grandin” last night, and it’s a wonderful mother-daughter [true] story. Have you seen it?


    Thanks for the recommendation. Sounds like a good selection … did you watch the newer HBO movie or the older one? No, I haven’t seen it but know that it concerns the real life story of TG who suffered from autism. I’ll sure watch out for it.



  6. I’m just laughing at your lists for “older viewers”. Do you have any recommendations from the 1930s? 😉

    Now that I think about it – that might make some interesting dinnertime conversation tonight. I’ll ask mom if she remembers any films from those days, or if she has any favorites. She does watch Turner Classic films now and then – I know she liked Marlene Dietrich!


    I’m not that well-versed in classic movies, although I too enjoy watching the TCM channel. I’d like to know what your Mom’s favorite movies are… do let me know. 😉



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