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We don’t need to tell you because you already know it. But it bears repeating: motherhood is complicated. It can be equally messy, joyful, and difficult, but it’s still overwhelming. For years, it feels like mothers have endured the ups and downs of motherhood (but especially the downs) without really being able to talk about it. Are there other moms going through this too? Is one person’s experience of motherhood the same as everyone’s?
Fortunately, there are films that dare to be straightforward and honest about motherhood in all of its joys, sorrows, and stress. During the 21st century in particular, it feels like yet more stories of the complexity of motherhood have confirmed what the public may have assumed about motherhood, but never confirmed.
So many films, like the ones from 2018 Tully for example, draw the curtain and take a candid look at motherhood. In Tully, along with Charlize Theron, Marlo is a mother struggling with the idea of having her third child while raising two young. It’s a deft look at how mothers can tackle postpartum depression and psychosis, while also showing that motherhood isn’t pretty at all. It’s messy.
But there are also movies that celebrate motherhood while showing just how complicated it can be. Lady Bird and The Joy of Luck club focus on the relationship between mothers and daughters, while 20e Century Women shows that it can take a village (of women) to raise a teenager. There is a plethora of motherly experiences in these films, and we hope there will be more in the future.
Read on for more movies that don’t hesitate to show off the hardest parts of motherhood below.