Moms are far more important than they get credit for. We often neglect them due to the daily interaction that seems like a grind while growing up. It isn’t until becoming adults that we realize how amazing moms are. With Mother’s Day just around the corner, I wanted to celebrate my Top 10 Movie Moms in cinema history. These amazing women are not as cool as my mom, or yours either. Still, they’re pretty cool.
10. “Home Alone” – Kate McCallister (1990)
I know what you’re thinking. Rushing out of her house for a christmas vacation with her huge family, this mom left her son Kevin behind and does not realize it until the plane is in the air. That’s not the best mom move ever. But, the second she realizes her mistake, Kate McCallister (Catherine O’Hara) turns the world upside down to get back to her son by christmas morning. Add in the fact that she has raised a son witty enough to out smart burglars trying to break into their house, that’s a hell of a mom.
9. “My Left Foot” – Mrs. Brown (1989)
Legendary actor Daniel Day-Lewis won his first Oscar as Christy Brown, a man burdened with cerebral palsy from birth. Brown fought every day of his life, eventually becoming a world-renowned artist. He did this by painting with the one limb he could control, his left foot. Based on a true story, “My Left Foot” is an inspiration of the human spirit. Brown’s family and community give up on the cripple. The one person who believes in him is his mother. Brenda Fricker won an Oscar for her humanist portrayal of a mother who never gives up on her son, no matter how “flawed” he is. The true sign of a mother’s love.
8. “Kramer vs. Kramer” – Joanna Kramer (1979)
On the surface, Joanna Kramer (Meryl Streep) seems like a bad mother. She abandoned her husband and young child for years, then suddenly comes back into their lives demanding custody of young Billy. This is a very selfish move, but it is also Joanna’s way of coming to terms with being an adult. Her relationship with her husband Ted (Dustin Hoffman) is unfixable. Does she deserve the right to raise her son again? That is a tough question. Yet, even if she is late to the party, at least Joanna is trying to be the good mother every child deserves.
7. “A Separation” – Simin (2011)
Another film about a broken married couple, “A Separation” deals with complexed decisions two people must make while living in a dysfunctional Iranian society. Simin (Leila Hatami) wants to move to another country to improve the life of her daughter Termeh (Sarina Farhadi). Her husband Nader (Payman Maadi) refuses to leave because his father is deathly ill and wants to take care of him. Several complications come up, but at no point does Simin loose sight of the hope that her daughter must have a better life than she did. She is a mother that will lose everything for her child.
6. “Jerry Maguire” – Dorothy Boyd (1996)
“Jerry Maguire” is a classic romance story. What makes it so special is the fact that our leading man Jerry (Tom Cruise) is not going after some untouchable princess. He falls for Dorothy Boyd (Renee Zellweger), a single mom doing everything she can to raise her enigmatic son Ray (Jonathan Lipnicki). Dorothy is desperate to find love and a solid career, but her number one priority is always this little boy and how he will become a man.
5. “Pan’s Labyrinth” – Carmen (2006)
Often referred to as a fantasy film for adults, “Pan’s Labyrinth” has cemented itself as a classic. It combines the harsh reality of surviving the fascist Spanish government during WWII with the vast imagination of a young girl who believes she is a princess. Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) is a strong girl who despises her mother’s choice to marry a sadistic Spanish army officer. This leads Ofelia to create a world where she is a lost princess in order to escape reality. Perhaps this fantastical world is real, perhaps it’s all in her head. What Ofelia does not realize is that her mother Carmen (Ariadna Gil) has made the decision to sacrifice happiness in order to protect them. Carmen marries a monster, and is pregnant with his child. In war time, a monster can keep you and your child safe. That is a true sacrifice for a mother.
4. “Philomena” – Philomena (2013)
“Philomena” touches on many complicated issues, mainly the dark side of the Catholic church. What makes it human is this is a story of a mother desperate to reconnect with the son that was ripped from her arms over 40 years earlier. Based on a true story, “Philomela” is about a washed up journalist (Steve Coogan) who stumbles upon one of the greatest human interest stories ever. Judi Dench plays Philomena, a woman who has spent decades searching for the son who was taken away from her by the church decades earlier. She has no idea who her son is. That does not matter. Philomena is desperate to connect with her child.
3. “Forrest Gump” – Mrs. Gump (1994)
“Momma always said, life is like a box of chocolates…” An iconic American movie character, Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks) is an unintelligent man that finds himself in extraordinary situations. He is able to survive so many struggles because of his momma. Sally Field embodies a mother who refuses to give up on her son. From sleeping with the school principal to get Forrest into public school (plenty of moms have slept around for far less), to getting sponsors for Forrest’s ping-pong career after the Vietnam war, at no point does Mrs. Gump stop thinking of her son first.
2. “Boyhood” – Mom (2014)
We all know the legend of “Boyhood”. Filmed over 12 years, showing the actors age/grow-up. What was the glue that kept the story together? That would be Patricia Arquette‘s Oscar winning performance as mom. She has two children from an absent father (Ethan Hawke) younger in life. Then she proceeds to date/marry an abusive alcoholic, followed by a sad ex-military alcoholic. Her choices in men are not perfect. However, she always puts her children above all. A flawed adult just like the rest of us. Also an invaluably great mother.
1. “The Terminator/Terminator 2” – Sarah Conner (1984/1991)