Movies have been a favorite pastime of mine, even way before I had Micah. But as a single parent, it is even much more so. I enjoy watching movies with Micah, and when he’s asleep, I get caught up on all of the movies that I really want to see. Just the other day, it caught my attention that there are so many movies and shows on Netflix that feature single parents – and it was featured on some of my favorites.
It’s clear that Hollywood has an interest in showcasing different family structures, because you can find loads of different structures in the movies. In this post, though, I’m going to feature those movies and shows on Netflix streaming that feature single parents.
Single Parents: Nia Long as May, Wendi McLendon-Covey as Jan, Amy Smart as Hillary, Zulay Henao as Esperanza, Cocoa Brown as Lytia
This movie is all about single moms; therefore, it makes complete sense to be on this list. I connected with some of the issues that were brought up, especially with Nia Long’s character. I even teared up (if you know me, it’s rare to see me cry) while watching some of the scenes. I’m sure that you’ll enjoy it, whether it’s to better understand single moms or see yourself personified through these single moms.
Single Parent: Essie Davis as Amelia
Amelia loses her husband through a horrific car accident while he was driving her to the hospital to give birth to her now 6-year old son Samuel. Samuel is completely out of control now, and she struggles to take care of things. But everything changes when a monstrous creature called the Babadook starts plaguing this family. Samuel starts experiencing hallucinations and nightmares from the Babadook and Amelia is unable to cope any further. Forced to medicate her son to keep him calm at night, Amelia soon learns that the creature is actually real. Crazy plot, right? You may to check out this movie if you want a good scare while checking out this featured single parent.
Single Parent: Jason Statham as Phil Broker
Jason Statham is a single father that leaves the DEA and moves to a small town with his young daughter after being widowed. Shortly thereafter, though, he experiences so many problems – his daughter uses her self-defense skills after being attacked by her bully, and now the adults get involved and everything spirals out of control very quickly. All he wants a quiet life with his daughter, but unfortunately, he has to deal with all of the issues started by this simple experience.
Single Parent: Vanessa Hudgens as Agnes ‘Apple’ Bailey, Rosario Dawson as June Bailey
Vanessa Hudgens acts her butt off in this movie, focused on the real-life experience of a young woman who runs away from her abusive mother and lives on the street for some time. She eventually stays with her father, only to be shunned because she was pregnant. She finally finds peace and solace at a shelter that allows her to grow and focus on the future.
Single Parent: Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor
As a young child, I watched Terminator and really tried to figure out what it was all about. I could only clearly remember Arnold Schwarzenegger being a scary robotic machine there to kill a young boy. That in itself freaked me out. As an adult, the concept is pretty interesting, though, and filled with the action sequences that I have grown to love about the Terminator movies. Sarah Connor, soon to be the mother of the future leader of human rebels against cyborgs, is under attack by a cyborg sent from the future to kill her before giving her birth to her son. Someone else is also sent from the future to protect her, no matter the cost. It leaves for a high-action, riveting experience. If you haven’t seen the Terminator, you may want to take advantage of watching it on Netflix before it’s gone!
Single Parent: Julianne Moore as Margaret White
It’s hard to imagine that Carrie could have a remake, or as it has been called, a “reimagining” – the original is a classic! Julianne Moore was phenomenal as the over-religious single mother that relentlessly abuses Carrie with the guise of keeping her protected and sheltered from the outside world. The story goes pretty much the same as the 1976 version, except for the infamous prom scene. Whereas the original was scary, gory, and downright brutal – they seemed to soften it a bit in the new version. But in its own right, the new Carrie was pretty good. You should definitely check it out.
Single Parent: Vera Farmiga as Norma Louise Bates
Have you ever wondered what was going on in the mind of Norman Bates, the killer in Psycho? Then, take a look at his teenage years by watching the Bates Motel. This is where it all started, and I’m enjoying every moment of it. His mom, Norma Bates, is working as hard as she can to provide a loving household for Norman; however, there are some quite twisted moments too, but what do you expect of the prequel of Psycho.
Single Parent: Paul Walker as Nolan Hayes
After Nolan loses his wife during childbirth, he struggles to keep his newborn daughter alive in an evacuated hospital during Hurricane Katrina. This is the simple description about the movie, but there is nothing simple about the movie. A dark and touching tale of grief, loss, and survival, this movie is definitely worth watching to witness a father’s love. Although he started off looking at the baby as some alien that took his loving wife away, he then functioned without thought to keep his baby alive. And in the end, it was beautiful to watch them both survive.
