Five offbeat movie mamas who make us proud

Maybe it's just me (oh man, I really hope it's not just me), but some of my favorite parenting inspirations come straight from the movies. I thought it was high-time Offbeat Mama paid tribute to our cinematic (and fictional, for the most part) soul sisters, so here are a few of my favorites:

Rachel Flax, Mermaids: Have you SEEN the utter BRILLIANCE that is Mermaids? It came out in 1990, but I didn't see it until I was in high school and my best friend was nursing a serious girl-crush on Winona Ryder. Winona plays Charlotte Flax, the daughter of Rachel, who is infamously played by the ever-so-fabulous Cher. The basic premise is that Rachel and her daughters have recently moved to a small-town in Massachusetts, and Charlotte is going through a particularly religious, I'm-going-to-be-a-nun phase. Even though she and her family are Jewish, Charlotte changes her religious preference quite often, to the point where Rachel utters the sentence "Alright, you know what? I'll make you a deal. You stop being a little bitch for, let's say, oh, I don't know, an hour or two, and I won't knock the religion of your choice for a week," thus sealing her as the queen of my heart. Bonus: little sister Kate is played by a very adorable, very young Christina Ricci!

Elaine Miller, Almost Famous: Warning — if you've ever been into Almost Famous, you might spend the rest of your day quoting the movie after this. There was a period that overlapped high school and my first three years of college in which I was constantly quoting Almost Famous and pretending to be Penny Lane. (Honestly, it still happens now.) When I wasn't hung up on the Penny-Russell drama and how they were so meant to be, O-M-G, I was also screeching "ROCK STARS HAVE KIDNAPPED MY SON" at anyone who who screech it back. Elaine Miller, the widowed mother of two who only let her kids celebrate Christmas "on a day in September" had her not-so-great moments (banning Simon and Garfunkel? Because they smoke weed? C'mon, Elaine. "Simon and Garfunkel is POETRY."), but she was, and is, still an epic example in the field of movie mamas.

Mary, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial: E.T. is one of my favorite movies of all time, and Elliot's mother Mary is easily one of the most badass movie mamas ever. Not only is she holding her family of four (Elliot, brother Mike, sister Gertie) together after being left by her ex-husband, she also copes somewhat well upon learning that her son has not only found, but befriended in a really magical and/or symbiotic kind of way, an alien creature. Plus, who do you think taught Elliot how to be so nice and gentle with E.T. (and likely other creatures) in the first place? While I personally find E.T. and all of his idiosyncrasies to be quite charming and adorable, I can totally get that most people might not.

Molly Weasley, Harry Potter 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, etc etc): Molly Weasley is a total badass, and not only for five incredibly infamous words she utters in the book version of Deathly Hallows (Bellatrix totally had it coming). She's given birth to and raised nine SEVEN (what was I thinking?! For shame!) incredible kids, even Percy, even though he takes forever to finally come around. She's also a bit of an enigma — while the movies don't always show it, the books are littered with hints that Mrs. Weasley has a whole lot more than hand-made Christmas sweaters and really awesome house-cleaning spells up her sleeve, and she often demonstrates this when you least expect it.

Key, Children of Men: Key is the LAST PREGNANT WOMAN ON THE PLANET. If you haven't seen Children of Men (why haven't you seen Children of Men?! It's directed by Alfonso CuarΓ³n! That's reason enough.), here's a small breakdown: It's 2027, human beings have lost the ability to create babies, and a former activist is approached by his ex-wife to help the only pregnant woman in the world get to a boat where she'll be able to live and raise her child. The birth scene (which I was unable to find online) is incredibly epic, and completely worth watching the entire film if not just for it alone.

Tell me, tell me! Who are your big (and small) screen favorite moms?

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  1. Sorry to kind of kill some of the joy for Molly Weasley, but unless two of the kids were very rarely talked about and/or I am really blanking on it, she only had 7 kids. Although Fred and George gave her enough grief to make up for it.

    2 agree
    • I just assumed she included Harry and Hermione in with her kids, since, in a sense, she helped raise both of them; especially Harry.

      1 agrees
    • OMGGGGG! I think I was thinking that there are 9 of them in the family. When I was pregnant Sean and I always joked about having a family of nine so we could be like the Weasleys, so I think that was what I meant. Yes.

      1 agrees
      • In that case I wholeheartedly agree! Or with the suggestion of including Harry and Hermione. You also make me want to watch Mermaids, so thanks!

