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Motherhood on Film

Motherhood on Film - The Sabi

When cinematography becomes a vessel for visualising, contemplating, and appreciating motherhood. 

Though motherhood looks and feels different for every mum, portraiture of motherhood on film can capture some of the beauty and struggle alike. If nothing else, film functions as a useful catalyst for reflection about your experience as a mum, your experience as the child of your own mum, or the way we think and talk about motherhood in general. How does it feel to enter one film’s world of maternal love and support? How does it feel to immerse yourself in another film’s strenuous mother-child relationship? Allow these recaps and visuals to guide you through meaningful rumination. 

Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides

Sofia Coppola accomplishes nothing short of eerie beauty in The Virgin Suicides (2001), which captures five teenage sisters –– the Lisbon sisters –– who reside in the dull suburbs of 1975 Michigan, under their mother’s oppressive rule. Mrs. Lisbon’s devout investment in her daughters (and in Catholicism, also) births an anxiety that leads her to deprive the girls of a social life, chaperone them obsessively, take them out of school and confine them to the home, confiscate their records, etc. Through stunning visuals and an iconic musical score, The Virgin Suicides essentially paints a devastating portrait of how maternal love doesn’t always translate.

Chantal Akerman’s No Home Movie 


No Home Movie (2015) documents real-life conversations between Jewish-Belgian filmmaker Chantal Akerman and her mother, Natalia, who survived years at Auschwitz. It was the last film Akerman released before her death in 2015, and her mother died shortly after the filming ended in 2014. Like much of her work, No Home Movie is incredibly moving, and and the conversations recorded in person and via Skype are sure to spark reflection about what motherhood looks like when it comes with a backdrop of trauma and resilience. 

Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird 

As a coming-of-age film laced with drama and comedy, Lady Bird (2017) follows teenage protagonist Christine, or “Lady Bird,” as she declares herself. Christine is situated at Catholic school in Sacramento, California, but she dreams of attending college at a prestigious school across the country. However, in her mother’s eyes, the financial strain makes this impossible, and Christine is entirely ungrateful for what she has –– the film then follows the entirety of Christine’s college application process, fate, and decision, and it traces how her relationship with her mother ebbs and flows accordingly. In essence, it’s a fairly simple thread with an on-screen mother and daughter who incite laughter and deep sadness all at once. 

Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige’s Memory Box


In Memory Box (2021) lives the story of Maia, which is one that spans multiple decades and geographies –– she’s a single mother who, before ending up in Montreal, fled to Paris from the civil war in Beirut as a teenager in the 1980s. Maia opts to leave her teenage daughter Alex out of much of her past, but on Christmas Eve in Montreal, they receive a package in the mail containing artefacts –– notebooks, photographs, cassettes, and more –– that Maia had sent to her Lebanese best friend after arriving in France. Maia wants nothing to do with the box, but Alex dives in and unearths her mother’s personal history for the first time. This highly emotional trajectory reminds us that our mothers have entire lives we don’t always give them credit for. 

The mums and mother-child relationships in this film round-up may vary significantly, but each of them evoke worthwhile meditation. Perhaps they even resonate closely as visualisations of just how impactful and profound motherhood can feel –– for children and/or mums themselves. Let us know which on-screen mums we missed, and which portrayals and characters have moved you most ––

Eva Berezovsky is a writer and multi-disciplinary creative with a background in art organizations and editorial spaces. Holding a degree in Cultural Studies & Comparative Literature, she's fueled by vessels of storytelling, cultural portraiture, and the intersection of text, image, and identity.


Created as a brand to help women navigate the toughest moments in pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum — and practically every stage of life, The SABI aims to change the narrative around our hormones from one of taboo, embarrassment and loneliness, to awareness and even pride. Much more than a wellness brand, The SABI offers a carefully crafted line of products to carry you through your hormonal journey; rituals, supportive tools, and ancient herbal remedies that have been tested time and again by women and now, backed by medicine. The SABI is a blend of science and nature conceived by women who have experienced the joys and deep implications of bringing a child into the world, the pains of a heavy and difficult period, miscarriage and difficulty conceiving.

Here is an invitation to get to know your body and its cycles better and to really understand what is going on inside. Learn to use your hormonal cycle to your advantage no matter your stage of life, and know that you can always support and balance your hormone levels. Look for the right sources of information, know that there is help, and know that you’re supported.


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Use code WELCOME15 for 15% off first purchase

Use code WELCOME15 for 15% off first purchase