Single Parent: Minnie Driver as Macy Jean
A couple of months ago, I read an article all about this movie from the perspective of Nate Parker’s wife (he is one of the main characters in the movie). His wife talked about how she was so affected watching her husband fall in love with another woman on screen. I must admit, it would be really affected too if he was my husband. This movie is a great love story, but most importantly, a “coming into yourself” story – it symbolizes having it all and losing yourself in the process. Minnie Driver (Macy Jean) plays the mother of Noni, a British female R&B singer of mixed race parents. Noni’s entire life has been focused on getting to the point of success, and her mother was there every step of the way pushing her beyond her limits and focusing on success rather than happiness. When Noni meets Nate Parker’s character (Kaz), things change as she sees the potential of a happy life outside of the limelight. It’s definitely a great movie, and one you should check out not only to watch Minnie Driver being a single mom, but also because the movie has a happy ending, even though you don’t expect it to turn out that way.
Single Parent: Angelina Jolie as Christine Collins
It’s a fear that I have had since giving birth – what if my son is kidnapped? That is death personified for any mother. In the case of Changeling, this is exactly what happens…but with a bit of a twist. Christine’s son is kidnapped, but luckily the police were able to find him and return him back home. But wait a second, it’s not her child! You spend the better part of the movie trying to figure out if she’s just crazy, but with all of the proof that she provides and the fact that the police keep pushing this kid that they obviously know is not hers, I’m really starting to believe her story. It’s a sad, yet twisted tale, but one that is really interesting. You don’t know what to expect every step of the way. The worst part – it’s based on true events.
Single Parent: Jennifer Lopez as Marisa Ventura
A really cute romantic drama focused on single mom Marisa Ventura who works as a chambermaid at a posh hotel. She meets a senatorial candidate who is a guest at the hotel, and he assumes that she is also a guest. They end up falling for each other, even after continuous resistance from Marisa and extensive pushing from her colleagues. It’s a cute movie, and definitely one you should check out if you have the time.
Single Parent: Kate Winslet as Adele
Kate Winslet plays a depressed mother, whose husband leaves her when she couldn’t bear a single child. Living alone with her son is difficult but she is able to push forward because her son. She ends up mother’s husband has left her for she could not bear a second child. She has an unlikely meeting with an injured escaped convict, and reluctantly takes him into her own care. The man proves to be better than his criminal image as the three bond over Labor Day weekend. The only problem? Everyone in town is looking for him.
Single Parent: Lauren Graham as Lorelai Gilmore
I loved watching Gilmore Girls! I don’t know many people that have watched the show, and didn’t enjoy the continuous banter and the lovely relationship between a fiercely independent single mom Lorelai and her gifted, Ivy League-bound daughter Rory. Lorelai had Rory when she was just a teenager, and now that Rory is a teenager, they have a very close relationship and many times they are mistaken for sisters. Between Lorelai’s relationship with her parents, Rory’s new prep school, and both of their romantic entanglements, there’s plenty of drama to go around.
Single Parent: Jean-Luc Bilodeau as Ben Wheeler
Ben becomes a surprise dad to a baby girl when she’s left on his doorstep by an ex-girlfriend. Ben decides to raise the baby with the help of his mother, his brother Danny, his friend Tucker and Riley the girl who is harboring a secret crush on him. This show emphasizes the point that it really takes a village to raise a child, even in the most extreme circumstances. The show is funny, silly, and it’s great to see a single dad featured!
Single Parent: James Caan as Tim Lockwood
After losing his wife, Tim has raised Flint on his own. He doesn’t really understand Flint, and most of the 1st Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs movie was spent with him resisting all of the inventive ideas that Flint has created. Now, in part 2, it’s a bit different. He’s supportive of Flint’s ideas and even helps him to clean up his mess after his most infamous machine goes haywire and starts creating menacing food-animal hybrids. It’s a cute and funny movie watching Flint’s adventures with his friends.
Single Parent: Ben Affleck as Ollie Trinke
During the time of Bennifer (Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez), they made a few movies together. Most of them were a bust, but Jersey Girl is one of the few that was actually really interesting and worth watching. Ollie has a good life with his wife and daughter and a thriving career as a Manhattan music publicist. Without any warning, he suddenly finds himself a single father after his wife dies, and loses his job. Ollie decides to move back in his with his father in the New Jersey suburbs where he himself was raised. With the help of a beautiful young friend who opens him up to love again, and a daughter who gives him the courage to keep going, he begins to realize that sometimes, you have to forget about what you thought you were and just accept who you are.
