GIMME FIVE: Movies to watch (and cry over) with Mom


There’s truly no better Mother’s Day gift than a good cry. If you’re lucky enough to have a mom you love in your life, then buy her a box of tissues and some bonbons and give her the precious gift of time with you watching one of these films. And if you’re not so lucky, then I’m sorry for that, but watching movies is cheaper than therapy. All these films are guaranteed to incite ugly cries. Have a great catharsis!

5) Bambi  (1942)


And Bambi’s mom is, like, “Run faster Bambi, don’t look back, keep running…” and he does and then he’s, like, all proud of himself, and says, “I made it. I made it, Mother… wait. Mother?” And then he starts calling for her and looking for her in the cold all by himself and HUMANS SUCK AND WHO EATS DEER MEAT ANYWAY, YOU MONSTER?! They’d never make this for kids today because it’s super triggering (pardon the pun).

4) Stepmom (1998)


I was reduced to a blubbering puddle just watching the preview again of this movie about the jilted, middle-aged, terminally-ill ex-wife (Susan Sarandon) who takes her husband’s (Ed Harris) shiny, new, trophy-girlfriend (Julia Roberts) under her wing so her kids will have a mom on their side when she dies. This one’s great for watching with/despite whatever mom you have because all the characters are pretty decent, though fallible, people trying to make a family. It should be court-mandated viewing during divorce proceedings.

3) The Passion of Christ  (2004)

passion of the christ

Everyone’s fixated on the violence and religious controversy in Mel Gibson’s epic, but the relationship between Mary and Jesus as presented by Jim Caviezel and Maia Morgenstern is so beautiful and touching, filled with realistic moments of affection and tenderness. Parenting is hard man, but parenting the savior? I can’t even imagine. The scene where he’s imprisoned and she just knows where he is and they reach out to each other through the concrete and feel one another? Almost more brutal than the flogging.

2) Terms of Endearment  (1983)

terms of endearment

The film follows a tense mother-daughter relationship for 30 years. It won 5 Oscars. It stars Shirley MacLaine, Jack Nicholson, Debra Winger, Jeff Daniels, John Lithgow and Danny Devito. Sometimes it’s really funny. But the reason it doesn’t cover more than 30 years of their relationship will incite a crying jag that is likely to last about 3 hours. For real. Good luck.

1) The Joy-Luck Club  (1993)

joy luck club

I read an essay once where the writer said the biggest loss she felt when her mother died was there was no one left to say, “Hey look at me!” to and it slays me because it’s so true. We’re on a constant mission to impress our parents, and now that I have kids of my own, the chorus of “Look at me, Ma! Ma, look at me!” can be grating at times, but I look up. Every. Single. Time. Because one day I won’t be able to and they won’t have their constant witness and audience and there’s nothing I can do about it and now I’m crying again! Anyway, this movie is about mothers and daughters really seeing one another and there’s no way you won’t find at least one character to relate to and this line: “You have best-quality heart. You have style no one can teach. Must be born this way. I see you.”

IreneIrene Karras is a Calgary-based communications consultant and freelance writer with a fondness for 1950s Greek melodramas, 1980s coming of age movies, weird Canadian films, and, by necessity, PG movies. She blogs at and tweets @irene_karras.

Read more of Irene’s posts.


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