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. 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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