18 mother-daughter duo movies that will make you want to call your mom

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freaky friday
"Freaky Friday." Buena Vista Pictures
  • Mother's Day is on Sunday, and these are the best movies to watch to get in the spirit.

  • It doesn't matter if your mom is next to you on the couch or 1,000 miles away.

  • These mother-daughter movies highlight the special relationship between moms and their girls.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

"Terms of Endearment" centers around the close relationship between mom Aurora and her daughter Emma.

terms of endearment
"Terms of Endearment." Paramount Pictures

Have a box of tissues on hand if you decide to screen "Terms of Endearment." The film, which stars Shirley MacLaine, follows Aurora and Emma, a mother-daughter duo that, despite fighting constantly, are very close. As each woman moves through life, love, and relationships, their bond remains constant until the very end.

It won five Oscars, including best picture, best director, best actress, and best supporting actor.

Watch the trailer here.

In "Freaky Friday," mom Tess and daughter Anna each learn about each other's lives when they magically swap bodies.

freaky friday
"Freaky Friday." Buena Vista Pictures

"Freaky Friday" should be mandatory viewing for every teenager (and mother of a teenager). Anna and Tess, played by Lindsay Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis, respectively, spend a few days trying to live each other's lives, and learn that they both have their own challenges, including Battle of the Bands, new husbands, parenting, detention, and much more.

Spoiler, they don't stay swapped forever, but they do come out of it with a healthy appreciation for each other.

Watch the trailer here.

"Postcards from the Edge," another Shirley MacLaine movie, was written by Carrie Fisher and based on her semi-autobiographical novel of the same name.

postcards from the edge
"Postcards from the Edge." Columbia Pictures

In "Postcards," Meryl Streep plays Suzanne (the Fisher stand-in), while MacLaine plays her mother Doris (perhaps a Debbie Reynolds-esque character), who each deals with substance abuse issues, working in Hollywood, and romantic relationships.

Watch the trailer here.

"Lady Bird" tells many stories, but at its heart, it's a story about a complicated mother-daughter relationship.

lady bird
"Lady Bird." A24

Lady Bird (real name Christine) and her mother Marion, played by Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf, manage to go from adversaries to best friends in a matter of seconds, just like real moms and daughters do. Both actresses were nominated for Oscars, and it's easy to see why, even if you just watch the first and last scenes of the film. Never before on film has a mother-daughter relationship been so realistic and painful, yet loving.

Watch the trailer here.

In "Akeelah and the Bee," Angela Bassett plays Tanya, mother to spelling genius Akeelah, played by Keke Palmer.

akeelah and the bee
"Akeelah and the Bee." Lionsgate Films

While Tanya at first doesn't want her daughter to compete, she later decides that she needs to support her daughter in following her dreams, even if they scare her, and even though Akeelah might fail — a heartwarming message.

Watch the trailer here.

"Steel Magnolias" is about a community of women, but at its heart tells the story of Shelby and her mother M'Lynn.

Steel Magnolias
"Steel Magnolias." TriStar Pictures

There are plenty of fun dynamics and relationships in "Steel Magnolias," but the relationship between M'Lynn (Sally Field) and her daughter Shelby (Julia Roberts), will make you laugh and cry in equal measure. It also shows how much a mother would do to help her daughter, including donating a kidney — even if M'Lynn didn't understand or agree with Shelby's choices.

Oh, and this is Shirley MacLaine's third appearance on this list, as one of the strong Southern ladies, Louisa "Ouiser" Boudreaux.

Watch the trailer here.

"The Joy Luck Club" has not one but four strong mother-daughter duos to learn from.

the joy luck club
"The Joy Luck Club." Buena Vista Pictures

"The Joy Luck Club," based on the Amy Tan novel of the same name, tells the stories of the four members of the clubs, and their relationships with their daughters. Each mother has a lesson to teach her daughter, or a message to tell them about their lives in China.

The film is also only the second movie in Hollywood history to have a predominantly Asian cast. The third did not come along until 25 years later: "Crazy Rich Asians" — another film which features a heartwarming mother-daughter relationship.

Watch the trailer here.

In "Troop Beverly Hills," a mother imparts important lessons to her scout troop, like never leaving someone behind, even if you're competitors.

troop beverly hills
"Troop Beverly Hills." Columbia Pictures

In "Troop Beverly Hills," Shelley Long plays Phyllis, a Beverly Hills housewife who decides to become a troop leader to stay connected to her daughter, Hannah. Though she has little experience, Phyllis becomes a surrogate mom to her troop-members, and learns some valuable lessons along the way.

Watch the trailer here.

"Mamma Mia!" is all about the love Donna has for her daughter Sophie - no matter who her dad is.

mamma mia meryl streep amanda
"Mamma Mia!" Universal Pictures

Yes, the central mystery of "Mamma Mia!" is the identity of Sophie's (Amanda Seyfried) father, but the real love story is between Sophie and her mom, Donna (Meryl Streep). The ABBA tunes and Greek views are just a bonus.

