Mother’s Day movie guide: the best films to see with mum this weekend

With Mother’s Day approaching this Sunday May 12, Eliza Janssen lists the suitable movies screening in Australian and New Zealand theatres that’ll show mum you care about her taste in cinema.

Statistics show that women aged over 50 are far more likely to go see films in person, compared to any other gender or age bracket. Don’t they deserve to see something special, eye-opening, or just plain fun? And shouldn’t you, the ungrateful offspring reading this article right now, help them make sure they’re buying tickets to the right thing this Mother’s Day?

Whether your mum is a sucker for good old-fashioned romance, or prefers gnarlier flavours of action or horror, there’s certain to be something good you guys can schedule in. Follow it up with a post-film debate over coffee and some flowers, and you’re well on your way to golden child status.

The Fall Guy

For the mum who: taught you how to drive, has loved Gosling since The Notebook

Currently topping the box office, this action-comedy stars Ryan Gosling as a retired stuntman brought back into explosion-packed madness when the lead actor of his ex Emily Blunt’s debut film goes missing. Our critic said the leads are dependably charming in this slice of popcorny, rom-com-tinged fun; “playing essentially a likeable everyman and a likeable everywoman, it’s hardly a challenge for either of them—but it is still a pleasure to see them flex their skills with ease, effortlessly riffing and bringing out each other’s A-game.”

The Taste of Things

For the mum who: is a culinary genius, prefers to swoon over subtitles rather than Hollywood schmaltz

Trần Anh Hùng won Best Director at Cannes for this delicious historical romance, following two cooks whose simmering yearning for one another results in drool-worthy dishes. The spiciest part? Stars Juliette Binoche and Benoît Magimel are ex-lovers IRL, who were convinced to reunite for the first time onscreen in 20 years by this film’s sensuous, delightful script.


For the mum who: took you to every damn tennis/after-school sports lesson, follows the Australian Open like it’s her job

Okay, this might be a squirmy watch with the woman who brought you into this world—especially during that steamy, hilarious hotel room makeout sesh. But it’s also just a terrific, wildly energetic movie, two hours whizzing by with the breathless vivacity of a good tennis game. It’s certain to lift both of your spirits, and you can argue whether you’re Team Art or Team Patrick (or, GOATed answer, Team Tashi) afterwards.

La Chimera

For the mum who: dreams of travelling to Italy, obsesses over art history, thought O’Connor’s Prince Charles got a rough ride in The Crown

Why not make it a Josh O’Connor double feature? Alice Rohrwacher’s tale of tomb-raiding ne’er-do-wells in 1980s rural Italy is a romantic feast for the senses. I couldn’t have been more moved by the film, writing that it “teems with life, allowing us to visit shabby street carnivals, tour sparkling seas from luxe boats, and meet raucous parochial characters. [Rohrwacher] is, to my mind, the closest thing we have to a contemporary Fellini, particularly in those festive sequences and in her dreamy, lyrical direction.”

Housekeeping for Beginners

For the mum who: believes in found or chosen families, loves Australian-made stories

The latest film from breakout Australian director Goran Stolevski, Housekeeping for Beginners is only playing in a few select theatres—but it’ll make your Mother’s Day unforgettable, with its portrait of a strikingly modern family forced to make tough decisions. Our characters are a messy, queer family of lesbians and their gay friends living in the hills of Macedonia, who struggle to decide on a future for one woman’s children when she’s diagnosed with a terminal illness.

The Teacher’s Lounge

For the mum who: always caused a scene at parent-teacher interviews, prefers realistic, grounded thrillers

A cinematic lesson on classroom ethics, this German social thriller stars Leonie Benesch as a teacher who delves too deep into the case of her student, who has been accused of theft. It won big at the German Film Awards last year, and will trouble you and mum alike with its depiction of the sobering consequences that can come from doing the right thing.

Evil Does Not Exist

Evil Does Not Exist

For the mum who: votes Green and is a stickler about separating the recycling, is passionate about local politics and environmental causes

Japanese director Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s follow-up to the Oscar-winning Drive My Car concerns a small, snowy town being targeted by corporate gentrification. For the rural father and daughter we witness, the arrival of a luxe “glamping” compound causes environmental havoc—and tough decisions must be made. If your mum wears her heart on her sleeve when it comes to ecological crises, this film will give you plenty to talk—if not rage—about.

Monster + The First Omen

For the mum who: always dealt with the boogeymen under your bed, isn’t easily scared

These two celebrated, eerie films both happen to have dark themes of parenthood and its permanent burden; either would be a neat choice if your mum ever complains too much about how you were a little terror as a kid. Kore-eda’s Monster will prove to her that you were, comparatively, not too much of a handful; while 1970s-set prequel The First Omen should make you more grateful for the sacrifices (body, blood, and perhaps even eternal soul?) that she suffered for your existence.

Back to Black

For the mum who: can’t resist these formulaic, exploitative music biopics, loves some celeb gossip

Terrible reviews won’t stop some Amy Winehouse fans from checking out this portrait of the British soul singer’s life, loves, career and devastating young death at age 27. If your mother has crooned along to “Rehab” or “Valerie” when they play incessantly over the radio, she’s sure to get something from Sam Taylor-Johnson’s weepie biopic. Better yet, stay home and just watch the stellar documentary Amy: it’s available on ABC iView, or on demand.