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Romantic Movies Transcend Generations: Top 10 Must Watch Films From A Mother and Daughter

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

My mom had a list of movies in her mind that she wanted to show her daughter to teach her things about love, friendship, and life. Two of these movies I showed to my mom and she absolutely fell in love with them. For our movie nights, we get in our comfy clothes and grab a comforter, our dogs, chocolate, and freshly popped popcorn. So get settled and enjoy our top 10 romantic movie recommendations!

Dirty dancing

This is my mom’s favorite movie of all time. Patrick Swayze was the ultimate heartthrob of her generation. She said Dirty Dancing taught her that “love can happen in the most unexpected places.” It also touches on topics of abortion, women’s rights, and sexism. My mom, as a pioneer for women in her corporate industry, wanted to encourage me to be a feminist and have these hard conversations. My favorite part of the movie is the iconic line “nobody puts baby in a corner.” It was empowering for me to see a young woman rebel and embrace her creativity.

pretty woman

The famous movie, Pretty Woman is about a prostitute named Vivian, played by Julia Roberts, and a rich businessman, Edward, played by Richard Gere, who fall in love. Vivian has doubts about if their relationship will work, and asks her friend Kit for advice. Vivian says she can’t think of anyone this has worked out for, and Kit replies with “Cinde-fucking-rella.” My mom says, “everyone needs a friend like Kit.” Kit is someone who has your back and believes in you even when you can’t. This movie is not only loved by my mom and me, but it is also loved by both of my grandmothers, one who grew up in the slums of Dublin in the 1930s and the other who grew up in Rockport, MA in the 1940s. This movie quite literally transcends generations.

Letters to Juliet

My mom insisted that Letters to Juliet be number three. I brought it to her when I was a young teenager. I was infatuated with this idea of destiny, soulmates, and listening to your heart. When asked what my favorite movie is to this day, this is the one I will give. Amanda Seyfried is fantastic, she plays a fact-checker for The New Yorker and is an aspiring writer. She travels to lovely Verona, Italy and her life completely changes once she meets the Secretaries of Juliet. Love transcends generations in this heartwarming movie. 

The Holiday

The Holiday centers around two successful women (Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz) who are unhappy in their love lives, and swap houses over the holidays. Both women fall in love with themselves and find real partners. It’s a truly beautiful message about one’s inner power and the realities of unrequited love and soulmates. 

the wedding date

The Wedding Date stars Dermot Mulroney (a heart throb) and Debra Messing (a badass). It is a complex love story in terms of romantic love and familial love. My mom showed me this movie because she wanted me to see what happens when you date a shitty guy. And Jeffrey, played by Jeremey Sheffield, is the absolute worst. I will not spoil it anymore, but it’s a must-watch!

legally blonde

Legally Blonde is the absolute go-to pick-me-up movie that never ceases to inspire me. It’s girl power, meets subtle romance, meets courtroom drama. I aspire to be Elle Woods. My mom’s lessons from it are “don’t judge a book by its cover. You can be beautiful, cute, and a kick-ass lawyer,” and “sometimes what you love isn’t what you need.”

Pretty in pink

Pretty in Pink is a dynamic and funny coming-of-age story. My mom’s favorite takeaway is “every girl needs a Duckie.” Duckie, played by Jon Cryer, is the main character Andie’s (Molly Ringwald) best friend. He is in love with her and would literally lay down his life for her. Their friendship goes through tumultuous times throughout the movie (because of additional love interests) but he always has her back.


Footloose is more than just iconic dance numbers. The themes of dancing, religion, self-expression, and parents trying to control children are so important and prevalent!

no strings attached

The reason my mom showed me No Strings Attached is that the movie is based on thinking sex doesn’t matter, but it does. Sex does matter, and it complicates relationships and friendships when you don’t treat it like it doesn’t matter. You see how “no strings attached” sex complicates things between the two main characters played by Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman

10 things I hate about you

Heath Ledger singing on the stadium chairs in front of the school, enough said. 10 Things I Hate About You is all kinds of iconic, probably because it’s based on Shakespeare’s play Taming of the Shrew. All of the characters, including those played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and David Krumholtz (two of my personal favorites) grow to understand love in their own ways. The movie is full of incredibly beautiful and heart-wrenching stories of young love.

These movies make you fall in love with love. They teach that love, all kinds of love, happens when you least expect it and that everyone is deserving of love.

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Sarah Robinson

U Mass Amherst '24

I'm an English major in the Commonwealth Honors College, specializing in Creative Writing, The Study and Practice of Writing, and Environmental Humanities. Some of my passions are women's rights and issues, writing in any medium, and reading. Currently I am loving learning about Irish literature, language, and culture as a first generation Irish-American. I also love tattoos, my two dogs, and doing anything creative!