        1 agrees
  2. an odd one but I still love her resilience, Mrs Banks in Mary Poppins, singing

    "Our daughters' daughters will adore us, and they'll sing in grateful chorus

    'Well done, Sister Suffragette!' "

    3 agree
    • I had completely forgotten about that song! I just had to watch it on YouTube three or four times. πŸ˜€

      1 agrees
  3. Okay, I don't know much about her parenting skills, but what about Catherine Keener's character (Maxine Lund) in Being John Malkovich? She seduces John Cusack's character while he is embodying John Malkovich so that she can get pregnant with a daughter whom she raises with her partner, Lotte Schwartz (played by Cameron Diaz). Talk about non-traditional family!

  4. Yeah that is true dude. 7. Bill, Charlie, Percy, twins Fred and George, Ron and Ginny

  5. Alice in "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore". Bad ass suddenly single mom chasing her dreams. Ellen Burstin, directed by Scorsese (in the 70's). Classic with a rockin sound track (and a super studly Kris Kristofferson(sp?)

    3 agree
  6. Sarah Connor from Terminator and Terminator 2. In a heartbeat. I find her an amazingly powerful mother character.

    Also, Ripley in Aliens. Not technically a mother, but there's that classic line…. πŸ˜€

    4 agree
    • Sarah Connor- Oh hellz yeah!

      It's been a long time since I saw Aliens, but I believe Ripley did have a daughter who she outlived because of cryogenic freezing or something. So then little girl Newt becomes a surrogate daughter to her. Also, did you know that the character of Ripley was originally supposed to be a man but was changed in a last minute rewrite? High-fives to the writer who made that decision!

      1 agrees
  7. It probably counts as a Big Screen Mum, but only if we bend the rules a little bit: Marge Gunderson from Fargo.

    Easily one of the best films ever, and easily one of the best women on screen ever. She is great at her job, a great wife to Norm, a great detective, desirable, strong, smart and funny, and she does all that while 7 months pregnant.

    You know, you just KNOW she'll be an awesome mother

    2 agree
    • I just saw the entire movie for the first time a couple of weeks ago and I totally agree!

  8. Molly Weasley is my role model!!

    I also love Joyce Summers on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She rolls with the punches and keeps her sense of humor intact.

    2 agree
  9. My favorite mom is Mrs. Parker from a Christmas Story she is the queen of mothering, although not so offbeat. But my favorite offbeat mom is Brenda MacGuff in Juno she is bad ass and isn't gonna take an shit from anybody! Also she knows how to sew and that is a great momma skill… Hello awesome 500 dollar prom dress… BAM! Mom made it for $50! (also Allison Janney's character Loretta in Drop Dead Gorgeous is also the shiz. She is like a second mom to Amber and not only is she hilarious but she only has Amber's best interests at heart.)

    1 agrees
      • TOTALLY Brenda from Juno!!! She's got my vote! I love when she tells off the ultrasound tech and when she scream, "we need a spinal tap!" She takes everything Juno throws at her in stride.

        1 agrees
  10. Umm girls, Marge Simpson FTW? Her family is totally nuts, her husband's an idiot and she just gets on with shit 'cos hey, that's what we girls do. She's my freakin hero!

    1 agrees
  11. Carole Hudson (Finn's mom) on Glee! Raised a kid on her own, went after happiness with a single dad, and (small spoiler if you're behind this season) sacrificed her honeymoon so her new stepson could go to the private school he needed.

    Also, Burt Hummel (Curt's dad) get's a big nod as an excellent on-screen offbeat papa.

    1 agrees
  12. This is going to sound lame but, I've always thought Kala (the gorilla mom in the animated Tarzan movie) to be an awesome mom.

    1 agrees
  13. The mom from Easy A. I love both parents easy, laid back, parenting vibe.

    17 agree
    • She gets my vote too. I think every time she had a scene I said I wanted to be just like her when our kid/s are older.

      1 agrees
    • That whole family is the epitome of awesome!

      "I don't think that matters since I'm adopted." "WHO TOLD YOU!"

      4 agree
  14. Personal favorite "Off-beat Mom" would HAVE to be……. *SPOILER*

    Beatrix Kiddo from Kill Bill

    8 agree
  15. Okay technically not a mom but Auntie Em from "Wizard of Oz". She was a tough cookie, raising the dreamer Dorothy and working on the farm beside her hubby and three knucklehead farmhands.

    4 agree
    • I knw the topic is moms, but I think Uncle Henry's a pretty awesome sort of male role model, too.

