16 movies to watch when pregnant …

Here’s the deal, folks: there are one million lists of “What to watch while you are expecting” or “Best movies to watch while pregnant” and they just aren’t what I want to watch. They include “Rosemary’s Baby,” “Juno,” and “Baby Mama.” All fine movies, whatever, but the best part about being pregnant is not being pregnant or the birth or even having a baby … it’s HAVING A FAMILY.  I’m sitting here feeling bloated and bored and just staring at my pale belly waiting for him to grow into a human, feeling like it’s taking forever, and yes, kinda bored. Obviously I’m VERY excited but there are some times, in between ultrasounds especially, when I would love to watch a movie about how totally incredible having kids and having a family is going to be. I don’t want to watch some other pregnant chick that is as annoying to me as I am to myself.

But as I was looking for lists of such movies all I could seem to find were movies about pregnancy or about the first year or about how hard marriage is when kids get involved, YADDA YADDA. I KNOW THE BAD STUFF IS OUT THERE. I’m a total realist, so I’d love to be reminded of the hyper-fantasy of family, love, intimacy, KIDS, long-term marriage — and NOT just Katheryn Hegl and Seth Rogan having a totally unrealistic and dysfunctional relationship. (I don’t watch Knocked up and think, “Oh, yeah, I can’t wait” …)

In fact (may I rant?), when Brian and I got pregnant the first time we decided to go and see Friends with Kids that day to celebrate. You know what you shouldn’t see when you are pregnant with your first child? FRIENDS WITH KIDS.  It’s all the bad stuff without any of the good stuff. These kids ruined most of their relationships. Marriage is hard, raising kids is hard, (I KNOW that is coming), but while I’m pregnant I would love to just to be reminded WHY I’m doing this — not to have the birth or the baby, but to have a family.



best movies pregnant

So, I decided to make a list of the movies or TV shows have actually gotten me (and Brian) excited to have kids over the years. Movies that remind me why it’s all so totally worth it. Because “Knocked Up,” “9 months,” and “What to Expect …” aren’t doing it for me.  I’m a sentimentalist. I respond to admirable parent/child relationships, the adorableness of child imagination, the plight of the torn family getting back together, and to, yes, really really really cute kids saying really cute things. That’s what I want. Not the wife screaming at the husband that she hates him during child birth while we see her writhing in pain. Not the parents communication and sex life totally dissolving because they chose to have a family. These are realities that I’d like to face if and when they occur, NOT watch while I’m headed toward them.

This is for all the potential (as well as current) moms and dads out there. May Hollywood take a cue and maybe make some more movies that remind us why having a family is worth it. Because it is.

best movies while pregnant

Ah, the family getting torn apart and then back together. These tug at my sentimental little heartstrings.

1.The Sound of Music.  While the amount of children is overwhelming at best, it reminds me of being a kid and and feeling safe and loved. And the way that she parents is something that I admire. Each child has a redeeming quality, the kids have fun together, and the relationship with the lovely Julie Andrews is admirable. PLUS, they sing, and music manipulates my emotions easily and makes me weepy. So there’s that.

2. August Rush. Strangely underrated. This movie ( … also with music) is totally sweet and beautiful and all about the strength of the mother/child bond. It’s really, really awesome, totally entertaining, and makes me VERY excited to have a son who loves me as much as that boy loves Keri Russell. Also, Keri Russell is in it, and that woman can emote better than virtually any other actor in the world. Watch it.

3. The Parent Trap, Lindsey Edition. Oh, Linds. She was so cute, had such talent and potential. I mean, she plays both a Brit and a Southerner. This version is totally adorable and makes me excited to have precocious girls. You fight for the family to get back together.

4. The Family Stone. NOT an amazing movie, but good enough to make it on the list because the relationships that they have with each other feel real and the acting is all great. Part of what gets me so excited about kids is the idea of partying with them when they are of age, where we can real conversations as adults, where I can see how they turned out, and where they teach me things.”Kids and parents as friends” movies always appeal to me and make me want to start earlier than I did.

best movies about families

Movies about the imagination of kids. Let’s face it: kids can be kinda annoying unless you engage them and try to see their personality. What’s so great about them is their crazy weird imaginations and the things that come out their mouths because of it. I love all the kids in my life so much more when I try to understand their brains. They become so interesting and just such people. So these movies are all about kids and their imagination.

5. E.T. Yes, it doesn’t hurt that Drew Barrymore and the ET kid are totally adorable because most of you know that “cute” goes a long way with me. But it A. reminds me of being a kid and B. shows these kids in such a human, emotional, joyful, and sad light. It makes me want to have a complicated child that has something to fight for and interests of his own. It’s just so good.

6. Super 8. The “ET” of this generation. We live vicariously through these characters and I can’t wait to live vicariously through my kids. I know how much we invigorate our parents when we are around them and I can’t wait to be HEALTHILY invigorated by my kids.

7. Hook. This one is a bit of a stretch, but I still love the kids in it, the lessons learned by all, and Robin Williams is a GD comic genius.

8. Goonies. I hope my kids are as cool, smart, brave, and adventuresome as these kids. I also hope they don’t mind it when Mom comes along on said adventures.

best movies about family

9. Father of the Bride.  The relationship between the father and daughter is enough to make any man disregard the football throwing dreams of a son and opt for a daughter.

10. Jerry MaGuire. Yes, this is mainly about the kid. We all want that kid. It’s undeniable how cute he is, how adorable his words are, how oversized his glasses are. He had me at hello. Sorry.

11. Kindergarten Cop. Cute kid, check. Hilarious Arnold lines, check. Every guy loves this movie and can actually see themselves as Arnold with these kids. Brian loves this movie very much.

12. Mrs. Doubtfire.  The way that Robin Williams’ character loves his kids is so palpable. And the way they love him back is captured so well. Plus, there is an adorable daughter with a lisp.

best tv shows to watch pregnant

These TV shows do more for me than most of those movies combined. Let me really over-explain here …

13. Veronica Mars. Oh, that snarky teen detective show that I’m kinda obsessed with? Spend a minute with her and her father and try to not covet their relationship. It’s the fantasy father/daughter relationship full of mutual respect, wit, and total love.

14. Friday Night Lights. There is NO marriage so good on TV and NO better father in Hollywood than one Coach Taylor. Finally a couple on TV that you want to emulate. It’s healthy and strong and totally real. Let’s hear it for Tammy and the Coach.

15. Parenthood. The pilot episode made me weep (as does every episode — oh the emotional manipulation) and then decide that the family thing needs to happen sooner rather than later. It’s about one big family, all totally idiosyncratic, nuanced, and completely real. The way it’s directed makes you feel like you are in the room with them; it doesn’t feel like they are actors at all. It’s just so good.

16. Gilmore Girls. Having a baby at 16 is not ideal, having a 16 year old at 32 with a relationship like that is kinda awesome. Although they sure do like to talk a lot.

Whether you are 10 years away from having a family, expecting a baby, already have kids, have grown kids, or are just kinda thinking about it, these movies (and TV shows) will at least remind you about the good parts of having a family. It’s the good stuff, folks.

I’m sure I’m missing a lot of good family flicks here, so give your suggestions in the comments, PLEASE!!! In a couple weeks after all the comments come in, I’ll update the list … if I agree (“Friends with Kids” is NOT going on that list).

(P.S. Thank you Andrea for helping me brainstorm :) and Alison for putting together the post).

  1. JoJo

    Parenthood is amazing. Glad to hear you watch it. Can’t wait for it to start up again.

  2. Have you seen John Q.? Maybe (incredibly like able) father willing to kill himself to give his adorabke son a working heart would be in my list of “this is what family should look like”. Not pregnant, still crying through that scene.

    • Emily

      OH no! i haven’t seen that. Putting it in my que now. thanks!

    • Emily

      John Q was a horrible movie.

  3. Karen Lee

    I totally agree!!!
    Plus you are right about August Rush.. totally under rated.
    And Parenthood makes me want to be a Braverman… Such a good show!

  4. Meg

    Parenthood for sure- makes me want to have my own little Braverman clan. Same thing for Family Stone. And agree on Goonies.

    • Erica

      I ugly cried at the end of Family Stone…when Diane Keaton is looking at the picture of her pregnant and says “That’s me and you, kid” to Rachel McAdams?!?! Omiigashh!

      • dickybastard

        no one gives a fling rats ass acround the living room what you gone did done go back were you came from if you dont speak the language im 100% cherokee mmmkay my 4 fathers didnt found the 51 one states for your kind mmkayy back were you came from

  5. The original “Yours, Mine, and Ours” with Lucille Ball!

  6. Kelly Jo Bahry

    I loved “The Pursuit of Happyness” – the love between father and son and the real life of it all. it’s a beauty.

    • I love this movie, too!
      Makes me cry how the father does everything to create a good life for his son.

