We’ve saluted our favourite mothers from 90s TV, so now, let’s talk about our favourite mothers from the movies.
Mrs. Gump, Forrest Gump
Played by Sally Field, Mrs. Gump gives young Forrest his moral core. She makes sure he stands up for himself, works hard, treats people kindly, doesn’t feel sorry for himself, and does the right thing. And of course, without her, we wouldn’t know that life is like a box of chocolates.
Carolyn Carmichael, Crooklyn
Nine-year-old Troy is the protagonist in Crooklyn, but the moral centre of the movie is tough-as-nails Carolyn, played by Alfre Woodard. While the kids play street games and her husband struggles to make a career out of music, Carolyn holds the family together and imposes her own brand of loving order on the household.
Morticia Addams, The Addams Family
As weird as the various Addams family members were, they are actually a very loving and accepting family. They care about each other’s interests, spend lots of time together, and celebrate each other’s triumphs. And at the centre of their family is Morticia. She has a rich romantic relationship with her husband, is intimately involved in her children’s lives, and holds her extended family together. Oh, and she’s wonderfully played by Anjelica Huston.
Marcela Quintanilla, Selena
Selena’s mom is all kinds of cool. She teaches Selena to dance, comforts her when she’s stressed out, and lets her wear the coolest sparkly top. And of course, the fact that this is a real person adds something extra.
Beatrice Henderson, Mother
The amazing Debbie Reynolds stars as the mother of a neurotic, divorced sci-fi writer who moves back home in an effort to try and stall his downward spiral. Reynolds is a wonderfully droll foil to her son, played by Albert Brooks. It doesn’t matter how old you get—your mother doesn’t stop being your mother.
Julia Biggs, The Preacher’s Wife
Whitney Huston plays Julia, the titular preacher’s wife, in this film about an angel coming to earth to help the pastor of a struggling church regain his faith and reconnect with his family. Julia, a former jazz singer, dominates the film’s many set pieces as the star of the church gospel choir—though it’s a domineering choir member, Mrs. Havergal, who steals many scenes. Bonus Mother’s Day goodness: Mrs. Havergal is played by Cissy Huston, Whitney’s real-life mother.
Miss Jennifer Honey, Matilda
Miss Honey doesn’t start out as Matilda’s mom. She’s her warm, devoted teacher who celebrates Matilda’s reading prowess and inspires her to believe in herself. But she adopts Matilda by the end of the movie, so she’s as much a mom as anyone else on this list.
Marge Gunderson, Fargo
People forget, but Marge Gunderson is pregnant for the entirety of Fargo. She figures out that Jerry Lundegaard is a liar, tracks down the kidnappers, and arrests the fleeing suspect all while with child. Oh, and she throws out a hilarious line about a woodchipper being an accomplice too. See, kid? Mom is tough and funny.
Lindo Jong, Ying-Ying St. Clair, An-Mei Hsu, & Suyuan Woo, The Joy Luck Club
Has there been a better movie made about the strength of mother-daughter bonds? And all the mothers in this story have such amazing backstories. Whether it’s Lindo’s tough arranged marriage, Ying-Ying’s unresolved mental illness, An-Mei’s childhood where her mother was Fourth Wife, or Suyuan’s escape during World War II, each of the stories is deeply moving and nuanced in a way we wish was more common in movies.