Watch the trailer here.

Make it an ABBA double feature with "Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again."

mamma mia 2
"Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again." Universal Pictures

The sequel to "Mamma Mia!" pretty much improves upon everything that made the original great: more beautiful people in beautiful Greece, more ABBA, and more of the bond between Donna and Sophie, even if Meryl Streep isn't in this one much. Lily James does a great job at portraying young Donna, showing how much she loved her daughter in just a few scenes.

Watch the trailer here.

"Raising Helen" is the film for the unconventional family - adopted, chosen, biological, or anything in between.

raising helen
"Raising Helen." Buena Vista Pictures

After Helen's sister and her husband die and leave their three kids in her custody, she must learn to become a mother by giving up her wild ways. Helen, played by Kate Hudson, has cute scenes bonding with each kid, but the crux of the movie comes from her relationship with 15-year-old Audrey, played by Hayden Panettiere.

Warning, this movie might also make you want to call your sister. Be prepared.

Watch the trailer here.

Not everything about "Mermaids" has aged well, but the complicated relationship between Rachel and her daughter Charlotte remains relatable to this day.

Mermaids 1990
"Mermaids." Orion Pictures

Winona Ryder stars as Charlotte in a performance that earned her a Golden Globe nomination. Her and her mother Rachel, played by Cher, couldn't be more different, which leads to a lot of friction in their household. However, predictably, the two eventually come to understand one another and the reasons for each other's decisions.

Watch the trailer here.

"Hairspray" is about racism, body positivity, and, crucially, the bonds between moms and their daughters.

"Hairspray." New Line Cinema

"Hairspray" is filled with mother-daughter relationships: Tracy and her mom Edna (Nikki Blonsky and John Travolta), Little Inez and Maybelle (Tayla Parx and Queen Latifah), Penny and Prudy (Amanda Bynes and Allison Janney), and even Amber and Velma (Brittany Snow and Michelle Pfeiffer).

In each dynamic, the mom is just trying to do what she thinks is best for her daughter, whether it's forbidding her from watching TV and dancing, letting her join the cast of a TV show, or even cheating, in the case of Velma.

Watch the trailer here.

In "Stepmom," both Susan Sarandon and Julia Roberts play mother figures.

"Stepmom." Sony Pictures Releasing

"Stepmom" is a celebration of the relationships between mothers and daughters, between stepmoms and stepdaughters, and, most of all, between an ex-wife and a new wife.

As this family proves, there's no limit on how much family one can have, and every family looks different. This one's for all the stepmoms and stepdaughters out there

Watch the trailer here.

"The Princess Diaries" is more of a grandmother-granddaughter story - but we think it still counts.

princess diaries
"The Princess Diaries." Buena Vista Pictures

Grandmothers are mothers too! Besides, Mia, played by Anne Hathaway, also has a goals-worthy relationship with her cool artist mom. They even go rock climbing together and make cool balloon art! Plus, Mia's mom never felt that Mia needed a makeover — she loved her just the way she was.

But the most delightful part of "The Princess Diaries" has to be when Queen Clarice (Julie Andrews) lets her hair down to just enjoy a San Francisco day with her granddaughter — it'll have you reaching for the phone to call your grandma pronto.

Watch the trailer here.

"Brave" is a rare Disney movie in which the mom lives - and has a complex relationship with her teenage daughter, Merida.

brave merida mother
"Brave." Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

The lone animated film on this list, "Brave" shows that even Pixar can take a stab at a complicated mother-daughter relationship — and it works. Merida learns that her mother just wants what's best for her, and her mother learns to love Merida for who she is, not who she wants her to be.

Watch the trailer here.

"Dumplin'" is about a mother and daughter learning to respect each other, all set to a Dolly Parton soundtrack.

"Dumplin'." Netflix

Even though many of us have probably wished Jennifer Aniston was our mother (or sister or friend) at some point or another, "Dumplin'" shows that it's potentially not all it's cracked up to be. While the two have trouble communicating and understanding each other, it's clear that the love is there — it just takes a beauty pageant, some drag queens, and a magic act to coax it out.

Watch the trailer here.

Yes, "Little Women" is mainly a sisters movie, but something about Jo's scenes with Marmee have us feeling a little emotional.

marmee jo
"Little Women." Sony Pictures Releasing

The bond between the March sisters is unbreakable and the heart of the film, but the true family leader is their mother, affectionately called Marmee, played by Laura Dern.

Specifically, her two scenes with Jo (Saoirse Ronan) — the one after Amy (Florence Pugh) burns Jo's book and she wisely tells Jo that "there are some natures too noble to curb, and too lofty to bend," and the one where Jo speaks about how she might want to be with Laurie after all — will remind you that, sometimes, it's hard to hear what your mom has to say, but she's usually right.

Watch the trailer here.

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