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10 Films To Watch This Mother's Day Weekend

What's Eating Gilbert Grape

10 Films To Watch This Mother's Day Weekend

August Man gives you a list of films that will do the job of celebrating your mom pretty well.

FORREST GUMP (1994)

So we all know life is like a box of chocolates and we never know what we’re going to get. But what the Gen Ys probably don’t know is that piece of advice came from Forrest Gump’s mama. The film tells the story of Forrest (Tom Hanks), a slow-learner, who is prepared for the harsh realities of life by his mother, Mrs. Gump (Sally Field). As a result, he doesn’t really see himself as being disadvantaged and instead goes on to achieve many things, including the infamous and inspiring run across the country. It is a love story as the film focuses on the relationship between Forrest and his childhood friend Jenny (Robin Wright) but your mom will love it because it highlights the fact that with your mother’s guidance, you can achieve practically anything. Forrest Gump won six Oscars including Best Director for Robert Zemeckis, Best Actor for Tom Hanks and Best Picture. It received a whopping 13 Oscar nominations, which didn’t include a nomination for Sally Field.

Trivia: Sally Field is only ten years older that Tom Hanks

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MARVIN'S ROOM (1996)

So this isn’t exclusively about a mother-son relationship, but your mom’s sister is pretty close. Marvin’s Room features a stellar cast including Meryl Streep, Diane Keaton and Leonardo DiCaprio. The film revolves around two sisters, Lee (Streep) and Bessie (Keaton) who are estranged but are forced to confront their issues when Lee is asked to test as a possible bone marrow donor when Bessie, who bears the burden of looking after their bedridden father Marvin, is diagnosed with leukaemia. The prodigal daughter returns home, dragging her delinquent son Hank (DiCaprio) who only then discovers he has an aunt. The film also stars Robert DeNiro who plays Dr. Wally, the doctor tasked with informing Bessie she has cancer. The film will tug at your mother’s heart because it plays on the notion that family is family, no matter how dysfunctional. Despite featuring four Oscar winners – Keaton, Streep, De Niro and now DiCaprio, the film only received one Oscar nomination and that went to Keaton in the lead actress category.

Trivia: Sigourney Weaver, Anjelica Huston and Kathleen Turner were all considered for the role ultimately played by Diane Keaton.

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WHAT'S EATING GILBERT GRAPE (1993)

Sometimes it isn’t just about sacrifices a mother makes for her child that makes for a good story but the opposite which is equally touching. Never was this truer than in the film What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. Here, the story focuses on Gilbert (Johnny Depp) who has the heavy responsibility of caring for his obese mother (Darlene Cates) and his special needs brother Arnie (Leonardo DiCaprio) as well as his two sisters. The theme of the film isn’t just about family but speaks of the trials and tribulations that arise from living on the fringes of society – a single mother struggling to survive on low income. The final scene (no spoilers here) is particularly disturbing as it shows the lengths a child will go to protect his or her mother, reason enough to watch it with your mom. Though acknowledged as being a great film, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, directed by Lasse Halstrom, received just one Oscar nod when DiCaprio was nominated in the supporting actor category.

Trivia: Lasse Halstrom picked Johnny Depp to play Gilbert Grape because he has the ability to express emotion through his face and eyes.

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CHANGELING (2008)

They say nobody knows you better than your mother – or at least, that’s what mine keeps telling me! It this notion that the film Changeling plays on. Set in the 1920s, the film stars Angelina Jolie who plays a single mother who finds her son missing. A couple of months later the police claim that they found the lost child and reunite mother and son to great publicity. The mother is, however, certain that it is not her son but is silenced by the powers that be when she says otherwise. She is labelled as being hysterical and even faces the brunt of the law when she goes public on her gut instinct. Your mom will surely find it intriguing since it plays on the inherent connection mother and child and the lengths a mother will go through to be reunited with her child. The film, directed by Clint Eastwood, received three Oscar nominations including one for Angelina Jolie in the lead actress category.