      1 agrees
    • On the "not technically a mom" tangent, I have to say Auntie Mame. She raises her nephew and is so eccentric who could not love her?

      1 agrees
      • I swear Auntie Mame was my mom's role model, I remember having a little note pad when I was a kid and having my mom explain what everything meant.

  16. Am I totally annoying in saying that while Molly Weasley is my all time favorite momma, Lorelai from the Gilmore Girls is 2nd? she is SO offbeat and awesome. I know. Gilmore Girls. I can't help but love it! ahahahha

    1 agrees
    • Oh I love Gilmore Girls! It is my goal in life to have a bond with my daughter like the one Rory and Lorelai have, and I totally dig Lorelai's honest and upfront parenting style.

      1 agrees
    • Agreed on both! Lorelai, seriously best snarky and fun while still being a parent, parent.

      3 agree
    • I was coming here to say Lorelai Gilmore – I LOVE her parenting style!

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    • Oh, I am SO down with Gilmore Girls and Lorelai, when I watched that show on the regular I always had day dreams about being THAT kinda mom. She's SO RAD.

      2 agree
    • I was scrolling down to add Lorelei Gilmore, too! I'm such a nerd for that show!

      1 agrees
  17. Etheline Tenenbaum is my favorite on-screen mom. She's the most poised person I've ever seen, raising three very different kids on her own and making it look effortless. Plus, she's brilliant in her own right.

    1 agrees
    • YES! Etheline is mindful of their needs, encouraging of their talents and interests, and maintains an active career and intellectual life of her own. My dream!

      My favorite (for their parenting style) fictional moms aren't the ones who give me the impression that their TV/movie kids turned out awesome in spite of them.

  18. susan sarandon's character in "safe passage" is a favorite of mine. and, uhm, ERIN BROCOVICH (my personal hero).

    1 agrees
    • Unfortunately, while Erin Brocovich accomplished great things, her own children in the movie began to feel neglected. I guess it comes down to priorities, though, because she was showing them that you have an obligation to help those who have no where else to turn.

      1 agrees
      • "You just started a fire!"

        Also, my vote goes to Rose Castorini from Moonstruck. "Do you love him, Loretta?" "No." "Good. When you love them, they drive you crazy. 'Cause they know they can."

  19. i really actually like the step mom from Juno, Bren. She totally gives it to the ultra sound technician and any mom that will sew maternity jeans for their pregnant teenager is pretty cool.

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    • I agree! Bren was awesome, also she names her kid, Liberty Belle. How adorable! She is a total trooper!

      I think as far as movie mom's that I adore, I'd have to pick Keri Russell from "Waitress". Though most of the movie she isn't thrilled with having the kid, that moment when she holds the baby and tells that ass husband of hers to take a hike. Major super-mom goosebumps!! I dream of the days I can make pies with my small one … when they get here. πŸ™‚

      8 agree
  20. ET!!!!! Sorry, I love the movie, and Mary one of the COOLEST moms! Whenever someone loves it, too…I just have to squeal. I love the movie so much I named my son Elliot!!

  21. Molly Weasley fo'sho' she knows how to roll with the punches, kick some dark wizard ass, and be a loving mother who makes life fun for her family πŸ™‚ Even if she had 7 kids instead of 9, that's still a lot πŸ™‚

    Also Donna from Mamma Mia is a badass, holding down the fort by herself while still being a good role model for her daughter. Not to mention, she is still able to get in touch with her inner rock star (with some help from her friends).

    I totally second Marge Gunderson in Fargo, Elaine Miller in Almost Famous. Francis McDormand for the mama win!

    3 agree
  22. Omg. This post just gave me yet another reason to read the Harry Potter series! My fiance and I just finished watching all the current movies. πŸ™‚

  23. Molly Weasely FTW! She makes it look easy, and she still rocks hardcore. <3

    Also, I loved Children of Men! I picked up the book in high school in one of those Take a Book/Leave a Book things at the library, with no idea what it was about. Spent a couple weeks at my grandma's reading it. So good. I need to reread that.

    1 agrees
  24. Peg (Diane West) from Edward Scissorhands. Granted, she's an Avon lady but she treats Edward with so much compassion despite his "otherness." All while living in a ticky-tacky community. Most definitely on the offbeat list.

    Oh and, though not on the big screen, Clair Huxtable- 'cause she's fierce.

    1 agrees
  25. As soon as I found out I was pregnant I decided that Molly Weasley would be my role model.
    Not a movie mama, but I think Lois Griffin is up there in the badass mama category.

