Pop Culture

10 Movies That Look Totally Different Now That You’re A Parent

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There is a certain genre of story specifically designed to make all viewers, regardless of age or gender, empathize with mothers. Sophie’s Choice, The Impossible, The Lovely Bones, Beloved, Beaches — this kind of tearjerker nearly scared me away from motherhood for good. I couldn’t imagine standing the pain. I got over it, mostly. And now that I actually am a mother, I am determined never to watch another of those; life’s too short (and movie-watching time is too precious) for that kind of masochism. But I’ve realized that there are other movies I’m seeing in an entirely new light these days.

Movies I loved in childhood, from The Little Mermaid to Back to the Future to Crooklyn, take on a whole new meaning once you start identifying with the parents instead of the kids. Shakespeare probably wasn’t thinking much about Signoras Capulet and Montague when he wrote Romeo and Juliet, but these classic tales and modern teen romps are suddenly horror films, minefields of fears I’d never thought of before (because I really needed more of those). There are some flicks I’ll never see the same way again.


1. The Fault in Our Stars

All the teen girls in the multiplexes are sobbing over the star-crossed love story of cancer patients Hazel and Gus — just like I was back when I read the book, pre-child. But now, just mention the idea of having a kid with terminal cancer, and I might break down in hysterics. Here, I’m going to make you cry on the spot: “I won’t be a mom anymore.”


2. Crooklyn

In Spike Lee‘s most adorable movie (I know, right?), we’re probably supposed to identify with 9-year-old Troy, the only girl in a family with four brothers, a struggling musician father and a strict teacher mother (Alfre Woodard) living in brownstone Brooklyn in the ’70s. As a mom, though, I can absolutely understand why Woodard goes H.A.M. on her kids at 4 in the morning for not cleaning the kitchen.


3. Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead

Way back when, this was a fun comedy about Christina Applegate being a plucky teen who can impersonate an adult in the fashion world. Today, it’s a horror movie. Are we supposed to be screening our babysitters for health conditions? No one warned me that was a thing!


4. Back to the Future

Forget time travel, this is the movie that showed me that high school boys are the worst, no matter the decade. Crushing on a high school boy that might possibly be my future son? Grossgrossgross.


5. Romeo and Juliet

Some say it’s the quintessential tragic love story. I see this as the ultimate cautionary tale about letting our kids date too early. (See also: West Side Story.)


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