Single Parent: Julie Ormond as Joanna Beauchamp
Centers on the adventures of a single mother and her two adult daughters, both of whom unknowingly are their family’s next generation of witches, who lead seemingly quiet, uneventful modern day lives in Long Island’s secluded seaside town of North Hampton. When one of the daughters becomes engaged to a young, wealthy newcomer, a series of events forces this single mother to admit to her daughters they are, in fact, powerful and immortal witches.
Single Parent: Mireille Enos as Sarah Linden
The show is a dark and intense crime drama series, focused around Sarah Linden, a Seattle homicide detective, and her partner Stephen Holder. But within the show is also a single mom’s journey through raising her teenage son, mental illness, and dealing with being neglected and abandoned as a child. Throughout the show, you learn the extent of her turmoil, and all along she has to be focused and driven on her job and trying to keep her relationship together.
Single Parent: Renee Zellweger as Dorothy Boyd
Jerry Maguire is a top sports agent, and unquestionably is really good at it. The only problem is that his mind, mouth and soul are usually on automatic pilot. He’s good at friendship, but (as his numerous ex-girlfriends testify) bad at intimacy. Due to his actions, he loses his job, which was a part of his identity, and has to start from scratch and forge a path of his own. He’s joined on his journey to redemption by two unlikely allies: Rod Tidwell, a second-tier wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals (who ends up being his one and only client); and Dorothy Boyd, a single mother who leaves her accounting job to follow Jerry on his new journey. Slowly but surely, Dorothy and Jerry come together and build an unexpected lasting relationship. I’m sure you’ve heard a lot of people talk about this movie – if you haven’t seen it, make sure to check it out.
Single Parent:Ty Burrell as Mr. Peabody
Yes, it’s the story about a boy, Sherman and a dog, Mr. Peabody, but with a slight twist. Mr. Peabody, the most accomplished dog in the world, is the boy’s father! Mr. Peabody has a time machine – the WABAC – and him and Sherman go on some wacky adventures into the past. Sherman, trying to impress a girl, Penny (who bullied him due to him showing her up in class), decides to travel in time with her in the WABAC, and there starts a great and busy story. It’s definitely a great story and filled with educational moments, father-son love, allowing your child to grow up, what kids will do when they like each other, and much more.
Single Parent: Adam Sandler as Sonny Koufax
Okay, so he’s not the best example of a parent, but it’s a really good movie nonetheless. Sonny is a complete slob who enjoys living the carefree life. However, with every one around him getting married and his girlfriend breaking up with him because he won’t grow up, Sonny realizes that he has to do something before he loses everyone and everything around him. At the same time, a little boy named Julian appears at his doorstep, and turns out to be his roommate’s child. Sonny sees this as an opportunity to show that he can be an adult and handle adult responsibilities. He then pretends to be his roommate and takes care of Julian, but the authorities finds out who he is and decides to take Julian back. But Sonny realizes how much he has grown to love the child, and wants to take on Julian full time. However, in time, he learns that he has to let Julian go, and let his roommate take the responsibility of raising the child.
Single Parent: Lucas Neff as Jimmy Chance
Strange premise, but great show! After Jimmy suddenly finds himself a father after a one-night stand with a murderer and her going on death row, his crazy family steps in to help him to raise little Hope. Another show focused on a single father and the concept of it taking a village to raise a child, the show is a great example of how you do everything you need to do when you have to raise a child.
Single Parent: Lindsay Pulsipher as JoLynn
With her husband away indefinitely, a young mother struggles to nurture her son in the face of poverty, isolation and incarceration. FLUTTER explores the truest love on earth-the love of a mother and child.
Single Parent: Justina Machado as Penelope Alvarez
Loosely based on the 1970s show of the same name, One Day at a Time is a joy to watch. Focused on three generations of a Cuban-American family going through daily family issues, the show will make you laugh, cry, smile, and you’ll find yourself relating to the family. Penelope Alvarez is recently-separated from the military and is living with her mom and her children in Los Angeles. She’s still navigating the waters of single parenthood, and at times, she’s struggling through it and other times, she’s excelling.
Can you think of any other movies or shows on Netflix that features single parents? Share them in the comments below, and I’ll add them to the list!