    • It is an amazing love story indeed.
      Still a better story than Twilight :)

  7. Andrea Urbass

    “The original “Yours, Mine, and Ours” with Lucille Ball!”
    ~ Great suggestion! I also love her in Auntie Mame (though the original is even better).

  8. You know what movie is great? Parenthood the movie with Steve Martin among many others. It’s so good. It’s fun, funny & poignant too!

    • Julia Weichselbaum

      Agreed! One of my faves.

      • Tamara S

        I want to put in my vote for Parenthood the movie! One of my family’s favorites. I love that you’ve put this list together, by the way. I agree that many of the pregnancy movies out there are a bit too negative. I’m 10 weeks pregnant and I also want to be reminded of the great stuff I have to look forward to. I think I’ll get started on the list you put together! I also want to suggest that you add Baby Boom to your list – it’s an awesome 80′s movie with a very charming Diane Keaton as a reluctant mother to her adorable adopted baby daughter. Congrats on your pregnancy, and a happy and healthy remaining weeks to you.

  9. Jenna

    Love Actually- the little boy and his step father (Liam Neeson) is just so sweet.
    Speaking of that cute little red-head boy, have you seen Nanny McPhee? Also such a cute movie that shows a real love for each other in the family.

    • Rocio

      I was actually going to say Nanny McPhee! Both of them! And also “the Impossible”. Couldn’t stop crying with Naomi Watts as a mom.

      • Sarah

        Yes to nanny McPhee!

    • Emmie

      Definitely Love Actually! That little boy is adorable. Plus I love the kids dressed up as lobsters and octopi in the Christmas musical. And of course the big musical number is so wonderful!

    • Lena

      And you know what makes it even sweeter? He’s “only” his stepdad.

  10. emily jane

    “The Kids Are All Right” !

    • Christiana

      My favorite, too! I Love this Movie!

  11. Emily

    Thank you for this list! And for saying what needs to be said – books, tv, movies, there are so many that focus on the negative aspect of kids. A someone who is getting ready to start a family myself, I can’t believe how many times I have to remind myself that what I am watching is not representative of what having kids is like. It’s enough to scare anybody!!!

    • I’m also at a point where I feel like if we’re going to do the kids thing, we might as well get this show on the road- but I’m straight up terrified! Am going to have to go through this list one by one because I haven’t seen most of them (I grew up in Mexico…).

  12. THANK YOU so much for putting this list together. As a couple thinking about starting a family soon with a husband that is waaay more scared than me, I love this list. I feel like most pregnancy/family movies show that kids are terrible, annoying, and ruin relationships. It’s hard to start a family with all that propaganda. This list is great, as our your insights!

  13. Stasha

    I love Sandlot- that’s the stuff childhood is made of. I can’t wait for my future kids to have magical summers of their own. I totally agree with Sound of Music! The way Maria draws out the best in the kids and empathizes with them is truly wonderful. To my list of beautiful family movies I’d add: Tuck Everlasting and Birth Story (the Ina May Gaskin documentary- all these gorgeous hippy families!)

    • Laura

      Yes! Sandlot. SO amazing.

    • Sam

      I second The Sandlot!

    • LOVED the Sandlot as a kid, an adult, and now a parent!

  14. Karen

    ok so this one might be weird and old and more drama than fun – Running on Empty with River Phoenix and Martha Plimpton. It’s kinda intense but there’s one scene where the family is celebrating the mom’s birthday and they all have to give handmade or found presents and then they all dance around to James Taylor and IT’S AWESOME. Minus the crazy bombing of the napalm plant, this family is incredible.

    I’m due at the same as you and if my kid made my birthday presents up until high school I think I would be truly fulfilled as a human.

    And agreed – Friends with Kids TOTALLY BLOWS. But another random Netlfix suggestion was “Life Happens” surprisingly decent baby movie (maybe I was feeling emotional?).

    • Great pick, Karen! ‘Running on Empty’ is pretty much my favourite movie, and the dancing-to-James-Taylor scene, although it may SOUND cheesy, is just so amazing and makes me cry every time.

      (Whoa, I just got extremely over-excited here…) xx Shanan

  15. Natalie

    What a great idea for a list!! We’re working on starting a family too, so this list is great. Some of my favourite feel-good family movies are: Freaky Friday (both versions), March of the Penguins (because families aren’t limited to humans), Marley & Me, Matilda (because families don’t have to be biological), Cheaper by the Dozen (because 12 kids!), Bridge to Terabithia (imaginative kids!), The Incredibles and Anne of Green Gables. From tv: The Cosby Show & Little House on the Prairie.

    • Emily

      OH, MATILDA!!! Very good one. WIll add to list. Never watched Anne of Green but everyone tells me that i’ll love it. xx

      • Sarah

        Yes to Matilda!

    • cody renae'

      ahh NO marley and me!! made me swear off having kids for years!

      • Julia

        yep, I agree. But I so want to have a dog.

    • Stasha

      Yes! Anne of Green Gables is one of the most heartwarming movies of all time! The relationship between Matthew and Anne never fails to make me cry. And Little House on the Prairie is wonderful! A set of wise & sacrificial parents and a happy family- why aren’t there more shows like it?

  16. Chelsea

    Home Alone. First it’s cute to see a little boy fight off burglars all by himself with a house full of obstacles and traps. Then, the lengths his mom will go to get home to him (“I’ve been from Chicago to Paris to Dallas to….where the hell am I?…”Scranton”…”I am trying to get home to my 8 year-old son!”) I love it!

  17. Crissy

    Way to go, Momma To Be! You’re right…it’s hard enough as it is. Why do we want to focus on the negative! Try to enjoy the time (like everyone tells you to…eye roll) but seriously! Best of luck to you both on this crazy, happy, sad, terrifying, thrilling ride called parenthood!

    • Emily

      ah, thanks. :)

  18. Ashley

    This is awesome! And don’t forget Stepmom with Julia Roberts/Susan Sarandon. It may seem like an odd choice but seeing these women trying to parent, mixing styles – makes you realize that being a mom is not so hard – just love them until you can’t love anymore!

    • Emily

      OH good one. I saw it years ago, but i’ll re-rent. Thanks!

  19. Vicki H

    I really loved “The Odd Life of Timothy Green”…totally awesome family bond and interesting take on family. I know it made me want to have kids :)

  20. Ellie

    Dan in Real Life, with Steve Carrel as a loving and slightly confused father of three smart girls. A beautiful story with lots of love, a little sadness, and an amazingly quirky-but totally real-extended family, all set at a perfect summer house in Rhode Island. Also, I second The Cosby Show and Marley & Me as additions to your already outstanding list. The Family Stone makes me cry every time (as does Stepmom, another possible list addition).

    • Emily

      Yep. Dan in real life is great. Love. Totally adding that. Cosby show is good, too, and Marley and me is good, too. xx

  21. Laura

    One of my favorites is Dan In Real Life. I love the family cottage stuffed to the brim, the togetherness, the ups and downs – but most of all that everything really does turn out all right. xoxo

    • Emily

      SUCH A GOOD IDEA!!!! He makes fatherhood look hard, but so endearing and authentic and awesome. i’ll add …. thx

  22. I’m 8 months preg with our first baby and am sooooo tired of people saying that we should “enjoy being free while you can”, as if we’re not going to enjoy the rest of our lives with children. So sad. Anyways, I love Swiss Family Robinson – they have so much fun together without even having the rest of a society to entertain them! And Despicable Me is one of the cutest Disney movies I’ve seen in a very long time; so heartwarming!

    • Emily

      I need to rewatch that really bad. I remember loving it but was unsure if it would stand up. And yes, enough with the ‘enjoy it now’. I WANT MY BABY. :)

    • nihiru

      Listen to those people! It’s a very good advice:D
      One of the hardest thngs in motherhood was learning to accept, that my life is not mine anymore:)

  23. jo

    1. Kings of summer – fun and also terrifying to have a teenage boy.
    2. The impossible – get ready to CRY. Dear Lord this movie will pull your heart out. And it’s a true story.
    3. Dan in Real Life – hands down one of the best parenting/family movies ever.
    4. Home Alone – the imagination of an 8 year old boy.
    5. Miracle on 34th street
    6. Baby Mama – only pregnant woman movie I’d watch. “Is that poop or is it chocolate?” Everyone mother has asked this question.
    7. The Kids are All Right – teenagers can be cool
    8. Love Actually – that little boy? Gah!
    9. To Dance with the White Dog – forever old but shows grown-ups with their elderly widowed father
    10. Life is Beautiful – again if you are prepared to ‘cry me a river’
    11. Princess Bride – because you grew up a Mormon and you should appreciate this staple. Also Kevin is such a cutie.
    12. A Christmas Story
    13. Big fish – father/son relationship towards the end of life
    14. Forrest Gump – mother/son relationship and then father/son relationship
    15. Rudy – because somehow every movie list should have Rudy on it.
    16. Field of Dreams – “wanna have a catch?” Goooo. That line will get ya every time.
    17. Big Daddy – Adam Sandler movies are dumb, but I love how this movie reminds you that kids are resilient and can still thrive with inept parents (hows that for pulling a gold nugget of the cow dung?)

