KANSAS CITY, Kan. (BP) — My mom peacefully passed away a few months ago at the age of 96. Though a widow for the last seven years, she remained grateful, having enjoyed life and knowing she was loved by God and family.
I was her caregiver during the last year and, just as with Dad before he crossed over, Mom and I watched a gang of movies together.
Her favorite films to view repeatedly were “Casablanca,” “To Have and Have Not,” “High Society,” “The Quiet Man” and “Father Goose.”
Those films will no doubt bring a tear to my eye in the days ahead, reminding me of my mom and her duty and desire to be a supportive wife of 72 years and a loving mother for always.
If you’ll allow me to remind: Cherish those you have while you have them. Bring your mom flowers, take her to lunch, and call her. And sometimes, you might even want to share a cinematic treasure with her.
Below are a few movies your mom may enjoy watching with you.
But since most movies made today contain crude or profane language, I have chosen films — some from days long gone by — that won’t cause you to reach for the mute button every few minutes. Though most of these are not from faith-based studios, I think you’ll find them nurturing as well as entertaining. The Lord works in mysterious ways and occasionally He uses the art of mortal men to relay His spiritual commands.
“I Remember Mama” (1948)
Irene Dunne portrays the matriarch of a Norwegian immigrant family struggling with life’s problems. This involving drama captures the essence of motherhood — caring and self-sacrificing. Sure, it’s an oldie, but because it’s a period piece, it shouldn’t seem dated (other than the fact that it’s in black and white). I Remember Mama is a touching, well-acted portrait of a 1900s family assimilating to American life.
“Sarah Plain and Tall” (1991)
Glenn Close and Christopher Walken absolutely sparkle in this Hallmark Hall of Fame made-for-TV movie about a woman in the 1880s who answers an ad from a widower seeking a bride to “share a life” on a Kansas farm. Superb.
A stirring story of a black sharecropper’s family during the Depression, Sounder (the name of the family dog) was nominated for best picture that year. Paul Winfield and Kevin Hooks are excellent, but Cicely Tyson quietly dominates with her standout performance as a caring wife and mother. (G)
“The Trip to Bountiful” (1985)
Geraldine Page stars in this simple but well-told story of a discontented widow who decides to make a last pilgrimage to her childhood home. Ms. Page won a Best Actress Oscar for her wonderfully textured performance, and the beautiful rendition of “Softly and Tenderly” by Christian performer Cynthia Clawson is worth the rental price. (PG – for a couple of mild expletives).
“Pride & Prejudice” (2005)
Keira Knightley, Rosamund Pike, Jena Malone, Donald Sutherland and Matthew Macfadyen are perfectly cast in this Jane Austen period romance about five sisters who, with the aid of their worrisome mother, seek husbands in order to secure the family’s future. Faithful to the setting and time of the beloved novel and filmed entirely on location in the U.K, this classic tale of love and misunderstanding unfolds in class-conscious England near the close of the 18th century. (PG)
“Sense and Sensibility” (1995)
An engrossing screenplay adapted by the film’s star, Emma Thompson, from another Jane Austen novel, this sophisticated saga concerns two sisters discovering the joys and tribulations of young love. Set in prim and proper 18th-century England, the beautifully-photographed and splendidly-acted melodrama is full of wit and wisdom. (PG — with no profanity, no sexual situations, no violence — just great storytelling).
“Miss Potter” (2006)
Renee Zellweger is clever and erudite in this sharply-written PG-rated tale of the life of author Beatrix Potter (“The Tale of Peter Rabbit”). Ms. Zellweger plays an independent woman in an era when that outlook was shunned. What’s more, she radiates joy as a woman who discovers self-respect and lives to see her work appreciated. (Ladies, have hankies on hand — one for you and, yes, one for him.)
“A Vow to Cherish” (1999)
I wanted to end this list with a film that is both dramatically and spiritually satisfying. World Wide Pictures gave Ken Howard, Barbara Babcock and Ossie Davis one of the most powerful scripts to come to the screen in years. A Vow to Cherish pointedly examines the effect Alzheimer’s disease has on a family and how each member attains the courage to persevere. Far more than a “disease of the week” movie, this intense drama presents three-dimensional people who find fulfillment and strength of character through Christ Jesus. Not rated (I found nothing objectionable). Yeah, it’s perhaps a little heavy for a Mother’s Day movie, but it will remind the viewer to never take Mom for granted.
Happy Mother’s Day, ladies. Thank you for all you do!