    1 agrees
  26. How about the mom in Ponyo? She knows how to handle a crisis, adopts a strange little fish girl, trusts her son to be self-reliant, and is still a real and fallible human (she drives like a maniac, for example).

    I also love the relationship between Brendan and Paula Small on Home Movies. The single dads voiced by Jonathan Katz on Home Movies and Dr. Katz are also great.

    1 agrees
  27. Albert in The Birdcage!
    Also Evelyn Ryan played by Julianne Moore in the Prize Winner of Defiance Ohio!!

    5 agree
  28. Roseanne gets my vote. She was one of the first TV moms to be everything people expect a mom not to be, yet be a great mom at the same time. Loud, crass, and just being herself.

    2 agree
  29. Lorelai Gilmore is one of the best moms hands down. Also Lauren Graham's new character Sarah Braverman is pretty kick ass.

    Molly Weasley is AMAZING!!

    I gotta say Sally Field as Mama Gump.

  30. I love you just for the fact that you mentioned Elaine from Almost Famous! DON'T DO DRUGS!!

  31. I love Ma from the british series "the darling buds of may" Even as a kid I wanted to grow up to be like her!

    1 agrees
  32. Mrs. Weasley for sure! If I didn't already have a really awesome momma I'd wish she was my mom. And not just because that would make me a non-muggle. And Harry Potter's sister-in-law… And maybe Hermione's best girl friend…. oh…. The nerdiness. It kills me.

  33. Don't forget Martha Kent (Superman/Smallville) It takes a lot to roll with the 'my son is a superhero' thing.

    And Kitty Forman from That 70s Show. She is so much fun.

    1 agrees
  34. Keri Russel from Waitress! I had a bad feeling throughout the movie since she was so unemotional, but my heart lept when she held her baby and instantly loved her and told her husband to take a hike!!!!

  35. Holly Hunter in Raising Arizona…I joke that if I'm not pregnant within a year that I'm going to steal a baby (just a joke, I swear!), and I love saying her line, "…and don't you come back here without a baby…"

  36. Gemma Teller Morrow in Sons of Anarchy, she's a badass motorcycle club wife and mama and is a total lioness protecting her cubs! Her son and grandson are luck to have her watching their backs!!!

    1 agrees
  37. how did noone mention Kitty Foreman from That 70s Show?!?!?!?! she pretty much raised that entire group

    1 agrees
  38. For a favorite Mama moment, I love when Louise from Boys on the Side is in the hospital room with her daughter and Whoopi and explains to the nurse what a hoo-hoo is…

  39. i have to say the parents from easy A too! i strive to make our home open, lighthearted and fun just like they do!

  40. For me the best fictional mum (and best wife, and guidance counsellor, school principal and pretty much everything else) is Tami Taylor from the tv show Friday Night Lights. My partner and I love her so much we have have a cross stitch on our wall saying What Would Tami Taylor Do? πŸ™‚

  41. Someone tell me what the five famous words of Molly Weasley were? I have read the book but I've forgotten and it will haunt me forever now…

  42. Cheryl West. Most you guys probably haven't seen Outrageous Fortune (NZ TV show) But this Mama is the heart of her criminal family and makes heaps of sacrifices to get them back on the straight and narrow. And also a shout out to Molly Weasly!

  43. I just love the mum in the original Freaky Friday, but I think it's while Jodie Foster is in her body and she's losing the plot.
    I also adore the Barbara Streisand character in Meet the Fockers. I want to be just like her when I grow up!
    These ladies cheer me up on a down day and give me direction when I'm lost.

    1 agrees
  44. Whoopi Goldberg in Corrina, Corrina! for being a bad ass aunt and almost-mom. She's no no-nonsense but deeply cares for all the children in her life.

    And Natalie Portman, Ashley Judd, and ESPECIALLY Stockard Channing in Where the Heart Is. Ashley Judd's character doesn't have a great track record with the men she brings into her babies lives, but those kids come 1st 100% of the time. Natalie Portman does everything she can to make her daughter's life better than her own. Stockard Channing kills it in everything she does but I love her for being everyone's mama in the most caring, humorous, laid back way in this movie. She is classic and wonderful and I think she & Ms Weasley would be BFFs in an alternate reality. Like, Stockard's character in this movie wouldn't blink an eye if she accidentally saw magic being performed, she'd just go, "Well isn't that smart! Good for you!" and then discuss a pie recipe or something.

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