Mother’s Day: 17 fantastic films and TV shows about mother-daughter relationships

Posted by for Entertainment

From Gilmore Girls to The Farewell, these films and TV shows are ideal viewing for Mother’s Day.

Gilmore Girls

Gilmore Girls, which focuses on the awesome mother-daughter relationship between Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and Rory (Alexis Bledel), is beloved by telly addicts all over the world thanks to its fast-paced dialogue, plethora of pop culture references, and ability to make us laugh as well as cry.

Gilmore Girls is streaming on Netflix.

Soul Food

One person can keep a family together and, when that one person is gone, a family can be torn apart. In the gorgeously soapy Soul Food, that person is Mama Joe (Irma P. Hall), who cooks Sunday dinner every week for her close-knit Chicago family – with plenty of soul food to go around. How will they cope when she’s hospitalised with diabetes?

Soul Food is streaming on Disney+.

Tully

In this award-winning drama, Charlize Theron is an overwhelmed mother who needs all the help she can get – and finds it in the oh-so-mysterious Mackenzie Davis. 

Tully is available to rent on YouTube.

Mamma Mia!

Mamma Mia! is all about Donna (Meryl Streep) coming face-to-face with three of her ex-boyfriends (Stellan Skarsgard, Pierce Brosnan, and Colin Firth) on the weekend of her daughter Sophie (Amanda Seyfried)’s wedding. Coincidence? Horrible twist of fate? Nah, it’s all down to Sophie, who read her beloved mum’s 20-year-old diary and invited all of her exes to Greece in a bid to figure out which of the trio is her father.

Mamma Mia! is streaming on Netflix.

Black-ish

This award-winning series follows an upper middle class African-American family led by Andre ‘Dre’ Johnson (Anthony Anderson) and Rainbow Johnson (Tracee Ellis Ross) as they attempt to mingle with the neighbours and form a rapport with them in an effort to fit in and find their place in society.

And Ross says the power of Black-ish lies not just in “the magic and beauty of a family which is not always represented” but presenting them as a family like any other. “People say: ‘Oh my God, my kid just did that!’” the actor, who portrays the show’s loving matriarch, tells The Guardian. “It’s not that everyone is getting a sneak peek [at a black family] but everyone is seeing themselves.”

Black-ish is streaming on Disney+.

Stepmom

Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon will make you cry all the tears in this film about a terminally-ill woman struggling to forge a relationship with her ex-husband’s new fiancée. As in, yes, the same woman who will be her children’s stepmother. And, yes, the same woman who will be there at her children’s graduations, weddings, and other major life events long after she’s gone. 

Like we say, all the tears.

Stepmom is streaming on Netflix.

Sister, Sister

Netflix in November 2020: Tamara & Tia Mowry Stars Of Sister, Sister Photo: Ann Summa / Gamma Liaison
Tamera and Tia Mowry are the stars of Sister, Sister.

Separated-at-birth sisters Tia Landry and Tamera Campbell (played by real life twins Tia and Tamera Mowry) may be the stars of Sister, Sister, but we have a lot of love for the iconic Lisa (Jackée Harry). Impulsive, independent, and always hilarious, she’s the cool-headed mum we all wanted as kids – and the woman we aspire to be now we’re all grown up, too!

Sister, Sister is streaming on Netflix.

Dumplin’

Dumplin’ tells the story of Willowdean Dickson (Danielle Macdonald), or Dumplin, as her mother Rosie Dickson (Jennifer Aniston) calls her. Rosie is a fading pageant queen and one-time Miss Teen Blue Bonnet whose life now revolves around hosting and organising the pageant. And, when Willowdean signs up to the pageant as an act of protest, you better believe her relationship with her mother is put under a microscope.

Dumplin’ is streaming on Netflix.

Little Fires Everywhere

Little Fires Everywhere on Amazon Prime
Kerry Washington in Little Fires Everywhere.

Starring Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington, this show is based on the best-selling 2017 novel of the same name by Celeste Ng, and follows the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives.

Little Fires Everywhere is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

Moxie

Based on the Jennifer Mathieu book of the same name, Moxie tells the story of girl from a small town who, inspired by her mother’s Riot Grrrl past, starts a feminist revolution at her high school.

Moxie is streaming on Netflix.

Lady Bird

Greta Gerwig’s moving and gloriously funny Lady Bird is all about growing up, mother-daughter relationships and the anxiety of separation.

Lady Bird is streaming on Netflix.

Modern Family

In this award-winning sitcom, three modern-day families from California try to deal with their kids, quirky spouses and jobs in their own unique ways, often falling into hilarious situations. 

Modern Family is streaming on Disney+.

Crazy Rich Asians

When New Yorker Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) agree to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nick (Henry Golding), she envisions a humble family home and quality time with the man she hopes to marry. What Nick has failed to let his girlfriend know, however, is that his family is obscenely wealthy (and famous!) and that he is the country’s most eligible bachelor. And, sure, that spells drama – but we’re actually here for Rachel’s amazing relationship with her mum, Kerry (Tan Kheng Hua).

Crazy Rich Asians is streaming on Netflix.

Brave

Merida (Kelly Macdonald) is a Disney princess with a very Disney problem: her mother has ordered her to enter an arranged marriage with one of the less than desirable idiots from the neighbouring Highland tribes. So what does our free-spirited teen do about it? Ask a witch to turn her ma into a bear, obviously. Cue an empowering tale about a daughter’s complex relationship with her mother, all the different ways a person can be brave, and not a single true love’s kiss in sight.

Brave is streaming on Disney+.

The Farewell

In The Farewell, Billi (Awkwafina) flies to China to attend a fake wedding. Why? So she and the rest of her family can stealthily say goodbye to Nainai (Zhao Shuhzen), their beloved matriarch – aka the only person that doesn’t know she only has a few weeks to live. So, yeah, you better believe it’s guaranteed to make you laugh and cry in equal measure.

The Farewell is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

Aliens

Some 57 years after surviving an apocalyptic attack aboard her space vessel by merciless space creatures, Officer Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) awakens from hyper-sleep and takes it upon herself to nurture and protect the moon base colony’s lone survivor, a scrappy little girl named Newt, from all alien-induced harm.

Aliens is available to rent on Amazon Prime Video.

Sign up for the latest news and must-read features from Stylist, so you don't miss out on the conversation.

By entering my email I agree to Stylist’s Privacy Policy

Images: Netflix/Getty/Amazon Prime Video

Share this article

Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.

Recommended by Kayleigh Dray