Best Movie Moms

Mothers are incredible creatures, that’s a given. From your own to those of a fictional existence, all of the moms of the world each play a critical role in the story of our lives, or in the tales of our favorite pieces of media. They inspire the hero, teach them the fundamental building blocks of life, and energize them to continue on their own personal journeys – all the while being their own special brand of magical, smart individuals (or being terrifying villains of the horror sort, but that’s for another list.)

So with a certain mother themed holiday having just passed, along with the momma-positive flicks Life of the Party and Breaking In now in theaters, it is definitely time to celebrate some of the best moms in cinematic history. There will be some obvious choices for sure, but there are also some underrated ladies that need their moment to shine. Whether you would put them on your own list, or choose a different movie mom to recognize, there is no denying the importance these women have within their stories, and for the legacy of moms on film as a whole. So grab your bouquet of flowers – its time to pay the 10 best movie moms some respect!

Mildred from Mildred Pierce

The 1946 Academy Awards will always go down in history not as the night The Best Years of Our Lives swept most of the major categories, but rather as the ceremony in which a “sick at home” Joan Crawford took the prize as that year’s Best Actress winner. Yet you might be wondering (considering her competition that year) did she deserve such praise? Well, if you have ever watched Mildred Pierce, then you know that answer quite well.

The character of Mildred (created by author James M. Cain) is a down on her luck woman that, no matter what she tries to do, seems to sink further and further down a rabbit hole of drama. From her troubled relationship with her ex-husband and other lovers, to the tragic misfortune that falls upon her family, Mildred is quite a fighter, no matter how many ridiculous antics are thrown her way.

But it is her dramatic relationship with her oldest daughter, Veda (Ann Blyth) that cements her place in movie mom history. Why? Because if you had to raise and try to deal with that troublemaker of a young lady, then you are one heck of a mom – even if the end results aren’t as perfect as one would hope. And if you can look as fabulous as Joan Crawford while doing it, then you are a true superhero of a mother.

 

Lucy Emerson from Lost Boys

Some moms have to battle the rebellious nature of their children, while others have to try and protect their kids from nature itself. But what does Lucy have to do? Attempt to adjust her boys to moving after her divorce, trying to get back into the swing of dating, and also defeat punk-rock vampires. You know, the usual.

Dianne Wiest might be one of the most underrated actresses of her generation, especially when you look at the collection of amazing cult-movie moms she’s played over the years. But when push comes to cinematic shove, Lucy stands above the rest, simply because of all the insanity she has to go through to get her unconventional happy ending. Yeah, she might have not realized right away that she was dating an actual (non-Twilight romantic) vampire, but her willingness to do anything and everything to protect her kids from her new boyfriend is commendable.

When you combine all that, plus her awesome fashion sense, humor, and willingness to deal with all of the over-the-top men in her life (along with their strange choice in home decor – have you seen that erotic Rob Lowe poster?), then it is quite clear that Lucy Emerson is one MVP of Momdom.

Annie from The First Wives Club

Though at first a bit of a doormat, Annie from The First Wives Club ends up becoming one mom you don’t want to mess with. Sure, her tiny circle glasses and perfectly 90s bangs may full you into thinking she’s just another mousy individual – but underneath all of that, this is a business-savvy, smart, glamorous woman – who just also happens to be a wonderful, pasta making, supportive momma.

Annie makes it onto this list for not only being a superhero to those who have been screwed over by their ex-husbands, but she also represents a shift in culture – where mothers of the 90’s were having to make the choice of accepting their kid for who they were or facing the consequences. Annie decides to take the positive route in this case, and unconditionally (in the 90s comedy way) love her lesbian daughter with open arms – even going as far as entering a gay nightclub without hesitation.

Sure, the outcome of First Wives Club might end in a fluffy, fairy tale musical number – but Annie’s story of both accepting the differences of her friends and daughter, and proving that women in her situation can stand on their own two feet, proves she’s a force to be reckoned with. And if that doesn’t do it, her awesome cover of “You Don’t Own Me” will.

The Moms of The Joy Luck Club

The Joy Luck Club is a film that represents many things to me: the importance of your origin, the incredible bond between mothers and their daughters, and most importantly, the discovery of finding your own identity from out of your parents shadow – even if their own life journey might parallel yours in the most mysterious of ways.

Standing as one of the only American produced films to showcase an almost completely Asian-American cast, The Joy Luck Club features so many dynamite women at its core, it is impossible to pick one as the best mother from the bunch. They all bring something unique and important to the Mah Jong table. An-Mei’s story of knowing your own worth, Ying-Ying’s tale of the losing your spirit, Lindo’s lessons of retaining your strength – all of their stories (along with their daughter’s) matter.

And though I (as an Irish-American individual) might not understand the struggles of the characters exactly, the brilliance of this movie and these mothers is that you don’t need to be Chinese to grasp the emotions of their journeys. And regardless of how many times I (and my own mother) watch this movie, the lessons that The Joy Luck Club members teach us as an audience never goes away – making them a team that definitely needed a spot on this list.

Bambi’s Mom from Bambi

I think it would be a crime among crimes for me to not include this animated beauty on the list. Not only is she a representation of some of Walt Disney’s greatest animated works, but Bambi’s mom also stands as a pillar of pop culture. She embodies that attachment that children (regardless of their origin) have with their mother, and the sad reality that some face of losing them at a young age.

But even before “that moment” comes into play, Bambi’s mom shows the kind of warmth and affection that would embody what many children believed their mothers to be like with them. Couple that with her graceful touches, willingness to show Bambi all that is good and bad about the forest, and the interesting relationship between her and The Prince of the Forest, and you have have a recipe for the “perfect” emotional reaction.

And much like The Lion King earns the unfortunate pay-off of killing their hero’s father, Bambi does as well – so much that some consider this animated classic to be a true horror film for that scene alone. Yet in my opinion, the passing of this wonderful motherly figure is more an example of brilliant filmmaking- the kind that many might not have guessed Walt Disney could pull off in 1942. So we’ll always love you, Bambi’s mom, even if you have brought audiences to tears for almost 80 years.

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