While you may not be able to hand your mom a box of chocolate and a bouquet of daffodils this year, there are still plenty of ways to show how much she matters on Mother’s Day. Why not have a virtual brunch? All you have to do is agree to a menu. Maybe you can even order it online for her. Connect to mom via a video conferencing app for a festive meal before streaming one of your favorite movies together. To help you out, we’ve put together four movies to watch together this Mother's Day.
1) Downton Abbey | Queen for a day
While your family may not be quite as grand as the Crawleys, you can still spend an afternoon with them on Mother’s Day. In Michael Engler’s film Downton Abbey, the whole family rallies together to prepare for a visit from the Queen and King of England. Much to the relief of their mother, the Countess of Grantham (Elizabeth McGovern), the two sisters—Lady Edith (Laura Carmichael) and Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery)—have reconciled. Lady Mary even finds a deep emotional bond with her grandmother, the indomitable Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith). But the Crawleys are not the only family celebrated in the film. Last Spring, the production team posted a photo on Facebook of Downton’s newest family, the Bateses—John (Brendan Coyle), Anna (Joanne Froggatt), and their young son. Next to it was the message: "They do say a mother's love is the strongest love there is. – Anna Bates. Happy #MothersDay." So put out some crumpets and tea—or if you are feeling like a proper English breakfast, lay out some bangers and grilled tomatoes—and make mom a queen for a day by sharing an afternoon at Downton Abbey with her.
2) EMMA. | A romantic comedy shared by each generation
In EMMA., Autumn de Wilde brings to the screen the Jane Austen masterpiece that has been shared by mothers and daughters throughout the years. It was de Wilde’s own English mother who shared it with her. “From a young age, I devoured everything, British television, British films, Masterpiece Theatre with my mom,” de Wilde relates about her experience growing up in Los Angeles. “So Jane Austen was part of my world.” In the film, the fact that Emma (Anya Taylor-Joy) grew up without a mother becomes a defining element of her character. It is that fact, as Salon astutely points out, that “thrust [her] into the role of lady of the house far too young.” From her fussing over her father (Bill Nighy) to her micromanaging Harriet Smith (Mia Goth), Emma’s need to take care of everyone, often to her own detriment, has made her one of the world’s most beloved and complicated characters. This Mother’s Day share some Jane Austen love with your mom, maybe over some tasty pastries and rich coffee, before you both indulge in that delectable cinematic confection that is EMMA.
3) On the Basis of Sex | Connect with a mutual hero
Capturing the early life of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Felicity Jones), Mimi Leder’s On the Basis of Sex showcases the ways mothers make the world a better place for their children. Ginsburg's own mother gave her the strength to believe in herself. As a new mother herself, Ginsburg went to Harvard Law School, taking care of her children and future at the same time. As a young law professor, she fought for gender equality, even taking on a case with her husband Martin (Armie Hammer) that would help change legal precedent for years to come. It would be the unapologetic feminism of her own daughter Jane (Cailee Spaeny) that pushed her when she needed it most. “Mother-daughter relationships are complicated, and Ruth and Jane are no exception,” explains The Wrap, but it was Ginsburg’s love for her daughter that pushed her to make history. As you share some bagels and lox over the computer screen, you can also share your love for a real American hero.
4) The Kids Are All Right | The human comedy of it all
In Lisa Cholodenko’s The Kids Are All Right, two moms—Nic (Annette Bening) and Jules (Julianne Moore)—find their idyllic Southern California life turned upside down when their two kids—Joni (Mia Wasikowska) and Laser (Josh Hutcherson)—invite their sperm-donor dad (Mark Ruffalo) home for dinner. The Academy Award®-nominated screenplay—which Cholodenko co-wrote with Stuart Blumberg—was partially inspired by the writer/director’s experiences having her son Calder with her partner Wendy, an experience that allowed her to “infuse the script with authentic details from the front lines of parenthood.” For Cholodenko, the important lesson in being a mom was not the specific details of her story, but gaining a universal understanding of family, of how “we all go through the human comedy. But if the bonds are strong enough and the desire is there, you can get to the other side, still together and still a family.” Set up a LA picnic—maybe hot dogs and potato chips—to share over the computer as mom and you get ready to laugh with The Kids Are All Right.