    And I’ll think of some more because now this is all I’m going to think about today. Great post!

    • Emily

      My god, i should hire you. THis is awesome. Life is beautiful is awesome, yes on Home Alone, haven’t seen The Impossible yet,but can’t wait. And i haven’t heard of kings of summer but i’ll look into it. I’ll look into all of these. Thank you so much!

    • OMG! Yes Yes Yes to Big Fish! That movie is amazing! It’s how an estranged son finally begins to understand and truly appreciate his father just as his father is dying. That might sound a bit depressing, but the way it’s done is really uplifting. It’s just so inspiring and makes me cry every time. Heck, I’m getting weepy now just thinking about it.

    • Chrissy

      I kind of love big daddy(syracuse alum also) even though I hate adam sander movies.

    • Naomi

      BIG FISH!!!!
      That one makes me cry just typing out the title. Ugh.

      Also, for the Imagination of Kids category, what about Where The Wild Things Are? Not a great movie, but I felt like it really captured the feeling of being a kid, being frustrated over your own lack of control in the world, and escaping into imagination but not in a purely fantasy way — in a way where you’re working out your frustration. Really, just me? Okay then.

  24. Susan M.

    RU-FI-OOOOOOOOOOOO!!! That is all.

  25. this is so good! and you’re right, for me, pregnancy was pretty terrible, but the kids i have now are worth it!

    speaking of kids, i’m giving away a baby swing on my blog today and i’m sure your sweet little boy would love to lounge in this thing. you should check it out! http://www.themakerista.com

    thanks for sharing and for the laughs. you’re always so entertaining, emily!

  26. Alisha

    sand lot – a must see for moms of boys

  27. Jenn

    I have to mention one of my favourite oldies but goodies. Baby Boom – Diane Keaton “inherits” a baby and has to take a break from her high powered job to live a quiet life in Vermont and figure out how to be a mom. It has Diane Keaton (a win right there) and it’s totally heartwarming.

    • Lauren

      Loved Baby Boom!

      • Eliza

        I was going to suggest Baby Boom as well! I also liked Dear Frankie, though it isn’t as upbeat as others. I’ll Be There (Craig Ferguson and Charlotte Church) is pretty predictable, but has some really funny moments.

        But if you’re going to pick any one movie to watch, try Mostly Martha. It’s one of my favorite films of all time, and one of the few my entire family agrees is great. It’s a German film about a control-freak chef whose niece comes to live with her after her sister passes away. It’s funny and sweet and hits you right in the gut. There was an American remake a few years ago (No Reservations) but it was missing all the emotion and half the plot, so I really wouldn’t recommend that.

        • Amy

          YES to Mostly Martha! One of my favorites!

          I love love love An Unfinished Life, too. Robert Redford and Morgan Freeman…and yes, J Lo – she did a good job. Heart-wrenching and -warming story of forgiveness and reconciliation and more…Redford is motivated by his love for a granddaughter he didn’t know he had, set in a gorgeous Wyoming (?) ranch setting…

          Also While You Were Sleeping/silly but so sweet.

          Great list! Friday Night Lights is so awesome. Best TV I’ve ever seen.

    • Jennifer Fogerty-Gibson

      I love Baby Boom, too!

    • Rebecca

      I was going to mention Baby Boom. That is a very good movie! You will love it. It’s the first movie to focus on organic baby that I can remember :)

      • Rebecca

        I mean organic baby food……..

  28. Muoi

    I saw Friends With Kids and couldn’t believe how bad it was, the kids were hardly shown and it was totally negative. I love that you included Goonies on your list. I would add The Sandlot and Neverending Story. Do you like animated movies because some of the best come from Studio Ghibli: Ponyo, Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro, all about young girls being scared but brave at the same time. Congrats on the little one!

    • Jenna

      Ohh yes I love Studio Ghibli. “The Secret World of Arrietty” just came out in the US last year and has the usual (and great) brave heroine. It also features the relationship she has with her family which is just briefly shown in the other movies you mentioned.

  29. Jacey

    Uncle Buck is a classic! Also the Jodie Foster film Home for the Holidays is really well done.

  30. I love animation and you don’t have nearly enough animated films on your list. Let me help you:
    1. The Incredibles: yes, they are superheros, but in the end, they’re all about being a family
    2. Iron Giant: I love the kid in this film
    3. Spirited Away: really great young heroine. It’s been called the Japanese Alice in Wonderland. In general, it’s hard to go wrong with a Myasaki film.
    4. Monsters Inc.: Boo is adorable.
    5. Rise of the Guardians: I just recently saw this and thought it was a lot of fun. In it, not only are Santa and the Easter Bunny real, they are tasked with perserving the wonder, curiosity and fantasy we all cherish through childhood.

    Not animated, but I had to include them:
    6. The Red Balloon: a 50′s French film celebrating childhood as a magical adventure. It’s only 34 minute long, so you can squeeze it between some longer films.
    7. Matilda: not animated, but if you love little, lisping Maddie in Mrs. Doubtfire, you’ll love her as Matilda

    • Jenn

      Oh yes, Monsters Inc. for sure! I’m not sure I ever have kids, but Boo is enough to make anyone feel maternal,

      • Jenn

        Ugh, I need an edit button. “I’m not sure I ever want to have kids”.

    • Naomi

      Despicable Me actually has a nice parenthood storyline, too.

  31. Laura

    This is a bit odd but there’s a PBS realty show from 1999 called The 1900 House. Not only do you get to watch a modern family deal with what day-to-day life was actually like in 1900, down to their soap and undergarments, but you watch what happens to this really cool family when they don’t have modern distractions to rely on. Lots of creativity ensues!! Can I also add that I think movies’ totally distorted depictions of giving birth actually contribute to much of the fear new mom’s experience? I had two kids and it was easy, magical. No drugs, no screaming. Unfortunately, I have yet to see anything like it in a movie or tv show.

    • Raq

      That show was awesome!!!

      • Eliza

        errr… would you think less of me if I admit I’ve seen every one of those shows, and have most of them on DVD? Personally, my favorite family is the one from 1940s House (cute little boys), but Manor House and 1900 House are fun too.

  32. Jen

    Away We Go – How can you go wrong with a movie in which Maya Rudolph and John Krasinski are a couple and having a baby…Plus the music is pretty fantastic :)

  33. Robyn

    No one has mentioned Gilmore Girls. I am the single mom of a 16 year old daughter. I started seeing a guy when my daughter was about 8 or 9, and after spending a day with us, he asked, “Have you ever seen the Gilmore Girls”? Well, we had not, and he gave us the first season. Not only were we very much like them, that tv series was a great bonding time for myself and my daughter. We watched every episode together of every season. I will one day gift her with the entire series collection because it was so special for us.

    • Dana O.

      Robin…. it’s in the top 16 list. Look at the bottom.

  34. Kate

    The Family Man- kind of a Christmas movie, but the family dynamics are so sweet and messy
    Little Women (the 90′s version)-because period drama about sisterhood and some awesome parenting on the part of Mamie (Susan Sarandon at her best), obvi.

    • Terri

      I love The Family Man! That little girl is so cute and I love how the Dad has fun with his kids.

  35. Sage

    Finding Neverland with Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet. Fly Away Home with Anna Pacquin and Jeff Daniels.

    • Naomi

      OMG YES. Finding Neverland. It will make you cry.

  36. Sonel

    As a mom who is rocking and humming her baby to sleep as I write this, Ivan tell you that you’re totally right that Hollywood gets parenthood wrong a lot. Yes it’s tough, but there is so much joy in it! And it does NOT ruin marriages. In The beginning I think any couple might have few tense arguments as the baby wakes up for the the 5th time that night, but those things are minor compared to seeing your mate parent the child you both love so much.
    I second a bunch of movies already suggested.
    Dan In Real Life is one of the best movies ever made. This movie got it all so right!
    Anne of Green Gables. Anne has a knack for finding the best in people- an essential quality for a happy family!
    Sandlot is childhood how it should be. I wish I could give my son that much freedom when he’s their age. Sigh.
    Baby Boom took me off the fence about wanting to have kids. Watching Diane Keaton become a mom made me realize that’s what I wanted to do.
    August Rush is an amazing movie that makes me cry and squeeze my so tight every time I watch it.
    Father of the bride. It’s amazing. I also love Father of the Bride 2.
    There are so may others I love! It’s so frustrating to not be abletothink of the right now!

    • Jennifer Fogerty-Gibson

      Dan in Real Life is the family I wish my sisters and I still were. Things changed so much when my dad died. But that is such a gorgeous, loving movie. Kind of like the show Parenthood which is the best TV in 10+years.

