Your mom may love Nicole Kidman, but she'll likely be put off by her role in this movie -- especially if she's widowed. The story details a woman (Kidman) mourning her late husband, only to meet a little boy who claims he's her husband reincarnated. Aside from the depressing notion of losing a loved one, the whole plot basically consists of a disturbing relationship between a middle-aged woman and the little boy she's falling in love with. The fact that Kidman nails her performance here would typically make for great viewing, but on Mother's Day it won't do much besides creeping you and your mother out.
"Black Swan," dir. Darren Aronofsky
By the time Barbara Hershey asks Natalie Portman, "what happened to my sweet girl" in Darren Aronofsky's 2010 psychological drama "Black Swan," you know your own relationship with your mother can't be too bad. Although a great thriller to watch alone or with a friend, "Black Swan" is a viewing experience not meant to be shared with a parent. The film stars Portman as Nina, a naive and ambitious ballerina who is chosen to lead her company through a production of Swan Lake, but struggles to master the seductive and dark qualities that the role demands. Moreover, Nina is a grown woman living with a mother who force feeds her pink frosting, dresses her and most perhaps most damagingly, has kept her from any sort of sexual or romantic relationship. The relationship is the epitome of toxic and while "Black Swan" is cringe-worthy for loads of reasons, it's this dynamic that should keep away this Mother's day.
"Heavenly Creatures," dir. Peter Jackson
In her first feature film role, Kate Winslet plays Juliet Hulme, who along with her very close friend Pauline Parker (Melanie Lynskey), conspires to kill Pauline's mother when she threatens to end their intense relationship. As directed by Peter Jackson, "Heavenly Creatures" is part teenage wish-fulfillment fantasy and entirely a parental nightmare. The image of the two girls holding blood-covered hands as they skip up a hill after the deadly deed is chilling -- and even more disturbing once you learn the film was based on a true story. Watching this with mom will surely only traumatize her -- and force her to lock her door at night.
"Monster's Ball," dir. Marc Forster
"Monster's Ball" in a phenomenal film full of powerful performances (including the one that won Halle Berry her Academy Award), but it's not best suited for a Sunday viewing with mom. In the drama, directed by "World War Z' director Marc Forster, Berry stars as Leticia, a single mother raising an obese child, whose father is on Death Row. From the outset of the film it's clear Leticia is a terrible mother (at one point she calls her son a "fat little piggy"), likely due to the cards she's been dealt with all her life. Following a tragic accident, she finds solace in the arms of Hank (Billy Bob Thornton), who, unbeknownst to her, works as a guard on Death Row. If all that grimness isn't enough to make you steer clear, then the infamous (and very explicit) sex between Berry and Thornton should do the trick.
"Precious," dir. Lee Daniels
Perhaps the most heartbreaking movie to be released in 2009, Lee Daniels' "Precious" achieved critical acclaim for its wonderful performances and its ability to provide an unflinching look at poverty. Precious, a young black woman played by Gabourey Sidibie has her head in the clouds. She has dreams, but most of them are bogged down by her circumstances. Nevertheless, the film is a must-NOT see this Mother's Day particularly because of the relationship between Precious and her mother Mary, played so brilliantly (and viciously) by Mo'Nique. Mary lounges around all day, blames Precious for her husband's neglect (even though he raped her ) and physically and psychologically abuses her. She's an abomination of a mother and human being. It's definitely a tremendous film and one filled with hope, but not something to share with your mom this holiday.
"Tarnation," dir. Jonathan Caouette
This documentary about the troubled life of Jonathan Caouette will not only shock you, it will shake you to your core. The film chronicles Caouette's upbringing at the hands of his schizophrenic mother, detailing his odd behavior and character traits and revealing scene by scene how much damage his family life has inflicted on his psyche. And though the film is a meaningful examination of the mother-son bond, the only way it'll bring you and your own mother any closer is by showing you just how good you've really got it.
"Savage Grace," dir. Tom Kalin
As far as Oedipal complexes go, this one certainly ranks up there with the most irksome. Julianne Moore, who continues to age quite gracefully, manages to use her unique beauty to make her role here as a charismatic wife and mother to pull off a mother-son relationship that is both hard to watch and hard to look away from. If discussing her sagging tits with her son isn't bizarre enough to make your viewing experience on Mother's Day uncomfortable, then watching Moore getting into bed with both him and another young man will certainly do the trick.
"Spanking the Monkey," dir. David O. Russell
Jonathan Caouette's "Tarnation."
You probably know this by now, but we're tipping you off just in case you don't. Movies involving incest are never a good pick for family gatherings -- especially not ones celebrating Mom. So you'd be well advised to steer clear of David O. Russell's semi-autobiographical film (no, not the incest part) about a mother who not only loves her teenage son, but loves her son. But don't hesitate to check out the film any other day of the year (again, without mom) because though it's occasionally cringe-worthy (the title says it all), it's also downright hilarious (in a twisted sort of way).
"Thirteen," dir. Catherine Hardwicke
Stealing, oral sex, threesomes, huffing, strip-teasing, cutting, and abortion are certainly not things you want to experience with your mom when you’re thirteen (or ever, onscreen or off, for that matter). While “Thirteen” is the story of Tracy, it’s also very much the story of Tracy and her mother. Holly Hunter’s portrayal of Melanie earned her an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. A recovering alcoholic, high school dropout, and struggling single mom, Melanie is clueless about her daughter’s rapid descent into delinquency until the pair has already arrived at the nadir of their relationship. When mom swoops in, it’s too late: Tracy’s destructive compulsions have systematically stripped away her empathy and moral compass, changing her character such that Melanie can no longer recognize her daughter but for her physical appearance. The two characters engage in an epic violent dance of teenage mother and daughter that ends in a cathartic concession: Tracy falls into her mother’s arms. “Thirteen” not only struck mortal fear into the hearts of parents with teenagers nationwide; it also gave us an unparalleled onscreen mother-daughter relationship that, while grisly, speaks to the bond of motherhood.
"We Need to Talk About Kevin," dir. Lynne Ramsay
No matter how much your mom loves Tilda Swinton, you'd best to sit this one out. In Lynne Ramsay's "We Need to Talk About Kevin," Swinton gives one of her most memorable performances as Eva, a woman who probably shouldn't be a mother but is. Told mostly in flashback, "Kevin" traces how Eva was pushed over the edge by her son, Kevin (played by a teenage Ezra Miller). At the outset of the film, it's clear Kevin's done something terrible. As his horrific crime gradually reveals itself, we're treated to scenes of Eva being a neglectful mother, and of Kevin growing into a monster -- not the types of characters you want to spend two hours with this Mother's Day.
[Editor's Note: Paula Bernstein, Emily Buder, Eric Eidelstein, Ziyad Saadi and Nigel M Smith contributed to this article.]