Thursday Movie Picks #37: All in the Family Edition – Mother-Daughter Relationships (Biologically Related)


Happy Thursday everyone! This is another entry to the weekly Thursday Movie Picks that’s spearheaded by Wandering Through the Shelves Blog. Here’s the gist:

The rules are simple simple: Each week there is a topic for you to create a list of three movies. Your picks can either be favourites/best, worst, hidden gems, or if you’re up to it one of each. Every last Thursday for the first nine months of 2015 I’m running the All in the Family Edition and today the theme is… 

Mother/Daughter Relationships (Biologically Related)

This week’s TMP topic is a bittersweet one for me. I had a loving, albeit brief relationship with my late mother. In fact, we were very close up until she died on my 16th birthday. I have to admit at times I feel a pang of sadness whenever I see a mother and daughter depicted on screen, I often still wonder how life would be life if she were still around. In any case, for my three picks, I try to have a variety of mother/daughter relationship, so here are my three picks:

BRAVE (2011)


Pixar’s first *Princess* movie centers on a headstrong n spirited girl who like many of today’s girls her age tend to rebel against what’s expected of her. I love that the movie is centered on her relationship with her equally headstrong mother, Queen Elinor, instead of the typical romantic pursuit. I LOVE Kelly Macdonald and Emma Thompson who provide the voice work for Merida and Elinor. In case some of you still has seen this movie, let’s just say there’s a magical physical transformation that happens that drastically changes how they have to relate to one another. Through it all, the two end up forging a bond that’s even stronger than ever before. It’s quite an adventure that’s full of humorous & even peculiar moments, but also poignant ones that made me laugh and cry. It’s definitely one of my fave cinematic mother/daughter relationship that truly moved me.

1000 Times Good Night (2013)


Juliette Binoche plays a war photographer who often risks her life on the job, but even after a nearly fatal accident, she still can’t give up her career. Her eldest daughter Steph looks up at her and is obviously drawn to her mom’s globetrotting career that certainly looks cool and glamorous on the outside. The daughter in this film is a young teen and so immediately picture myself in her shoes, as my late mother was an amateur photographer. She kind of had the same free spirit personality and I always thought my mom was fearless. One key scene is when she ended up tagging along with her mom to Africa, much to the chagrin of her marine biologist dad. A traumatic incident made Steph realize just how dangerous her profession really is. The mother/daughter moments in the scene that followed really connected with me, and there’s a wonderful chemistry Binoche and Lauryn Canny who plays Steph. Here’s my full review of the film, which is now on Netflix.

August Osage County (2013)


Now this is an example of the kind of mom I’m glad I didn’t have. Meryl Streep‘s Violet Wetson is a venom-spewing, pill-popping mother of three daughters who seem hellbent on driving a stake between her and everyone around her. That also includes her own husband, and the film takes place during his funeral. Violet has mouth cancer, partly due to her years of chain smoking, but even so it’s really hard to sympathize with her. Out of the three, Julia Roberts’ Barbara is the one who has the biggest conflict with her mother. The fact she herself is dealing with her own issues with her estranged husband and angsty teenage daughter adds to her exasperation. The Wetson family is as dysfunctional as they come  – they constantly bicker with each other, and the more things are said, the more secrets are revealed that made things worse. The screaming match are quite overwhelming, and it made me appreciate my own family. The craziest scene is when Barbara literally hurls at her mother trying to prevent her from taking any more pills, it was pretty bizarre and quite hilarious. I think it’s an especially interesting film to watch for mother and daughter, if anything, it’d make each of them think of what NOT to do to one another.


Beyond the Lights


This is one of my fave films I saw last year, and the casting of Minnie Driver and Gugu Mbatha-Raw as mother/daughter is one of the reasons I love it. Glad Paskalis included this movie on his list, I couldn’t believe I almost didn’t include that here. An ambitious and driven single mother who wouldn’t take failure as an option, Macy succeeds in turning her daughter into a star. But at what cost? Macy’s controlling behavior ultimately drives Noni away and there’s a heart-wrenching moment when Noni finally said enough is enough. It’s not that Macy didn’t love her daughter, but sometimes, some people just don’t know how to love. Apparently, writer-director Gina Prince-Bythewood‘s search for her own birth mother was the catalyst of the mother/daughter story in the film (per this indiewire article).

What do you think of my picks? Have you seen any of these films?

41 thoughts on “Thursday Movie Picks #37: All in the Family Edition – Mother-Daughter Relationships (Biologically Related)

  1. It’s completely bittersweet, Ruth. I know how this theme means something to you.
    As for your picks, I loved Brave and, yeah, August: Osage County with Meryl Streep for her 18th Oscar nominations. Yet, thanks for the link. Beyond the Lights was a recent film for me but I can see how it is related to this theme in a magical way. That’s why I said this week’s theme is awesome!! Cheers!

    1. Hi Paskalis! Y’know, I think Meryl was more deserving of an Oscar nom here than her performance in Into The Woods. Glad you like Beyond the Lights, I wish more ppl had seen it. Yeah, I like this week’s theme, even if it’s bittersweet for me.

  2. Irene McKenna

    I am sorry you lost your mom at such a young age. It is not easy at any stage of life, but there is something particularly cruel about it happening in adolescence.