  37. amy h

    I was so excited to watch The Sound of Music and Goonies with my kids once they were old enough (the youngest is still too young for Goonies, so we save that for big-girl days). And yes to The Parent Trap, but I’m surprised you picked the remake. The lake house alone make the original worth it. Also: Polyanna and Mary Poppins: kids’ movies, but I still enjoy them as an adult (LOVE the suffragette song in MP, and the end of MP makes me cry). Oh, and the starting music to Star Wars is magical the first time you get to watch that with them. You have your head in the right place — there is too much focus on the birth part of starting a family. Yes, having a family IS hard (so hard), but it is fun, too (here: 8 years and 3 kids in).

  38. Sandy

    Thank you for adding Hook to your list. I love that movie for one reason and that is when the little lost boy squishes Robin Williams face and says, “Oh, there you are!” It gets me every time. A nice reminder that sometimes adults forget that they used to be kids.
    A few more to add to your list:
    Whip It
    Little Women

  39. Dana O.

    Little Miss Sunshine inspires me to better the family I already have, and to always ensure my future child’s bond with their grandparents. And Up, to love your partner and the craziness of growing old together.


  40. Lynnae

    Congrats! I haven’t been to your blog in a while and didn’t know you were expecting. When I was pregnant with my first child, everyone was so keen on telling me how “everything would change”, etc… Dire. Then, one woman, a stranger, approached me in the grocery store (daughter in tow) and said “I am so very excited for you! I am jealous of the journey you are about to go on. You will never regret it. It’s amazing.”.. I could have kissed her! Ever since, I have been giving the exact same speech to pregnant women everywhere BECAUSE IT’S TRUE! Children amazing. Messy, crazy and amazing. You are going to love being a mom.

  41. Emmie

    Waitress. Another Keri Russell movie gem. Yes, she’s married to a horrible guy and is having his baby, but it still manages to be a really sweet movie. And when she finally has the baby your heart just melts. Plus how absa-freaking-dorable are the mom and daughter at the end with their matching aprons!?!

  42. CT

    I think because I have two sisters we always loved “Full House”. I love the relationships the girls have with all the adult figures in their lives – so many ways to make a family. And it’s a weeper but I love “Hope Floats” with Sandra Bullock. Poor little Bernice is not the cutest kid but its her kid and she’ll do anything for her. Great list and ideas for some Netflix weekends. Congrats and cheers – CT

  43. Emmie

    Also, Little Miss Sunshine! It’s definitely quirky and the family is quite untraditional, but it’s so wonderful to see them come together in the end. And that little girl…come on!

  44. tracy

    ahh don’t let the haters scare you… having kids isn’t THAT hard. i am pregnant with number five (two are adopted, so this is my third pregnancy) and i think we still are hip and cool!! in fact we are going to new orleans this month with two other couples… just because i’m pregnant doesn’t mean i cant enjoy that crazy awesome city. it hasn’t ruined our marriage, its only made our bond stronger!

    ps: i am probably one of the few people i know that loved being pregnant and thought labor and delivery was a true magical experience. the rush you get after getting that baby out is indescribable. my mom had me terrified my entire life about how horrible it is and it’s actually really freaking cool!

    pps: the movie parenthood rocks as much as the tv show… love it so much!

  45. Katie

    Cheaper by the dozen!

  46. smash

    What a perfect list! I’m sure it’s true that they all make you want to have kids. I know spending time with one funny kid can make you be like, oh hey, this would be kind of fun. I can’t wait to add these to my Netflix list!

  47. Lauren

    Such a great list. I also agree with adding Sandlot, Matilda, and Baby Boom. I don’t know why but my sister and I always LOVED Three Men and a Little Lady. 3men and a baby is good too, but little lady has more heart IMO. For tv I would add Punky Brewster. Punky and her adopted dad are the sweetest. And it’s Punky. Doesn’t Solei Moon Fry own a baby store in west Hollywood these days?! I think I heard that somewhere.

    • 3 Men and A Baby is so much fun! I’ll have to watch the sequel, apparently.

  48. red

    For some strange reason, I could not stop watching My Sister’s Keeper and In America when I was on bed rest with my twins. It was strangely soothing to me. Weird, I know. Crazy hormones, but the were such good cries.
    Other favorites for the kiddos:The Sandlot, Savannah Smiles (80s kids movie),
    Pippi Longstocking (the Old ones), Pollyanna, and Little House on the Prairie episodes. And other favorites more so for parents: To Kill a Mockingbird, I am Sam, My Girl, and Crazy Stupid Love.

  49. Kate

    Freaks and Geeks! It’s so touching to watch how Sam and Lindsay’s loving parents adjust to their teenagers becoming more independent and making their own places in the world. Although Sam and Lindsay go through all the typical teenage struggles, they are still sweet, good kids at heart and you know they got that way from growing up with such supportive parents. It’s also wonderful to see the teenagers be all angsty and rebellious and then spend a Saturday night hanging out with their parents playing a card game. It’s obvious that home and family is their safe haven from the turmoils of high school.

  50. Courtney

    Yes to Finding Neverland! And also She’s Having a Baby – haven’t watched that one in years but remember really loving it. Thanks for this list – I’m also pregnant and will definitely be watching (and re-watching) these movies for inspiration :-)

  51. Becca

    This could just be me but ever since your layout changed your posts haven’t shown up on bloglovin (or Google Reader back when it was around). I’m not sure what happened but I hate missing your posts!

  52. Britt

    I second the original (can’t stress original enough) Yours, Mine, and Ours with Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda. Also features a sarcastic amount of children but the story of falling in love and building a family has lots to recommend it. Highlights include Henry Fonda’s speech to the 17 year old about what love is and Lucille Ball’s blue wedding dress. Lots of 60s to enjoy!!

  53. Emily

    Super 8 captures the awesome quirkiness and creativity of kids and celebrates parents who love their kids over perfection.

    I really like About a Boy as well. It might be a good fit for this time since it is about how kids make life more complicated but rewarding.

    OK, this is a random blast from the past, but I also hold a special place in my heart for Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead. The siblings learn to appreciate each other and there is a house make-over and fashion show! Not to mention a young Josh Charles. Swoon.

    Sense and Sensibility (The BBC version from 2008). This might be more romance, but there is a lot about family devotion as well. Divine.

    • Hah! Your suggestion makes me think of Adventures in Babysitting. Ah, movies about babysitters…

    • Jennifer Fogerty-Gibson

      I LOVE Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead! It’s fun to see the siblings totally revolt in the end, but then becoming a unit together. Super heartwarming.

  54. emily ruth

    Finally someone else out there who loves August Rush! Congrats on the baby.

    • Jennifer Fogerty-Gibson

      I love August Rush, too. The faith in that movie is so moving.

  55. Margaret

    Stepmom! It’s definitely sad but some of the scenes are so wonderful – when the mom and her kids are singing “ain’t no mountain high enough” makes me cry every time! Dance parties with my 2 year old little girl are pretty much my favorite thing in the world. Definitely give Stepmom a watch (even though the parents are divorced when the movie begins) because Susan Sarandon is such a loving Mama, it will make you want to be a great Mama, too!

    • Jully

      That Christmas morning scene!! The little boy (Ben?)in his cape says to Susan, “Nobody loves you like I do” and then wraps his little arms around her…UGH… Ugly cry every time…

  56. Meite

    Watch the show Castle! The character played by Nathan Fillion has a great relationship with his mom and an even better one with his daughter. I’m tired of all the hate on family comedies too. I don’t remember life being like that as a kid, or even my parents feeling that way. My Mum kept a journal for me from the time I was born. She recorded her frustrated moments but mostly it’s just filled with love, pride, and a sense of humour. My parents love telling stories about when I and my sisters were little. Don’t most parents treasure those memories? Can’t wait to have a little one of my own. Looking forward to by-wonder-that-is-the-internet meeting your cutie!

  57. jo

    i don’t know if you’re into foreign movies at all but there is a great iranian one called “children of heaven.” it’s all about the relationship between a brother and sister and it is one of the most beautiful, touching movies i have ever seen.

  58. Ellen

    Love this list! Dan in Real life is a MUST. Makes me want a big family so so bad. Away We Go is pretty great too.

  59. Kelli

    I love that Parent Trap made your list. I have a very soft spot for that movie. And several others on your list.
    I’d add Cheaper by the Dozen and second Field of Dreams. If you’re okay with the sports, also Remember the Titans, Rookie, and We Are Marshall.

    Also, Ramona and Beezus.

  60. Abbey

    I don’t know if this one has been mentioned yet but “A Little Princess” was one of my favorites growing up. The bond between father and daughter is remarkable. I also love her vivid imagination and resilience in difficult situations. It is a must watch for sure! IMO :)

  61. Genny

    Awesome idea for a list!
    Congratulations on your pregnancy! Being a mom is a lot of hard work, but you will also have SO much fun! It’s like living your childhood all over again.
    A lot of kids movies make me happy to be a parent.
    Movies I have watched with my daughter that me so happy to be her mom are:
    “Finding Nemo”, “Brave”, “Toy Story 3″, “Despicable Me”, “Beezus and Ramona”, “Odd Life of Timothy Green”,
    just to name a few. I can watch these movies over and over again (and have!).

