As we are set to celebrate those who give us life May 13, Hollywood has found ways to mark Mother’s Day in their own way for a century. In honor of the day that tributes our personal matriarchs, Movie Fanatic presents our Top 10 Movie Moms.
10. Angelina Jolie, The Changeling
Clint Eastwood got the most out of Angelina Jolie as a Depression-era Los Angeles single mother. Her son goes missing and soon after, her panic subsides to bewilderment as every person she speaks to, from police to a private detective, believes she is making up the entire story. It is one of Jolie’s most pristine performances.
9. Susan Sarandon, Little Women
We’re fans of the early-in-film-history version of Louisa May Alcott’s iconic book, but Movie Fanatic is especially fond of Susan Sarandon's work as Mrs. March in 1994’s Little Women.
8. Frances McDormand, Almost Famous
Sure, she completely freaks out when her teenage son takes off on the road with one of the biggest bands in the world. Yet, she does let him walk out the door because the journey is to produce an article as a writer for none other than Rolling Stone. The film that is based on Cameron Crowe’s upbringing from San Diego kid to man of the world also has one of the best “I am the mother” moments in film history when McDormand schools Billy Crudup’s Russell Hammond on the phone -- pure movie mom magnificence.
7. Sally Field, Forrest Gump
The Momma in “My Momma told me…” is Sally Field and as the mother of Tom Hanks’ Forrest Gump, we see there is nothing she won’t do to ensure her son gets a fair shake at succeeding in life. His accomplishments are countless, and unlike a box of chocolates where you never know what you’re gonna get, with Field’s maternal influence over Hanks’ Forrest, his destiny of greatness was never in doubt.
6. Shirley MacLaine, Terms of Endearment
The scene in the hospital where Shirley MacLaine is panicking because her daughter needs help is the "always there for you" embodiment of motherhood onscreen. James L. Brooks’ film also gives us a mother-daughter portrayal that spans decades and is as in-depth of a study of it as we’ll ever see.
5. Julia Roberts, Erin Brockovich
There’s the Oscar and all for Julia Roberts playing the title character of Erin Brockovich. Her sweeping performance of a voice for those who have none earned her that golden statue. But, at the heart of Roberts’ will to bring Brockovich’s true story to life is that she captured what the real heroine was motivated by during her titanic struggle -- a safe world for her children. Never get in the way of a mother protecting her kids.
4. Cher, Mask
Speaking of going the extra mile for your child, Cher’s Rusty Dennis perhaps sets the standard. In a world that does accept the wildly different, she champions a son in Rocky Dennis who -- despite his physical challenges -- never believes that there is anything he cannot do. And who placed that virtue in his soul? Why… it is his mother.
3. Joan Crawford, Mommie Dearest
No wire hangers! After witnessing Mommie Dearest, Faye Dunaway’s portrayal of Joan Crawford will be forever ingrained in your mind. If you’ve seen it, you know what we mean. If you haven’t… run, don’t walk to rent it now.
2. Mrs. Bates, Psycho
Hard to argue with the power the mother in Psycho had over her child. And don’t get us started on the cinematic shock value given to the audience when we finally meet her! “Mother!”
1. Sarah Connor, Terminator and Terminator 2
Sarah Connor literally would go to the ends of the earth to protect her son, even when he was in the womb. Between Terminator and Terminator 2, we have a study in the extreme when it comes to how to mother the man who will grow up to save the world. Imagine knowing that while raising said kid? The emotional fortitude and commitment could drive a mother mad… oh wait. But hey, she is broken out of the mental institution by her son, and their combination with Schwarzenegger’s Terminator forges a future that still has a chance.