    Of these movies, I’ve only seen Brave, but these all look like great choices.

    1. Hi Irene. It’s been so long so I’ve accepted it, but of course there are still days that I miss my mom a lot. I think you’d appreciate the other two films.

  3. Oh my god, I LOVE August Osage County, it’s brilliant in so many ways. I hadn’t heard of the Binoche ones, so great picks as always, but I especially like hearing about one I haven’t seen before!

    1. Hi Jay! Glad that you’ve seen and love AOC. A Thousand Times Goodnight is an indie gem that’s worth a look as well. I always like to include stuff I think most people haven’t heard of.

    1. I think w/ this kind of list, there’s always a movie I’m forgetting. I almost forgot to include Beyond The Lights, so I had to make that a bonus pick 🙂

  4. Abbi

    I am terribly sorry you lost your mom so young. It’s such a special relationship.

    My picks would be:

    Toula and Maria Portoukalis from My Big Fat Greek Wedding
    Ada and Flora McGrath from The Piano
    Ginny and Molly Weasly from Harry Potter.

  5. I’ve never seen any of the movies you listed there but I know my sister and niece loved BRAVE. I’m not that close with my parents but I like watching movies or TV shows about close relationship between mom/dad and daughter/son.

    1. Hey Ted, Brave is actually a fun movie, I’d think guys enjoy that as much as girls do. I know Ivan loves it as there are lots of action & hilarious moments.

  6. I’ve never seen Brave but it’s all over the lists. Funny I’d never heard of Beyond the Lights until today and here it is on two lists, definitely will be checking it out. Also the Juliette Binoche film is new to me but sounds interesting. The only one I’ve seen is Osage County which I liked but didn’t love. I thought Margo Martindale actually gave the best most controlled performance and had the most intriguing storyline.

    1. Hi Joel! Oh you should see Beyond the Lights, if only to see Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s performance. If you love Binoche (and who doesn’t?), you’d appreciate 1000 Times Good Night. Yes I’d agree that Margo’s excellent in AOC, in fact I wish she had gotten an Oscar nom, too.

  7. Tom

    My heart is broken hearing about your loss Ruth. I’m very sorry.

    But fortunately life does go on and posts like these are made extra-special with that kind of background info you provide. That’s incredible of you to be able to do that. With that said, these are interesting picks. And I haven’t seen any of these films! Lol! I wish I had seen Beyond the Lights, there’s a lot of praise surrounding it that I wasn’t expecting at all. And 1000 Times Good Night seems like a lovely piece

    1. Thank you Tom, that’s very kind of you to say… it’s been over 20 yrs, but of course I still miss her every day. I have a blessed life though, and I have my wonderful memories of her that I always cherish.

      Oh my, all four of these are highly recommended, Tom, I think Brave & August Osage County is the most well-known, but the two indies are VERY good films that I hope you’d get a chance to see.

  8. Ahh, that’s such a horrible thing to lose your mum at such a young age. I can’t even imagine it which makes me a lucky guy. I understand this could be a very hard topic to do. Brave is a great choice, I too picked it and like how it went against the conventions of the genre

    1000 Times Good Night (2013) sounds very interesting, war photographer is obviously a very dangerous job but it must be a highly rewarding, they get the very worst of war out to those at home. It’s an important job, without them we will not know of the suffering millions go through.

    1. Thanks Myerla, it is hard to imagine losing a loved one, but you’d be surprised by how resilient we could be when that happens.

      Glad you picked Brave, too! Yeah 1000 Times Good Night is an intriguing little film, definitely worth a look. Amen on what you said about war photographers, the director was a former war photog himself, so the story is semi-biographical.

    1. Two great picks! I almost picked Sense & Sensibility but I’ve mentioned that film soooo many times on this blog already 🙂 I highly recommend ALL of these, Mark!

  9. I loved 1000 Nights Goodbye though I have not seen the other two.

    Is it too late to jump in on this blogathon. Sounds fun. I know I would have picked Requiem For A Dream, the similarities between Buryston and Leto’s relationship and me and my mother are rather startling. Its a heavy movie for me no doubt. I’d have to rack my brain to think of two others…

    Great post Ruth, as per usual 😉

    1. Glad you’ve seen 1000 Times Good Night! I haven’t seen Requiem yet, might be too dark & heavy for me. Do give Beyond the Lights a shot, I presume you haven’t seen that?

  10. Fine picks Ruth and they run the full spectrum for me. One movie I really like, one I really want to see, and one I really disliked. 🙂

    I can certainly see where this would be a bittersweet topic. But I love one key thing you said – “we were very close up until she died”. That is something you can (and I’m sure do) always hold onto and be thankful for. You can’t help but miss the times that could have been, but no one can ever take away those times that were. I know they are special to you.

    1. Thanks Keith! I can see why you’re not into August Osage County, there are moments I really can’t stand, it’s certainly not the most pleasant movie. But I think you’ll love 1000 Times Good Night, Binoche is simply luminous.

      You’re right Keith, I still feel blessed I had the wonderful time with my late mother, even if it’s brief. She was quite an adventurous woman and so we had lots of fun memories traveling w/ her.

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