  62. LadyLara

    I have to add Raising Arizona…. best baby movie ever!

  63. i have to watch the family stone every year at christmastime. it totally fulfills all my childhood fantasies of what christmas would be like when i had my own family. i am not as old as diane keaton yet so it still fills that bill for me – the love, the fun, the slight dysfunction. love that movie – and i thought i was all alone. and parenthood! i put off watching that show forever because i thought it looked “dumb” ha! i can admit when i am wrong and wrong i was. yep, i cry every single episode. when does it come back on??!!

    i’d add “little miss sunshine” to the list. when i was pregnant with my twins i think i watched it at least 10 times. ooo, and “vacation.” laughing while pregnant = good stuff. okay and i don’t know if this will make your list but one of my all-time favorite movies is “baby boom;” it made me positive that, i for sure, wanted to be a mom someday and i could and be anything else i wanted to be too.

  64. Katie G

    I love Billy Elliot and can’t help but bawl when his dad and brother finally come around and do everything they can to support him.

  65. Dina

    Hey Emily, I just thought with your sense of humor you would like the British TV show called “Outnumbered.” I think it was only on a few seasons, but the humor is smart and funny and centers around a mom and dad and 3 kids. I think you can get it on Netflix and Amazon, or at least one of them. Cheers!

    • Jully

      Totally agree. I think this show is great. The fact that the kids improvised most of their lines made me love this show even more. I watched it on Hulu for free…

  66. Great list and I agree with so many of these. I would add “Stepmom”… because Awwww! Hear me out: the plot is sad, sad, sad but the relationships are ever so touching. Also, “Easy A” because I hope to raise an intelligent free thinker who challenges me and the world!

  67. shannon

    Hi – my children and 14 and 15 and yet they still sit down and watch some good old cartoons sometimes. The family bonds, albeit sometimes done with cars instead of people, or reformed supervillians, are definitely missing from your list. “CARS” – Lightning McQueen finds a ‘family’ that accepts him and loves him. The princess in “BRAVE” (I bawled at this one), realizes how important her relationship is with her mom when it almost seems too late. Even “Despicable Me” where Gru falls in love with three adorable girls and they become a family. These are just three that come to mind. People think cartoons are for kids, but us parents can sometimes learn a lot too. (no, I’m not 12 pretending to be 40)

  68. Arli

    About A Boy with Hugh Grant.

    • Zoey

      Yes! I loved this movie!

  69. Monica

    I agree with #9, #10, #11, and #12.

    I second the poster that mentioned Mary Poppins. Really, really watch it. The main character there is not Mary, is Mr. Banks. That movie always reminds me how precious childhood years are. Blink, they are gone! They make them grow up too fast, life will catch up with them.

    I didn’t see “The Sandlot” there. Good movie about being a kid.

  70. corinne a.

    Great list! Movies that only show the potentially negative, uh, side effects of having kids are like those “just wait” moms…”just wait till little Timmy is 3 and starts talking back!” Ugh! I hate it! I have two boys, 3 and 1, and whatever, sometimes they’re a handful but OH MAN are they a lot of fun.

  71. Ana

    Just had to mention “A Little Princess and “Secret Garden”!

    • Lauren

      Two of my faves!

  72. gigi

    watch Parenthood, the movie with Steve Martin and a cast of characters.

  73. Jennie

    You might try Rushmore, if you haven’t already.

  74. How about Away We Go? It is sweet and all about the excitement of starting your family.

  75. ooo what about Full House? Awesome TV show. Awesome kids. Awesome family.

  76. Anne On

    tl;dr BABIES (2010), a documentary without words showing the first year of life for four babies around the world. Its amazing and you will all want to become immediately pregnant.

  77. Gwen

    Pregnancy hormones! Ugh! Just a warning it doesn’t go away till baby is sleeping through the night (personal opinion). Waking up at 1 or 3 a.m. to nurse a crying baby will make you want to watch anything uplifting or funny. I love Notting Hill, SNL, Better Off Dead, Elf, Bridesmaids and Bruce Almighty (whether or not family related.) I also read Bossy Pants, The Help and books by Chelsea Handler on my iPad during the middle of the night feedings. This helped me to keep postpartum depression at bay. Hormones are crazy! **One last note: the good far outweighs the bad with how much your marriage changes. Plus you guys seem so fun and smart so it will be a breeze for you!**

  78. Ali

    I apologize if someone already mentioned this, but who didn’t want to belong to the March family from Little Women? The relationships between the sisters are amazing and Marmie is what I want to be like when I’m a mother.

  79. addie

    Absolutely great list! I second “Away we Go” and “Babies” for sure. I love the Mara Wilson “Miracle on 34th Street” and “Little Women” with Susan Sarandon as Marmie both from the 90′s.

  80. Meg

    Modern Family gets me all family-happy on occasion.

    I am so, so happy you included Friday Night Lights on this list. I’m turning through the seasons on Netflix with my feller and it’s pulling me over to the dark side of maybe-I-totally-will-have-kids-one-day which is not something you should decide based on a TV show, but then again, maybe it’s not something most people really “decide” anyway.

    Also, it’s the perfect show to get all snug to. So there’s that.

  81. Mallory

    Away We Go with John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph would be a great movie to watch while getting ready for a baby. Maya’s character gets pregnant and they go on a search to find the perfect place to live before the baby comes. It is really funny (the part with Maggie Gyllenhaal is the best) and also really poignant. There is a scene near the end where they talk about their wishes for their daughter, which gets me every time. If you haven’t seen this, you must add it to your list.

  82. Thank you! I’m a mom of 3 babes (4,2&6mos) and we have a blast together! None of this Hollywood nonsense drama. Sure We spend most or our Friday nights watching cartoon movies, going to the Disney store or playing another round of hello kitty bingo, but that’s the fun of it! Everything is so much more fun with kids. It’s like experiencing everything for the 1st time. I feel like my life truly began when I had my 1st baby (and I’m sure you will too)! Thanks again for these movie ideas some great ones!
    Ps my oldest is actually named lorelai after Gilmore girls. ;)

  83. Elisabeth

    Beasts of the Southern Wild…It’s totally offbeat and there are some really sad moments but ultimately it’s about love and family and belonging to your tribe no matter who they are! Plus the little girl who plays Hushpuppy is SO CUTE! And Little Miss Sunshine. Oh, and I don’t know if there is even any way to get a hold of it but there was a short movie version of “For Better Or For Worse” (the cartoon) that was a Christmas special called “The Bestest Present”. It must’ve been like a mid-80s thing bc we watched it every year when I was little. It’s totally adorable about losing a toy and then finding it.

  84. Jennifer Fogerty-Gibson

    It’s A Wonderful Life-my favorite all time movie. I love it.

    Post Grad-the cast is incredible, it shows family and sticking up for each other. Alexis Bledel is in this one.

    Little Miss Sunshine-I heart this movie. It’s uncomfortable a lot of the time, but these people really love each other.

    Jersey Girl-with George Carlin and Ben Affleck. Mom dies in childbirth (sorry, maybe watch when the little one is born) but the relationship of the dad and his daughter is priceless.

    Blast From the Past-besides having amazing comedic writing and a stellar cast with Christopher Walken and Sissy Spacek and Brendan Fraser, it shows parents and their son in a fallout shelter together for THIRTYFIVE years, and their bond and respect for each other is wonderful. It’s like our family’s favorite go-to feel good movie.

    Malcom in the Middle-(TV) totally dysfunctional family, funny as shit, love each other and put each other over everything.

    Big Daddy-Adam Sandler. Loves a kid that isn’t even his. Funny as hell.

    Easy A-with Emma Stone, Stanley Tucci, Patricia Clarkson. My husband and I see ourselves in their characters in the way they relate to their teenage daughter. Ours is the same age.

    Lilo and Stitch
    Modern Family (TV)
    Finding Nemo

    I have so many. This is my favorite genre. I love family themed movies.
    I am so happy for you!

  85. Jennifer Fogerty-Gibson

    Two more-Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead and Adventures in Babysitting. LOVE them.

  86. Jennifer Fogerty-Gibson

    Oops, Uncle Buck, too!

  87. laurel

    About A Boy is a fave of mine. Away We Go is a good one too, bring the tissues!

    And I also found being pregnant to be boring and a bit uncomfortable. I’m happy I’m not right now! Childbirth is crazy painful and crazy awesome. You will be absolutely amazed at what your body can do. And motherhood. So overwhelming and beautiful that any movie you watch will fall short of what it’s really like. I won’t lie, there are days when it’s like Friends With Kids. But those moments are so few and the good times are so so so good that it’s just not something you can really prep for.

