From Stepmom to Steel Magnolias: PEOPLE's Ultimate Mother's Day Movie Guide
A close look at the tension and emotional upheaval that can come with blending a family, Stepmom stars Susan Sarandon and PEOPLE's World's Most Beautiful star Julia Roberts as a divorced mom, Jackie, and Isabel — the woman who is set to marry Jackie's ex-husband. They both struggle throughout the film: Jackie, to adapt to a new mother figure in her children's lives, and Isabel, to form a relationship with her fiancée's two children. Things take a turn for the tear-worthy when Jackie is diagnosed with cancer.
TERMS OF ENDEARMENT
A classic mother-daughter movie if there ever was one, Terms of Endearment tells the story of Emma (Debra Winger) and her over-the-top mother, Aurora (Shirley MacLaine, who won an Oscar for the film), starting from Emma's childhood, continuing as she grows up, has children of her own, and eventually, is diagnosed with cancer. Over the two-hour film, audiences get a deep look at their complicated, love-hate relationship, which hits its most emotional point in MacLaine's now-famous "Give my daughter the shot!" scene.
Disney movies are famous for their lack of mothers, but in Brave, a mother-daughter relationship takes center stage. In Medieval Scotland, Merida and her mother, Queen Elinor, clash over what they view as Merida's role in society and their family. After an ill-intentioned spell leaves Elinor transformed into a bear, mother and daughter must learn to understand each other to undo it.
JOY LUCK CLUB
The story of four women who move from China to San Francisco in the '50s, and start a mahjong club together. All four of the women give birth to their children in the United States, and they bond over their shared experiences of raising children in the new country, with plenty of emotional bumps along the way.
Cher plays a single mother to two daughters (Winona Ryder and Christina Ricci!) in this '90s film, which follows the trials and tribulations of Cher's character, Rachel's relationship with the eldest of her two daughters, Charlotte (Ryder), after they move to a small town in Massachusetts.
POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE
Based on a novel penned by Carrie Fisher, Postcards From the Edge is about a young star (Meryl Streep) who is forced to live with her mother (Shirley MacLaine) — with whom she has a tortured, difficult relationship — after a drug overdose.
RICKI AND THE FLASH
Another Streep-starred motherhood movie is Ricki and the Flash, where Streep's real-life daughter, Mamie Gummer, plays her onscreen daughter. Streep plays Ricki, a woman who abandoned her three children to chase her dreams of becoming a rock star. Returning home and trying to reconnect with her children proves challenging — but one that'll have you reaching for the tissues.
Both Anna Paquin (at just 10 years old) and Holly Hunter won Oscars for their performances as mother and daughter in The Piano. Hunter plays a mute pianist who only communicates in two ways: through her music, and through her daughter.
A star-studded cast — featuring Julia Roberts, Sally Field, Daryl Hannah, Shirley MacLaine and Dolly Parton — fills out this movie, which centers around a beauty salon in Louisiana, and the friendships formed there. The most poignant motherhood story comes from the relationship M'Lynn (Field) has with her daughter, Shelby (Roberts), who has type 1 diabetes, a health battle that continues throughout the film.
DIVINE SECRETS OF THE YA-YA SISTERHOOD
A daughter (Sandra Bullock) who never truly understood her mother gets a crash course in her past with the help of her mother's childhood friends — also known as the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.
THE BLIND SIDE
Bullock is the ultimate mama bear in The Blind Side, where she plays a southern mom who takes in a homeless student at her children's school. They then discover his talent for football, and help him to grow as an athlete while welcoming him into her family.
Grey Gardens is based on the real life story of the two Edith Beales — both "big" and "little," played by Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore, respectively — who were society ladies (and cousins of Jacqueline Kennedy) before they ended up living in squalor in their East Hampton mansion, which was falling apart. Though there are plenty of elements to the story — including the Kennedy connection, failed romances, feral cats and family drama, — the film shines a spotlight on a mother-daughter relationship that ranges from tension to whole-hearted support.