Pregnancy is a very arduous process, no matter how rewarding it seems later. Life as you know it changes entirely in the very moment when you discover that from here on, you’ll never be alone. At least not for the next nine months. For those who have done it before, it becomes familiar territory, and from their past experience, they know the little things that need to be taken care of. For the first-timers, however, it is something totally out of this world. The mood swings, especially at critical points, don’t help either.
There is nothing better than a good story to get your mind off the difficult things, even if just for a couple of hours. So, we’ve compiled various films custom-tailored to tend to the wide range of emotions that will accompany your pregnancy. Some will make you laugh; others will let your tears flow endlessly; some are just for mindless entertainment, while others will give you a perspective on motherhood and other feelings.
15. Lou (2022)
Directed by Anna Foerster, ‘Lou’ is a crime thriller that follows Hannah, whose young daughter Vee is kidnapped, and as a result, she reaches out to an elderly loner woman named Lou for help. While Hannah has her doubts about Lou’s ability to help her find her missing kid, what she doesn’t know is that Lou is an ex-CIA agent with over 25 years of experience in the field. Moreover, unbeknownst to Lou, she is also connected to both Hannah and the kidnapper. How? To find out, you can watch the film here.
14. The Mother (2023)
Jennifer Lopez is ‘The Mother’ in this Niki Caro directorial. When she gives birth to a premature child, she fears for the little girl’s safety owing to her past that involves arms dealers who are also involved in child trafficking. Thus, she reluctantly gives up her parental rights; her baby is taken for safekeeping by FBI Special Agent William Cruise (Omari Hardwick). She then goes into hiding. Twelve years later, she is informed by Cruise that there are people looking for her daughter. Now, it is up to the Mother to protect her child. ‘The Mother’ shows how being a mother is more than just loving your child. It’s about doing the right thing for the child and keeping them safe at any cost. The movie thus shows the extent to which Lopez’s character goes to protect her kid. You can watch the movie here.
13. I Am Mother (2019)
Starring Hilary Swank, Clara Rugaard, and Rose Byrne, ‘I Am Mother’ is a surreal take on motherhood that has the potential to become true in the distant future. A cyberpunk thriller, this Grant Sputore directorial shows a girl brought up from birth by a droid, whom she addresses as Mother (voiced by Byrne), inside a bunker in the aftermath of a world-level extinction event that has contaminated it. One day, the bunker is breached by an older human, Woman, and the 18-year-old Daughter cannot make sense of it when Woman tells her that she has been lied to her whole life by the droid and that it is the likes of Mother, who are responsible for the planet’s present state. The droids kill humans. Will Woman be able to save Daughter from the Mother? Or will motherhood “triumph”? To find out, you can watch ‘I Am Mother’ here.
12. Pieces of a Woman (2020)
Loosely based on Mundruczó and Wéber’s stage play of the same name, ‘Pieces of a Woman’ is a drama film starring Vanessa Kirby, Shia LaBeouf, Molly Parker, and Sarah Snook. The movie centers upon the Boston couple Martha and Sean, whose decision to have homebirth ends tragically and starts an arduous journey for the expecting mother to come to terms with the harsh reality. While the film does not focus primarily on motherhood, it does offer a very deep understanding of the grief that some mothers have to, unfortunately, go through. You may watch the film here.
11. Slam (2016)
While other films on the list focus on motherhood, this film focuses on the experience of fatherhood. Nicholas Hornby’s novels, ‘High Fidelity’ and ‘About a Boy,’ have been adapted as films due to his unique talent for portraying stories about youngsters in a very honest light. ‘Slam’ is another such story and was brought to the screen by Italian director, Andrea Molaioli. The film tells the story of teenage pregnancy from a different perspective. 16-year-old Sam idolizes Tony Hawk and has big plans for himself. Becoming a father is not one of them. When he meets Alicia at a party thrown by her mother’s friend, he falls in love with her. They begin an affair, and after some time, Alicia tells him that she is pregnant. How will Sam deal with this situation now? Should he run away or stay and take responsibility? To find out, feel free to check out the movie here.
10. Otherhood (2019)
Directed by Cindy Chupack, ‘Otherhood’ is a comedy film that is based on William Sutcliffe’s novel ‘Whatever Makes You Happy.’ The movie centers upon Gillian, Carol, and Helen, three long-time friends and mothers who feel marginalized and forgotten on Mother’s Day. So, they plan to go and meet their sons in New York, hoping to make them realize that they need to change a lot in their lives. However, the journey turns out to be a life-changing experience for the trio as they learn some unexpected lessons that revolutionize their own lives. You can check out the film here.
9. Bird Box (2018)
Starring Sandra Bullock, Trevante Rhodes, John Malkovich, and Danielle Macdonald, ‘Bird Box’ is a post-apocalyptic horror thriller film inspired by Josh Malerman’s novel of the same name. The Susanne Bier directorial introduces viewers to a post-apocalyptic world that is devastated by a mysterious entity. While countless perish, a woman embarks on a quest for survival with her children close to her. Unfortunately, with the entity always around, they must keep their eye covered at all times and cross dangerous rivers and forests. ‘Bird Box’ is directed by Susanne Bier. You can watch ‘Bird Box’ here.
