Don’t let these 3 May 2024 hidden streaming movie gems fly under your radar

A woman rides a bike in Notes on a Scandal.
Searchlight Pictures
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

May is the last month of spring before the summer season officially kicks in. It’s also the month when many countries celebrate Mother’s Day, a special holiday for you to tell the woman who gave you life how much you love her and how sorry you are for everything you’ve ever done that’s made her cry.

To celebrate this remarkable month, you might want to check out these underrated streaming gems that will go hand in hand with the vibe of these 31 days. From movies about self-sacrificing mothers to movies about actresses mothering to even a few featuring women who should’ve never been mothers, these underappreciated efforts are among the best movies on Netflix, Amazon, and other services, not to mention perfect options to watch throughout the month.

Tully (2018)

Charlize Theron as a pregnant Marlo sitting on a chair and looking intently at someone off-camera in Tully.
Image via Focus Features

The partnership between director Jason Reitman and Oscar winners Charlize Theron and Diablo Cody produced two of the best dramedies from the 2010s. The best is 2018’s Tully, which sees Theron as Marlo, an overworked mother of two pregnant with an unplanned third child. To ease the hardship, her brother hires a nighttime nanny, Tully (Mackenzie Davis), and the two women bond over time.

Tully is a poignant, clever, and remarkably insightful look at the stresses of motherhood. The film depicts the difficulties that come with being a mother, and is unafraid to portray the joys and low points of the experience with earnest wit. It never demonizes nor simplifies the experience, and instead offers a new take through humor and honesty. At the center of it all is an outstanding Theron, who brings genuine depth, vulnerability, and reliability to the role. Tully is among the best comedies on Netflix right now, a tender depiction of parenthood that is as revealing as it is heartwarming.

Tully is available to stream on Netflix.

Stella Dallas (1937)

Barbara Stanwyck as Stella Dallas pulling her hair up in Stella Dallas.
Image via United Artists

The mighty Barbara Stanwyck plays cinema’s most self-sacrificing mother in the 1937 melodrama Stella Dallas. Based on the 1923 novel and directed by King Vidor, Stella Dallas follows the titular character, a working-class woman who marries a wealthy man and has a baby, Laurel; however, the couple soon separates, leaving Stella to care for their daughter. As Laurel grows, Stella begins to realize just how far she’ll go to ensure her daughter’s happiness.

Stella Dallas is an ode to selfless maternal love. Its ideas about what said love should entail are ridiculously outdated, which does hurt its premise a bit. Stanwyck is simply too good in the role, making up for the movie’s old-fashioned tropes and considerably elevating the material. Thus, what remains is a classic melodrama about a woman’s drive to succeed and her unflinching devotion to her daughter, who, contrary to other films with similar premises, is actually quite devoted to her mother. Come for the premise, stay for Stanwyck’s all-timer of a performance.

Stella Dallas is available to stream on Pluto TV.


Barbara holding Sheba by the collar in Notes on a Scandal.
Image via Fox Searchlight Pictures

If you want to talk about mothers, you talk about Notes on a Scandal. Richard Eyre’s psychological drama stars Oscar winner Judi Dench as Barbara Covett, a solitary and bitter history teacher who develops a friendship with the new art instructor Sheba Hart (Cate Blanchett). As Barbara’s behavior becomes increasingly obsessive, she discovers Sheba’s sexual relationship with one of her 15-year-old students, turning their already complicated dynamic into one of blackmail and psychological codependency.

Dench and Blanchett are at the top of their game in this wicked drama, delivering Oscar-worthy performances and crafting a unique bond that is as unsettling as it’s mesmerizing. The two have a mother-off for the ages, devouring the screen and their co-stars with delightfully deranged gusto. Part adult drama, part psycho-biddy thriller, Notes on a Scandal is largely meant to be a showcase of its talented leads, and it passes with flying colors. It’s one of the best movies on Max right now and a must-watch for any self-respecting movie fan.

Notes on a Scandal is available to stream on Max.