  88. Tamara

    I am so glad you put “The Family Stone” on the list, I think “In America” is another great one. All you need is love in a family and the rest takes care of it self, one of my favorites :)

  89. annie

    Dan in Real Life

  90. Megan

    I loved “We Bought a Zoo”! That little girl is precious and the way the father struggled to give his older son space but still show him he loved him, wow it was beautiful. Plus the whole idea of taking your kids to live a unique, authentic life is just great. Cameron Crowe is a genius so I also loved “Almost Famous”. Makes me want to have a cool teenage son into music. “The Magic of Belle Isle” is a great new family movie with really cute girls with unique personalities.

    Now I want to rewatch all of Gilmore Girls and Veronica Mars . . .again. Maybe if I watch these movies and tv shows, I’ll be less anxious if I ever have a kid :)


  91. Erin

    I’m a professional with a toddler, a baby on the way (20-weeks), and a very happy marriage and life. Having a family is amazing–SO.MUCH.JOY. More than I could have ever imagined. Our son turns 2 in August and my husband and I still pinch ourselves most nights that this is our life. Hollywood gets labor/delivery wrong (I never screamed and found it to be amazing and no more painful than the worst period you’ve ever had) and they really get family wrong. I don’t like how there are few strong mother-child relationships portrayed, they always kill us off (SO many stepmoms?!) and the dad’s are either treated like another child or they get to be the best friend.

    I love Bed Knobs and Broomsticks, It’s a Wonderful Life, About a Boy…. my mind is cloudy now and I can’t think of more. My favorite thing to watch right now is my son burst into giggles over the silliest things. Tonight I was making his stomach talk (I want chicken. Give me milk.) and his giggles just filled the house. Joy is coming!

    If you’d like a book to block out the Hollywood (and now cultural) portrayal of labor/delivery, I recommend Journey into Motherhood (Sheri L. Menelli). I read a short story from that book each night and it gets me excited for the delivery.

    All the best! xo

  92. Melissa M.

    Great list of movies and TV shows. I love movies and shows that show great families that represent real life (challenges and all).
    I also wanted to add the TV show Brothers & Sisters. Dis-functional yet realistic family. I love how the brothers and sisters are truly each others best friends and are the first ones they call whenever something happens. No matter what gets thrown at them (and there’s lots of secrets and other issues they have to deal with) they stick together. Also Sally Field is just amazing!

    • Julia

      Yes! Brother&Sisters is great, and I love Modern Family for almost the same reason.

  93. Brittany

    We Bought a Zoo was a great movie and the little girl is the cutest ever! Also second The Cosby Show for a tv series, who doesn’t want to be a Huxtable? I also agree that Parenthood is one of the best shows on TV and am glad you included it, it leaves me in tears every time!

  94. Rachel

    You’ve got to watch Brave! I think it’s already been recommended, but I went to see this with my mom not fully knowing what the plot was, and we both ended the movie crying and clutching each other. Hah. Great movie about families and learning to communicate and understand your parent/child. Such a gorgeous movie, too. I want Merida’s hair. Is that creepy?

  95. PREACH IT. :) and “Cheaper by the Dozen” definitely makes me want 12 kids. (Though being pregnant makes me quite content with three.)

  96. I’m with you on this list… and do no ever EVer watch Rosemary’s Baby when preggers. Yikes.

    I’m 32 weeks preg with my first and, while it is not a movie, I cannot stop looking at this blog…


  97. Aww! I love this list! I watched nearly every episode of (like a reporter on a story) A Baby Story before having my two (lovely, haven’t ruined my life!) kids. I just realized what you are feeling, I didn’t want any of the bad news, I wanted the “happy endings”. Thanks for the ‘Aha’ moment and blessings in abundance to you and yours!

  98. Rose

    Would add:
    sand lot
    stand by me
    the outsiders
    mean girls
    breakfast club
    home alone
    secret garden

    so many great ones!

  99. LOVE love love FNL & Parenthood (same producer!), and The Impossible was definitely the most heart wrenching family story—incredible. Slightly off topic, but Babies the documentary is wonderful and also Netflix has a series Business of Being Born—watch Episode 2 it is incredibly inspiring and makes me WANT to birth something. The other episodes (and original documentary) are great too but more about crunchy childbirth.

    PS I love pregnant Emily! Though I am probably biased and love anything Emily ;)

  100. Eileen

    I need to watch “School of Rock” once a year. It is heartwarming and funny. Us parents need to remember to let our kids rock out and find the music in their soul.

  101. RD

    I Capture The Castle.
    National Velvet
    Tree of Life
    Oo! Oo! You will need to get books for the bouncing baby boy. The one I highly recommend because of the beautiful alliteration is The Elephant’s Child by Rudyard Kipling. I have never met a kid who hasn’t loved going down to the “Great grey green greasy Limpopo River all set about with fever trees”.
    Funny that you have Sound of Music on your list. That was the first one that came to mind.

  102. Deborah K

    What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? So many reasons to love this movie. Watch it, you’ll understand.

    And congratulations! You’re going to be an incredible mom. Just remember you were hand-picked to raise that little guy in there!

  103. Melanie

    Great list! I would add Modern Family to the list of must watch TV shows. Yes it’s silly and over the top but it really does show that families come in all shapes and sizes. Mixed, traditional, adoptive, etc…

  104. You are so right. The best part of having kids is having a family. AND kind of being a kid again with your kids. And these movies make me nostalge (i’m making it a verb) for my childhood so HARD.

    Love you hun, MWA.

  105. three men and a little lady was one of my favorite movies as a kid. i also love love love family stone and parenthood! i love this post and think this is a great idea to get ready/excited for a new family!

  106. Pingback: 16 movies to watch when pregnant … - Housewives | Housewives

  107. Mary

    Grown Ups, Parenthood (the movie), Adventures in Babysitting (I’m sorry but that just belongs in every fun movie list), Home Alone -duh, the Diary of a Wimpy Kid movies, How to Eat Fried Worms, Sandlot…

  108. Sandy

    I thought of another one…Because I Said So! The ever fabulous Diane Keaton matriarch of the Wilder women. So great!

  109. Annie

    THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS!!!! Personally its my all time favorite movie for the set and costume design and the dry humor. A lot of people probably don’t think of it as an awesome example of family…..BUT THEY’RE WRONG!! The mom, played by Angelica Huston is what I aspire to be as a mother-calm, understanding, practical and accepting. Even the father, played by Gene Hackman, finds a way to be a dad and grandfather despite his shortcomings. My favorite line is when Bill Murray asks Gwyneth Paltrow if she loves him and she says,”I do kind of.” You need to watch it and then get yourself a “Havalina” to hang in your baby’s nursery!!!!

  110. Cindy

    I made the mistake of watching a documentary called “the business of being born” just 2 days before my due date (just a coup,of weeks ago)
    It was a very very interesting, thought provoking movie about birthing here in America and how hospitals may be focusing of the “business” of childbirth instead of mother and baby. You have plenty of time before your baby comes to watch and let all the info marinade, but it just messed me up with only a few days before baby’s arrival….I’m not a planner and did not have a birth plan….this movie just makes you think. Brian should watch with you. Trust me the conversation will be flowing after this one.

  111. Wendy

    Hi Emily!
    I FULLY agree with your sentiments about how Hollywood should take a cue from this!
    OK, not sure if these were mentioned, but oh sooo good!

    1. The whole series of Anne of Green Gables with Megan Follows. The relationships are sooo good in these.
    2. Corrina, Corrina, an unlikely family in a different era, but so modern. Whoopie Goldberg and Tina Majorino are heart melting in it!
    3.The Journey of Natty Gann

    4.16 Candles
    5. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
    6.Better Off Dead
    I know those last three are teen movies, but great comic relief.:)

    7. Daddy Day Care with Eddie Murphy and Steve Zahn, super cute.
    8.The Secret Garden
    9.Dolphin Tale
    10.The original Parent Trap with Hayley Mills!!!
    11. The Black Stallion from 1979
    12.Episodes of the Muppet Show

    Oh! And if you want to read some great stories to get you ready for fun reading/story time with your child, the series by Trenton Lee Stewart is a good one for imagination.
    Book 1 The Mysterious Benedict Society (this is the BEST one and is quite funny)
    Book 2 The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey
    Book 3 The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner’s Dilema
    Book 4 The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict

  112. Wendy

    Oh yes!!! Had to second someone mentioning
    It’s a Wonderful Life
    Uncle Buck!!!

  113. Wendy

    Paul Blart Mall Cop
    Here comes the Boom

  114. Someone already recommended this, but I think it’s such a good family movie I’ll say it again: The Family Man with Tea Leoni and Nicolas Cage. This movie will make you want to drop everything in life and start making tons of babies. :)

  115. Leigh in Houston

    My husband and I have been married for 25 years and have 4 children ages 20, 18, 15 &12. When we were first married, we saw “She’s Having a Baby” with Kevin Bacon and Elizabeth McGovern. Such a cute movie – funny and tender. 4 years later when we found out we were pregnant, we rented it again. It was even better because we were going through the same experience- just the pregnancy, not the other issues. :) With each subsequent pregnancy, we’d watch it again. I cry at the end every time! Blessings to you as you begin this most incredible journey. (BTW our 2nd just graduated from HS and will be in college (with her brother) in the fall.)