Trivia: Both Hilary Swank and Reese Witherspoon lobbied for the role that went to Angelina Jolie

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THE BLIND SIDE (2009)

You don’t have to have a biological connection to share a mother-child relationship. This is the philosophy behind The Blind Side starring Sandra Bullock. Based on a true story, the film tells the tale of a homeless teen of African American descent ‘Big Mike’ Oher (Quinton Aaron) who finds a home with Leigh Anne Tuohy (Bullock), when she becomes his legal guardian. A ‘take charge’ individual, she helps him fulfill his potential not just as a football player, but as a student as well. Like Forrest Gump, your mom will love The Blind Side because it plays on the notion that despite adversities, you can achieve all that you aspire to in a supportive environment. The film received two Oscar nominations, including in the Best Picture category, but critiques state that it was really a strong performance by Bullock that gave the film its “oomph.” She received her first Oscar for her performance.

Trivia: During the first couple of weeks of shooting, Bullock thought her acting was so bad she considered dropping out.

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LION (2016)

 

“You’d really have to not have a heart if you didn’t feel for this film,” Nicole Kidman said at the red carpet of this year’s Academy Awards. True, from the very start, the film, based on a true story, will have you dabbing your eyes. Lion tells the tale of Saroo, a five-year old, who through a series of unfortunate circumstances, finds himself lost on the streets of Calcutta. He is “rescued” but when authorities are unable to locate his village, he is adopted by an Australian couple. Years later, spurred by flashbacks from his childhood, he embarks on a search for his natural mother. The film, though released in 2016, enjoyed a resurgence a year later, following Oscar nominations for Dev Patel, who plays the adult Saroo and Nicole Kidman, who plays the adoptive mother. The real star, however, is Sunny Pawar who plays the young child. The film is a heart-wrencher but as Keith Urban, said, it also has a “feeling of triumph.”

Trivia: Sunny Pawar beat out more than 2000 boys for the part of Saroo. He was originally unable to attend the US premiere of Lion because he was denied a visa.

The Guilt Trip (2012)

What are all the things your mother does that drive you crazy? All that and more is captured perfectly in this comedic take on the complicated relationship between mothers and sons.  The Guilt Trip, starring Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen, is about struggling inventor Andy Brewster (Rogen) who has just made a great breakthrough that he believes will lead him to fame and fortune. He decides to go on a nationwide sales pitch to promote the new environmentally friendly cleaning product but makes a quick stop at his mother’s place first. The stop inadvertently results in his mother Joyce (Streisand) accompanying him on this trip. Imagine going on a road trip with your mom? Enough said….

Barbra Streisand would gain a Golden Globe nomination for her performance, that not only did they put out an ad congratulating her, but posted it online moments before the nominations were announced, only to be swiftly pulled when Streisand ended up without the nomination

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN (2012)

Does a mother have to love her child unconditionally? What if she has a gut feeling that there is something that is just not right? That is the premise of this film starring Tilda Swinton, a mother who has a contentious relationship with her son, from as early as when he was an infant. To her, the signs were obvious but it was not something that her husband saw. Nonetheless, she tries to form a connection with her ‘strange’ child. The constant living in fear would eventually lead her to become nervous and anxious, a shadow of the woman she used to be. Not your typical Mother’s Day fare but it just shows how a frayed relationship between a mother and child can affect the mom.

Trivia: We Talk About Kevin is widely considered to have been snubbed by the Oscars.

STEPMOM (1998)

Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon star in this delightful film – yes, delightful, despite the fact it deals with cancer and divorce. Roberts plays Isabel the younger woman to Jackie’s (Sarandon) former husband Luke, played by Ed Harris. The animosity between the two women intensifies when Luke proposes to Isabel. But the relationship takes a turn when Jackie is diagnosed with cancer and Isabel is faced with the prospect of becoming the primary caregiver for Jackie and Luke’s kids. The film is probably kind of cliché but mother’s love that.  

Trivia: Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon were looking for a project worth working together on. They eventually settled on this script.

 ROOM (2015)

Brie Larson received the Best Actress Oscar for the film that tells of a woman’s determination that her son should live a normal life despite being in the most abnormal of circumstances. Trapped in a 10-by-10 foot space, Ma (Larson) attempts to re-create the universe to help her five year old son ‘escape’ from the confines of the ‘Room.’ Her intent is that he lives as normal a life as possible.

Trivia: Brie Larson isolated herself in her home for a month without a phone or internet and followed a strict diet in order to get a sense of what Ma and Jack were going through. 

Updated on 14th May 2017

 

 

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