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 Cuarón! 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?

Comments on Five offbeat movie mamas who make us proud

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

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

  8. 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!

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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!!!!

  12. 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…”

  13. 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!!!

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

  15. 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…

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

  17. 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? 🙂

  18. 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…

  19. 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!

  20. 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.

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