This film also featured on our list of movies about fatherhood last year, but it is in fact the family’s matriarch Olivia (Patricia Arquette) who is the emotional center of the story. Filmed over 12 years, Richard Linklater’s Boyhood is the ultimate coming-of-age drama. And while it is Mason’s (Ellar Coltrane) relationship with his freewheeling father Mason Sr (Ethan Hawke) that offers the most excitement and intrigue as his dad dips in and out of his life, his single mom Olivia provides the constant support, trying her very best to hold the family together. She doesn’t always get it right, and the film examines how the choices of parents as they lead their own lives can effect their kids, but her love and devotion is never in question.
In a soul-searching examination of how love can endure in the toughest circumstances, this adaptation of Emma Donoghue’s 2010 novel follows Ma (Brie Larson), who gives birth to Jack (Jacob Trembley), while living in captivity in her abductors garden shed. The movie is particularly affecting as we know it is based on real-life crimes. And while the concept is not one we have personally experienced, the central premise, the mom’s impulse to shelter her child from the gruesome truth of world, while knowing she can’t protect them forever, is familiar to all parents.
TERMINATOR 2: JUDGEMENT DAY (1991)
One of the greatest action movies in history also features one of Hollywood’s most bad-ass moms, Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton). Like most mothers, Sarah will do anything to prepare her son John (Edward Furlong) for what’s in his future, even when that’s a nuclear apocalypse and a war against the machines.
Director Bong Joon-ho won a Best Picture Oscar for his 2019 movie Parasite, but his feature Mother, made a decade earlier, was his first masterpiece. The Korean thriller follows a mother’s (Kim Hye-ja) search for a killer who framed her son (Won Bin) for a girl’s horrific murder, in a dark and engrossing story of motherly love and devotion.
For another angle on the special relationship between mother and son, how about Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho?! Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) has the obsessive relationship with his mom that Freud warned us about. At least we know that however complicated our relationship with our mom might be, it could never be as freaky as this.