8. The Lost Daughter (2021)
Based on Elena Ferrante’s novel of the same name, ‘The Lost Daughter’ is a psychological drama film that stars Olivia Colman, Dakota Johnson, Jessie Buckley, and Paul Mescal. The movie centers upon Leda, an English teacher who decides to take some time off and go on a vacation while her daughters are with their dad in Canada. While everything appears to be going just as she has expected, things take a turn for the worse when she meets a family whose presence alone unsettles Leda for some reason. One thing leads to another, and the middle-aged teacher suddenly comes to realize the mistakes that she made as a mother over the years and their consequences. You may watch the film here.
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7. Tribhanga (2021)
Directed by Renuka Shahane, this Bollywood film follows three generations of women who belong to the same family, namely Nayantara, her daughter Anuradha, and Anuradha’s daughter Masha (Nayantara’s granddaughter), and explores their dynamics underscored by their complex relationships with each other. Things get tense after Nayantara goes into a coma, and Anuradha and Masha find themselves grappling with their issues while trying to cope with the precarious situation. The film stars Tanvi Azmi as Nayantara, Kajol as Anuradha, and Mithila Palkar as Masha. You can stream ‘Tribhanga’ here.
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6. Dumplin’ (2018)
‘Dumplin” is a coming-of-age comedy film based on Julie Murphy’s young adult novel of the same name. The Anne Fletcher directorial centers upon Willowdean “Will” Dickson, a Texan teenager whose mother, Rosie, is a former beauty queen who barely has time for her daughter. Understandably upset with her, Will signs up for her mum’s pageant. Things soon spiral out of control as other contestants inspired by her also decide to join, thus revolutionizing the pageant in the process. The movie stars Danielle Macdonald and Jennifer Aniston. You can stream it here.
5. Private Life (2018)
Having a child is a great joy for every couple. However, not everyone gets to experience this joy. While some are blessed and have it easy, some have to wait their turn and exhaust every available option while consoling themselves with the possibility of things still not working out their way. If you want the reassurance of how fortunate you are in that department, then ‘Private Life’ is the film that you should watch. It follows the story of Rachel (Kathryn Hahn) and Richard (Paul Giamatti), a middle-aged couple who have been trying to have kids for a very long time. One attempt after another, they face failure, which prods them to try other options. How long will they have to wait before their wish comes true? To know the answer, you can stream the film here.
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4. Look Both Ways (2022)
Directed by Wanuri Kahiu, ‘Look Both Ways’ tells the story of Natalie Bennett (Lili Reinhart), a woman on the verge of graduating from college. Just then, she has sex with her friend Gabe. Sometime later, she gets sick, prompting her to take a pregnancy test. Natalie’s reality splits into two after this. In one of them, the test is positive, while it is negative in the other. Her life effectively changes in two realities based on the test. In the positive test reality, she moves in with her parents, who have doubts that Gabe will become a successful musician and urges Natalie not to give up on her dreams of a career in animation. Meanwhile, in the negative test reality, Natalie moves to Los Angeles with a friend and begins working with a respected animator. In ‘Look Both Ways,’ Kahiu takes a relatively generic science fiction trope and builds a candid dramatic story around it. You can watch the movie here.
3. In Our Mothers’ Gardens (2021)
Directed by Shantrelle P. Lewis, ‘In Our Mothers’ Gardens’ is a documentary that celebrates Black women. It features interviews of Black women in powerful positions all across the globe, and through their stories, we come to know about their relations with their mothers as underscored by the sensibilities of the Black community. The women include #MeToo founder Tarana Burke, photographer Adama Delphine Fawundu, The Roots and Chris Rock tour manager Tina Farris, and cultural critic Dr. Brittney Cooper of Rutgers University, among others. You can watch it here.
2. Sunday’s Illness (2018)
Starring Susi Sánchez and Bárbara Lennie, ‘Sunday’s Illness’ has been directed by Ramon Salazar and is one of the most poignant movies about motherhood, abandonment, and reconciliation. Chiara (Lennie) was abandoned by her mother, Anabel (Sánchez), when the former was eight years old. Chiara turns up at Anabel’s doorstep 35 years later, requesting her mother to spend ten days with her at her place. However, there is a reason for this, which is what keeps the film going and keeps you from leaving your seat. When Chiara tells Anabel she wants, Anabel finds herself face to face with a choice that is the most painful to make for anyone, and most of all her, a mother who abandoned her child. Emotionally draining, ‘Sunday’s Illness’ requires strength to watch and undergo. You can experience it here.
1. Roma (2018)
Cinema can never be too much, and Alfonso Cuarón’s ‘Roma’ proves it big time. This 75th Venice International Film Festival’s Golden Lion-winning Mexican drama is set in 1970s Mexico and follows two women, Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio), who is a domestic help, and Sofia (Marina de Tavira), at whose home Cleo works. After Sofia’s husband leaves with his mistress and Cleo finds out that she is pregnant, Sofia, along with her four kids, takes Cleo on a vacation after she loses her baby, who is delivered stillborn. Their experiences and the way Cuarón presents them against the political backdrop of Mexico make ‘Roma’ one of the best films ever made, and you can watch it right here.
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