  116. Erin

    Love this list! I was hoping to see Father of the Bride on it! I watched that before i got married and will for sure watch it and the 2nd before I pop! Also, all of the TV shows listed are perfection! Lauren Graham can do no wrong in my eyes and clearly she picks amazing shows to be in. FNL is for sure one of my fav shows for 3 reasons: Coach T, Tammy T, and Tim Riggins (swoon) And I wanted to be Veronica Mars, but having a daughter like her might be even better. Thanks for the some great picks!

  117. Rebecca

    This is a little off the subject, but if you don’t yet belong to a church I can recommend one. Check out c3a.com and you will find info and the addresses for both locations: one in Noho and the other in Silverlake. Two of my nieces (and their spouses) are very involved. It is a very cool church! You should check it out. I only mention it as sometimes when people have a baby and don’t already belong to one, it gets them rethinking things….. Just a thought! Maybe you already have a church (or not by choice)…..(Hopefully you are not offended by this.)

    Enjoy every moment of Mommyhood! You are about to experience one of the most overwhelming feelings of love you will ever know :)

  118. Monica

    And since we’re in the topic of books, I’d recommend “Love You Forever”, by Robert Munch. It’ll make you cry, tho. And “Go the F*k to Sleep”, by Mansbach and Cortes, it’ll make you laugh…hehe…

  119. erin

    I’ve been thinking about this, and I hope you see this 177th comment, because I really like these movies:

    The Incredibles: a family that loves each other and fights for one another.

    Away We Go: a couple that loves each other and their baby and has really great, funny friends.

  120. erin

    And congratulations on your soon-to-be-here baby!!!

  121. Jess C

    “Starbuck” – As long as you’re down for subtitles. Man unknowingly fathers hundreds of children through sperm donation. A surprisingly charming film.

  122. nihiru

    Hi, Emily,

    Sorry, but I can’t agree with you on watching “wait till you…” movies (as someone very adequately described them):).
    After seeing them (or visiting forums, or blogs), whatever comes, I can always say “it could be worse”. works like a charm:D

  123. Laura A

    I second (third, fourth?) Little Women and Finding Neverland – though have the tissues handy. Super random sorta dumb kids movie is Daddy Daycare which for some strange reason I find very entertaining. I think it is Steve Zahn and Jeff Garlin that does it for me… Watch movies now because you won’t for a while once baby arrives;)

    • jo

      @LauraA – “…watch movies now because you won’t for a while once the baby arrives.”
      @”#$(@#$&(*%$&)@ Why do people say sh*t like this? People say the same thing about travel or about owning nice things. EM – listen here. As the mother of toddler twins, you can do any damn thing you want after having kids, you just have to make a more concerted effort. I often watched 30 – 40 min segments of movies while I breastfed. I watched more movies when the boys were first born than probably any other time of my life. Even now, as we are thinking of adding more (yeah, we are nuts but kids are awesome) I am deliberately holding off on tv shows that I want to watch so that we can watch them during feedings.
      We’ve also traveled 20+ times since the boys were born (20 months old now), including international travel, because we love to travel. We hike with them. We own a white slipcovered couch and a cowhide rug, and you know what? It works! We make it work. So tell people who say sh*t like, “oh you won’t be able to do that once the baby…” to eff off. It just means they couldn’t figure out how to make it part of their life. Seriously, if their is a will there is a way. You will/should find a way to continue to incorporate the things that are important to you. That’s how you create values and experiences in your children that are truly from you.
      (stepping off soapbox now. sorry.)

      • Laura A

        yikes! Didn’t mean to hit a nerve. I am happy to report that while movies are not a big part of my life right now that is due to the fact that I am enjoying spending time with my two girls, 4 and 2 years old. Parenting isn’t all sunshine and rainbows but it is the best thing I have ever done. Perhaps if mothers everywhere spent more time supporting each other and less time critiquing and judging we would all be better off. By all means enjoy your life in the way you want! Congrats to Jo for successfully juggling so much. I apologize for my unintentional negative comment about motherhood just wanted to share some movie ideas…

        • jo

          Laura – I apologize. My comment was excessively negative and intense. I definitely overreacted. What I should have said, and something you’d likely agree with as a mother, is that there are many things that are harder to do or accomplish as a mother because of the demands and nature of the position. Like any budding relationship, it takes a lot of time and effort. Movies aren’t always a catalyst for prudent relationship-building and can take time away from connections that are important for growth and love. But just as important as it is to be cognizant of the quality of the time you share together, is how you actually share time together. These activities should reflect the values you hold dear. When people tell you that you won’t be able to do something after you have children, they are essentially telling you that this was not a priority FOR THEM once they had children, that it was no longer part of their values. Its then no wonder that you follow up by saying, “…movies are not a big part of my life right now”. And further that “…I am happy to report” that the aren’t.
          I feel that one’s first pregnancy is an especially difficult time of identity. We are trying to figure out who we are, who we are becoming, what does motherhood look like, what does it look like for me, and what values/experiences do I want to instill in this child, and what do I want for this child. Unless you have a strong idea of what those values are that you want to pass on, a person sharing their own post-natal value system can be confusing and hard to process. Unsure of my emerging identity and swayed easily by the views of mothers I admired, I found myself coming to dread the idea of motherhood and the things I would have to give up. It took me an embarrassingly long amount of time to realize that, 1. I didn’t have to give up anything I didn’t want to and 2. others were sharing their value system with me when they told me they had/I should/must.
          I now find that the very best thing to do is encourage first time mom’s to evaluate whats important to them, be open to changing priorities, and take my (or anyone else’s) values as simply a different approach to the same end goal of developing beautiful independent beings through loving and nurturing relationships.
          That’s what I should have said.
          My sincere apologies Laura.

  124. CT Design

    Jo is right on. Life doesn’t end when you have kids, its just a new different better life. Yes, its much harder. But who cares about all that when you made a new person. A new person! Its so amazing, and they will teach you things and you will love them so much it hurts. I have three little boys, and I have a cream rug in my living room. I took my 4 month old camping. We fly on airplanes and survive, we even have fun. It is possible, and it is awesome.

  125. emily jane

    : ) !!!

    • emily jane

      Jo, thanks for sharing those 26 seconds of HAPPY!

  126. sherry

    Glen Close in Immediate Family. I will never forget the sax solo by Van Morrison that she did with the young girl that she was adopting the baby from. After we endured multiple miscarriages, and adoption homestudy and 7 IVF cycles, that movie has a special place in my heart.

  127. Melissa

    I don’t have any recommendations, but just want to say that my husband and I have never been happier or more in love than we are now, and we have a 14 month old boy. Day to day life is more complicated and requires more planning, but our happiness level is through the roof. So, you know, don’t listen to anyone that tells you having a baby is destined to ruin your marriage. :)

  128. Emily

    Bravo! I, too, adore Friday Night Lights. Tammy and the Coach are great parents and are really connected to each other, their family and the community. A+ choice!

  129. Molly

    You have to check this little 5 minute video out:


    It will make you SO excited for a little boy :)

  130. CM

    Love this list! Both in concept and actuality.
    But who needs TV and movies, just look up YouTube videos of babies laughing.
    As for the “enjoy being free”… if only you could store it up! Sleep and exercise, too! But it’s just life that you may have more freedom than you really need before having kids, and less freedom than you want after, and there’s not much you can really do about that. Anyway, losing your freedom when you have young kids is like that table leg that you occasionally stub your toe on. It’s inconvenient and you sometimes wish it could be different, but it totally wouldn’t be worth getting rid of your favorite table.

  131. harriet the spy, matilda, malcom in the middle, and HELLO… THE WONDER YEARS!!!

  132. Deesha

    Loved Family Man, Dan in Real Life and the Wonder Years. And I totally agree about the movies that were NOT doing it for you! I did want to mention the TV series “Notes from the Underbelly.” I already had kids when I saw it, but it is so funny! It stars Jennifer Westfeldt, Jon Hamm’s wife in real life. And I’m pretty sure it was set in SoCal, which I loved since I grew up there. Here is a link to it:


    And I’m so excited for you!!!! Congratulations!

  133. Oléron

    Life is beautiful (la vita e bella) by and with Roberto Begnini.

  134. cindy

    As a native Texan I’ve always loved Terms of Endearment! Watched it as a kid and I still love it! Nothing compares to the bond between mother and child no matter how old or far away!

  135. I just welcomed our first three weeks ago. I agree with everything you said! Pregnancy was boring, but then he will come and all of a sudden your world changes in the most wonderful way. Ramona and Beezus was super fun formeto watch while pregnant. I also watched a lot on your list.

