11 Page-To-Screen Adaptations To Watch With Mom

by Kerri Jarema
TriStar Pictures

There are so many ways to celebrate the women in your life and watching a great movie together is definitely one of them. With Mother's Day rolling around again, there has never been a better time to celebrate all of the insanely amazing women in your life that have paved the way for you. Whether you are with your own mother, are a mother yourself, or are making time for a mother-like figure in your circle, taking some time to relax, bond and talk together on Mother's Day (and any day!) can only make our lives richer and more fulfilling.

After all, our grandmothers, mothers, aunts, cousins, sisters and friends are the women we turn to for everything from love and comfort to inspiration and motivation... and these page-to-screen adaptations all contain some of the above, whether they're mother-daughter relationships, fierce female friendships, or just iconic and relatable moments in every woman's life. Below are 11 of the best films to watch with your favorite ladies, from the classic tearjerker to the sweet coming of age, all exploring aspects of female relationships from motherhood and beyond. Grab the popcorn, gather your gals and get watching. You can even book club your pick after!


'Steel Magnolias' Based On The Play By Robert Harling

Based on the life of the author's sister, this short story-turned-play-turned-beloved film follows the lives of six small-town southern women through extreme highs and lows in their personal lives. All of the characters are lovable and hilarious but its the bond between the mother, M'Lynn and daughter Shelby (played by Sally Field and Julia Roberts respectively) that will make you laugh, rip your heart out, then laugh again. A classic in the mother-daughter film genre, and a must watch if you're in the mood for a classic tearjerker.

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'Bridget Jones's Diary' Based On The Novel by Helen Fielding

For the most part, we like to think of our matriarchs as women who have it all together, but they were once in their floundering 20s and 30s, too. Bridget Jones's family, dating and career follies make for the perfect laugh out loud film to watch together and you can even sneak in some commiserating over young adulthood and hopefully grab some sage advice from the ladies in your life who have been through it all before and come out on the other side mostly unscathed.

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'Terms Of Endearment' Based On The Novel by Larry McMurtry

OK, no Mother's Day movie list would be complete without this one. It is , excuse the pun, the mother of all mother-daughter films. The film follows 30 years in the lives of Aurora Greenway (Shirley Maclaine) and her daughter Emma (Debra Winger) as they both search for love and learn to express their feelings for one another. Beginning with Emma's marriage and ending with a terminal cancer diagnosis, this film will put you through the wringer in the best possible way. Make sure you have enough tissues for everyone.

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'Divine Secrets Of The Ya-Ya Sisterhood' Based On The Novel by Rebecca Wells

This book to film, all about the weird and wonderful ways our families can affect us throughout our lives is another classic Southern tale of hilarity set in a sleepy Louisiana parish. It follows a group of lifelong friends who stage an unorthodox intervention to help a young playwright (played by Sandra Bullock) unravel the truth about her complicated, eccentric mother, find forgiveness and acceptance, and let go of her painful past. A great one to watch especially if you want to open up some conversations about family history.

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'Wild' Based On The Memoir by Cheryl Strayed

Based on Cheryl Strayed's beloved memoir, Wild follows Reese Witherspoon as Cheryl, who after years of reckless, destructive behavior, she makes a rash decision to hikemore than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail, alone. Throughout, she reflects on her childhood and the more recent loss of her mother, and how both have affected her life. This powerful film captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddens, strengthen, and ultimately heals her. Maybe it will even inspire you and an awesome woman in your life to take a trip together...just make sure you have the appropriate gear.

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'Julie & Julia' Based On The Memoir by Julie Powell

Julie & Julia celebrates women in all their complexities and screw ups, all their dreams and disasters, all their highs and lows. Based on the memoir by Julie Powell in which she attempted to cook all the recipes from Julia Child's famous cook book in one year, the film looks both at Julie Powell's (played by Amy Adams) struggles to make a life she is proud of, and Julia Child's (played by Meryl Streep) struggles to find "something to do" while her husband works in Paris, taking cooking classes and spending year after year writing and trying to publish her book. This one is especially great if you and your mom are in creative professions. Because as you both know, the struggle is real, but the joy is, too.

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'Anne Of Green Gables' Based On The Novel by L.M. Montgomery

Anne Shirley is many things: optimistic, romantic, determined... and, let's fact it... a little bit of a screw up. But her story is one that always lifts the spirits and tugs on the heartstrings, including her relationship with her adoptive parents. Watching Anne and Marilla learn to love and even, eventually, like each other is one of the best depictions of chosen family out there. Plus you get to revel in the beginning of the Anne/Gilbert ship setting sail and who could object to that?

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'Mermaids' Based On The Novel by Patty Dann

Set in the 1960s, this film is about the sometimes complicated relationships between mothers and daughters. It follows a quirky 15 year old (played by Winona Ryder), her nine year old sister and their eccentric single mother (played by Cher) as they continually move homes, butt heads and learn to grow together. If you and your mom or another family member are very different and have ever had trouble seeing eye to eye, this would be the perfect film for you to snuggle up and watch together.

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'Freaky Friday' Based On The Novel by Mary Rodgers

If you've got kids in the crowd this Mother's Day (or are just in the mood for some early 2000s nostalgia) Freaky Friday just can't be beat. This saccharine story of a mother and her daughter switching bodies and ultimately learning to understand each other better is a classic...go for the 70s version if you want something super sweet or the Lindsay Lohan/Jamie Lee Curtis rendition for a little pop rock twist (and Chad Michael Murray in one of his many fuck-boy roles.)

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'Real Women Have Curves' Based On The Play by Josephina Lopez

This film explores the ways in which mothers and daughters can both love and hurt each other, and the expectations we all must live up to, ultimately giving a voice to young women who are struggling to love themselves and find respect. Particularly moving for Latinx families, this movie really goes in depth into the struggle to make it in America, and how impossible it can be to focus on your dreams when you are living day to day. This one will encourage you to learn more about your family's experience and how they fought and worked to give you the life you have.

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'Joy Luck Club' Based On The Book by Amy Tan

Joy Luck Club tells the story of four women who were born in China and made their way to America. June (played by Ming-Na Wen), heads to China after her mother's death and, with her friends, looks back on their mothers' lives and the differences between the worlds they live in. The film spans decades and traverses contininents to unfurl the women's histories, and the differences between their worlds. This one is perfect to watch with your grandmother, and will definitely get her talking about her life experiences.

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