Twenty Best Mother Films

In celebration of Mother’s Day coming up on May 8, Film Glamour has come up with the twenty best mothers in film.

1. Holly Hunter as the voice of Helen Parr / Elastigirl in The Incredibles – Elastigirl makes Flim Glamour’s number one mother in film because she can do it all, including managing a family of superheros and saving the world.

2. Diane Keaton as Sybil Stone in The Family Stone – Diane Keaton steals the show in this film after standing up for her gay son during a heated dinner conversation.  She is honest, fun and just plain cool in this funny, but sad and dramatic holiday film.

3. Sandra Bullock as Leigh Anne Tuohy in The Blind Side – Sandra Bullock takes on the true story of Leigh Anne Tuohy’s adoption of Michael Oher in The Blind Side.  Having won the Oscar for Best Actress for the role, it’s no doubt that Bullock plays one of the most caring and unselfish mothers of all time.

4. Patricia Arquette as Mom in Boyhood – Patricia Arquette plays one of the most real, single mom characters in the Oscar Best Picture nominated film, Boyhood.  Arquette won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role as Mom because she is raw, emotional and engaging.

5. Jodie Foster as Meg Altman in Panic Room – Don’t mess with Jodie Foster when it comes to protecting her daughter in Panic Room.  Foster is wonderful as a mother trying to protect her diabetic daughter when their house is taken over by burglars.

6. Natasha Richardson as Elizabeth James in The Parent Trap – It’s extremely sad that we had to lose an amazing actress like Natasha Richardson so early in life.  She is absolutely wonderful as Lindsay Lohan’s mother in the remake of The Parent Trap.  Funny, gorgeous, fun and charismatic, Richardson will forever be missed.

7. Shirley MacLaine as Aurora Greenway in Terms of Endearment – As a very sad and dysfunctional film about a mother-daughter relationship, MacLaine is a winner as the mother in Terms of Endearment.  She is brutally honest and opinionated, like all mothers, making this one of her best roles to date.

8. Lainie Kazan as Maria Portokalos in My Big Fat Greek Wedding – Lainie Kazan plays a lovable, but overbearing Greek mother in the Nia Vardalos written comedy.  She is terrific as the mother who cannot making food, forcing her kids to eat and trying to figure out what the hell a bundt cake is.  It’s one of my favorite characters of all time.

9. Sally Field as Miranda Hillard in Mrs. Doubtfire – Divorce is hard on the entire family, and I think Sally Field does a good job portraying a mother struggling with a divorce from Robin Williams in this film.  While maybe not the most realistic scenario, Field is still a loving and kind mother who just wants the best for her children.  And in the end, she finds the heart and decency to let her children have time with their dad.

10. Jamie Lee Curtis as Tess Coleman in Freaky Friday – Jamie Lee Curtis is a comedic knockout in this film where she switches bodies with her daughter, played by Lindsay Lohan.  The film depicts another single mother role after the death of the husband / dad. Curtis’s character must struggle with the fact that her daughter is not ready to have her marry another man.

11. Julia Roberts as Erin Brockovich in Erin Brockovich – Erin Brockovich is Julia Robert’s Oscar winning, star role.  She portrayed the character beautifully in dramatic, but comedic form, as well.  Juggling children and solving a case, Brockovich ends up making a better life for her children in the long run.

12. Toni Collette as Sheryl Hoover in Little Miss Sunshine – Another comedic mother role comes from Toni Collette in Little Miss Sunshine.  Even though married, this mother is ultimately the breadwinner after her husband’s failed business ventures.  Plus, she lets her daughter travel to California to compete in a beauty pageant, even if the traits and typical events of a kids beauty pageant scare her.  Why?  Because her daughter teaches her it’s okay to be different.

13. Debbie Reynolds as Beatrice Henderson in Mother – Debbie Reynolds plays the ultimate, but annoying, overbearing mother in this film.  While not my favorite mother of all time, Reynolds still delivers enough comedic chops to make this a winner.

14. Susan Sarandon as Jackie Harrison in Stepmom – I remember when this film came out.  It was around the time of my parents divorce, and I understood my mom’s pain in possibly having a stepmom someday.  I thought Sarandon did a fantastic job as the same type of mother, watching her ex husband make the decision to make his girlfriend, played by Julia Roberts.  It is then up to Sarandon and Roberts to get along, but these two struggle with the real and true moments filled with tension and accepting that Sarandon will always be the children’s true mother.

15. Meryl Streep as Donna in Mamma Mia – Meryl Streep may not be mother of the year when she breaks it to her daughter that she doesn’t know who her real father is, but this musical film is still a fun journey of a daughter accepting her mother for her not-so-proud decisions in life.

16. Julianne Moore & Annette Bening as Jules & Nic in The Kids Are All Right – As two lesbian mothers, Julianne Moore & Annette Bening not only play fine mothers in this film, but they try to accept the fact that their children are looking for their sperm donor.  This leads to tension, betrayal and forgiveness in a film about the new, modern family.

17. Juliette Binoche as Vianne Rocher in Chocolat – Though she moves her daughter around a lot, Juliette Binoche still plays a loving, liberal and free spirited mother who is teaching her daughter some great morals in this delicious film.

18. Paz Vega as Flor Moreno in Spanglish – It would be struggle as a mother to have a daughter who knows English better than you, and then watch her fall in love with an American family as you take care of the American’s house and family.  That’s what Paz Vega must deal with in Spanglish, as she cannot afford to give her daughter the American dream.  However, she teaches her daughter that money and expensive things do not make person any better.

19. Sigourney Weaver as Angela Nardino in Heartbreakers – Though she teaches her daughter how to complete cons through seduction and trashy outfits, Sigourney Weaver is still a mother in Heartbreakers, struggling to keep her daughter safe from the stupid men out there.  Though not mother of the year, you still have fun with the film.

20. Sally Field as M’Lynn Eatenton in Steel Magnolias – Though more of an overrated film to me, there’s still no doubt that Sally Field plays a sincere mother who worries about her children, just like any other mother out there.  She wants what is best for kids and tries to do the right thing, but struggles from time to time.




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