  136. Sharon

    First of all congrats!
    2nd, I just found your blog; was missing your HGTV shows (1 of their best ever)
    Now I have to pass on some parenting advice that saved my marriage. My husband and I have been happily together for 35 years. While expecting, our baby doctor had this wise council for us; The fact is that moms want to give every last drop of their juice for everything to the baby after it arrives. This is a natural hormonal/survival instinct. Unfortunately the dads end up feeling neglected and that their bride has become someone else. Our doctor encouraged me to make sure I continued to give my husband plenty of attention even if I had to fake it. He also told hubby to be patient w/ my need to focus so totally on the baby. With this sage advice we were able to navigate the baby years w/ better understanding of ourselves during this formative family building time. We tried to stay connected to each other through diapers, late night feedings, hours of baby crying etc. We have always been able to find our way back to each other & the love and attraction that started it all for us. May you and Brian enjoy many years of family bliss.

  137. Adnama

    Family Man w/ Nicholas Cage and Tea Leoni

  138. Ashley

    EASY A! Emma Stone + Patricia Clarkson + Stanley Tucci + Bryce Clyde Jenkins = the funniest movie family ever. LOVE.

  139. Katy

    Love your blog, your wit, but most of all your decorating. I have to say though, this post makes me sad. You are no longer my BFF fantasy. Sorry, you have to find out this way. Tuth be told “Jerry Maguire” did you in, your fantasy friendship no longers completes me (couldn’t help myself).
    I like good movies, like say….”Stoker” most recently, an excellent movie for pending mothers.
    Say you listen to Radiohead and maybe I can move you up the street in my fantasy neighborhood. You could be the witty girl I have an ocassional coffee with, while we talk about anything but movies.

  140. Kiara

    To Kill A Mockingbird! Seriously, Atticus Finch is #1 Father (after mine, of course) and his humble, quiet, respectful parenting in this film is an inspiration on how to teach your kids without preaching and being a role model that they can be proud of.

  141. Zoey

    It’s a real oldie, but I really liked the mother/ son relationship in “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore.” The movie, not the TV show. Also loved “About a Boy.” I’m not a fan of syrupy Hollywood interpretations of family life. I’m a mother of 3 great grown-up “kids” btw, so I know a thing or two about the realities of family life:).

    Also, love your work, and congrats!

  142. tammyCA

    I pretty much only watch very old movies..a lot of them “happy family movies” because I have always loved them & they were and still are an escape…
    Some that come to mind…I love the original ’60s “Yours, mine & ours”, “With six you get eggroll”, “Please don’t eat the daisies”…and, there are some from the ’80s that I still love, “Baby Boom” and “Parenthood”.

  143. susan

    The first Parent Trap, with Hayley Mills, because I want Brian Keith’s house (the yummy Cliff May-ish Spanish style ranch house), and because the acting is just better.

    Someone mentioned Cheaper by the Dozen – I agree, but make it the original with the incomparable Myrna Loy and Clifton Webb.

    Wild at Heart, a British series about a newly blended family that leaves England and Dad’s safe, household pet, veterinary practice to start a new life in Africa, with a not so safe wild animal vet practice. It’s available by streaming on Netflix and so wonderful that I very nearly kept my daughter out of school on a Monday so that we could continue our weekend marathon. 70 or so episodes, great family scenes, great animal stories, and it even has Hayley Mills in a supporting role, which brings me full circle.
    Many blessings for you and yours.

  144. Naomi

    I second The Black Stallion, whoever suggested that one. A totally underrated movie, plus that little boy! The movie and his real life story will break your heart.

    Has anyone mentioned E.T. or Annie?

    • Naomi

      Duh. I missed E.T. on the master list! I will also suggest JUNO, even though I realize it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, THE JOURNEY OF NATTY GANN, because that young lady was amazing, and the TV show SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE, because THOSE young people are also amazing and every time I watch it I think how proud the parents of those kids must be.

  145. Danielle

    Frequency. I love this movie. I love the bond between the father and son.

    There is a scene, in the beginning, where the little boy sees his mother and father dancing in the kitchen. They love each other so much. It’s really sweet. I always think of that scene and try to make sure my kids see their parents love each other in little moments like this.

  146. Naomi

    Also, everyone should see THE WAY, WAY BACK. It’s heartbreaking and wonderful. It will remind you what it felt like to be a kid and will make you want to do right by all the kids you know. I’m still a crying mess over it, days later.

  147. Katie

    I don’t know if this has been mentioned, but the TV show Freaks & Geeks portrays a wonderful family (the Weirs). Several characters come from sad family situations, but the Weirs are great to watch. There’s some pretty dramatic family tension in the pilot episode, but pilots always seem to be more amped up then the rest of the series. Their relationships with each other are more “normal” in the other episodes. Even when the dad is a hardass, you can tell that it comes from a place of love. It streams on Netflix if you subscribe to that. I highly, highly recommend it!!

  148. jessica

    I love “I am Sam” and “We Bought a Zoo.” I am Sam makes me cry every time and Dakota Fanning is an amazing actress. We Bought a Zoo has the most adorable little girl in the world in it. “Little Miss Sunshine” is a weird choice maybe but I love that it shows how wonderfully weird kids (and adults) can be.

  149. christa

    another vote for Waitress. When I was ambivalently pregnant my therapist told me to watch it. There were tears galore (from me), but I loved it.

    Also, another vote for My Neighbor Totoro. My 4-year-old boy and I both adore. It reminds me of the innocence and magic of childhood. Ponyo too, to an only slightly lesser extent.

  150. Eek, congrats! My blog reader wasn’t updating posts to your blog. I think Parenthood is great and realistic. Though I only watch it when I want to cry. I have a few netflix picks (also happen to be non-American): The Well-Digger’s Daughter, Call the Midwife series (though maybe wait til after baby is born?), and Ondine.

  151. Nicole

    Just wanted to say this post totally made me think about how I sat down to watch the “romantic comedy” Life As We Know It when my sweet baby girl was about 10 months old. WARNING: that is a SAD movie!!!!! I was way past the postpartum emotions, and therefore not at all prepared to be sobbing uncontrollably about that poor baby girl in her sweet little piggy jammies. Congrats to you and best of luck. (And I agree that August Rush is an awesome movie)

  152. Chrystal

    I just want to say first of all, I’m not normally a huge Brendan Fraser fan, but Extraordinary Measures was a great movie about a man and wife who form a biotechnology company to develop a drug to save the lives of their children, who both suffer from the same disease. It was a real heart-jerker, and really portrayed how deeply a parent loves a child, and to what length they’ll go to to protect them.

    Congratulations your impending human! I have 5, and raising them has been the most incredible experience of my life! :)

  153. Pingback: Top 14 most popular posts of all time … I think | Emily Henderson

  154. Sarah

    A MUST for you, Emily Henderson, is Socks by Beverly Cleary. Ok, I know this is tv/movie list, but how about at least one book for good measure?
    If you didn’t read it in your adolescence, it’s about a young couple with a cat they adore who are expecting their first baby. Written in large part from the cat’s prospective.
    Gee, I made the book sound cheesy, and maybe it is?…but I’m not even a cat lover…but when I read it as a kid and just recently when I read it to my daughter (who I thought could empathize with Socks when we were expecting our second child), all readers/ listeners involved were happy crying!

  155. Hachi. It shows an a middle age couple who have a great relationship, so encouraging. They have a daughter who is so sweet and who is very close to them. One of my favorite moments, how happy they are for her when she and her husband find out they’re pregnant. You’ll love it. Very sweet and gentle, beautifully shot.

    And babies and marriage are wonderful! Our children have deepened and strengthened our relationship.

    Cheering for you!

  156. Leia

    The british show “Moone Boy” is great & its Hulu! The tagline is, “Ever wanted to be the imaginary friend of an idiot boy in the West of Ireland? Me neither, but there you go.” It’s set in 1989 & said boy is the youngest boy in a family with 3 sisters. His imaginary friend is a very normal middle aged man played by Chris O’Dowd. Hilarious and SUPER sweet.

  157. Jessica

    Hi Emily!
    I’m from Brazil. Firstly, I’m glad to know you gonna be mommy *-* Congratulations!
    I watch your program here, and love your work!
    About the movies chosen, are all good choices! Some of them, I watched when I was a kid.
    God bless you and your family.
    Ps.: I’m so sorry about my english, lol.

  158. Ditto on almost all of these but I’d have to add Matilda and Jack to really round out the line up. Matilda- because it’s magic, and Jack- because the mom/son relationship is everything I would imagine it to be inspiring, profound, and at times heartbreaking (and that adorable nerdy kid with the twisted up faces and amazing victory dance is everything.)

    Both of these have a knack for restoring my faith in humanity and reminding me to stay playful. Excellent post.

    xo, Kinsey

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