I was thinking about the actresses who always get cast as the motherly characters in movies, and the same names kept coming up. So I decided to put together a list of the best mum characters in the movies and the eight actresses who play them.
(I probably should have done this around Mother’s Day but I forgot.)
“Why are you hiding back there? You don’t have to hide from me – I’m Peg Boggs, your local Avon representative and I’m as harmless as cherry pie…” – Peg Boggs
Dianne Wiest has been cast as the mother in Edward Scissorhands, the Avon Lady named Peg who takes Edward Scissorhands in and looks after him. She is encouraging and positive.
“Phew. You smell like garlic.” – Lucy Emerson
She’s also Lucy in vampire movie The Lost Boys, where she is not only the mother to her two boys, but is also good friends with them.
“Yeah. He’s a good man. Ooh, he’s got a gift. Comes from heaven above, I swear… But he’s still just a man.” – Dianne Booker
Finally, she plays a mum in The Horse Whisperer. Dianne is a farmer’s wife and is highly family-orientated. She doesn’t beat around the bush and says it as it is.
“So young and so pedantic… One glass. You can tell God I forced you.” – Dame Eve
Julie Walters has played a motherly role in Driving Lessons as the ‘mentor’ of sorts named Evie. She is blunt and protective with a brilliant sense of humour.
“Not my daughter, you bitch!” – Mrs. Molly Weasley
Walters also played the protective Mrs. Weasley in the Harry Potter series, she’s equally fierce and strict as she is warm and loving.
“That’s a long time to be ‘nowhere’.” – Pam
Toni Collette is a personal favourite of mine – she just seems so lovely. She plays the quiet and unsure mother in The Way, Way Back named Pam who learns to listen to her son and put him first. I love the final scene in that film.
“Look at my face; I was not thinking anything bad about you.” –Lynn Sear
She’s also the mother called Lynn in The Sixth Sense. After losing her mum she is in a vulnerable place while trying to work out what is bothering her son.
“For better or for worse, we are your family.” – Sheryl Hoover
My absolute favourite of Collette’s is Sheryl in Little Miss Sunshine. She is struggling to keep the family together, but stays strong and selfless in the toughest of circumstances.
“Courage sometimes skips a generation. Thank you for bringing it back to our family.” – Charlotte Phelan
Allison Janney surprisingly doesn’t have any children in real life, but she can play the warmest and trusting of characters on screen. Janney plays the mother, Charlotte, in The Help who struggles to stand up for what is right, but encourages her daughter to do so.
“Off the wagon again!” –Betty Thompson
She is certainly not the best mother in The Way, Way Back called Betty. She drinks and swears and isn’t the kindest to her children. But ultimately, she’s whacky and hilarious.
“Well, I’m a nail technician and I think we both ought to just stick to what we know.” –Bren MacGuff
Janney plays Bren in Juno, who is possibly the best step-mum in the movies. She supports her 16-year-old step-daughter who reveals she’s pregnant and gets right on to making a plan with her.
“What kind of man takes a kid to a bar and a racetrack?” –Maggie Bronstein
Melissa McCarthy plays is a brilliantly hard-working mum called Maggie in St. Vincent. Struggling to make ends-meet she does a great job of raising her son, and makes fun of difficult situations. Particularly where Bill Murray’s character is concerned.
“They’re just looking at my smock, it tends to catch the light.” –Deanna
Her most recent is Life of the Party. Oh my goodness what a cool mum character. Deanna wants to feed every one and give solid advice to everyone. She’s widely accepted when she goes back to university and is looked up to by the younger students.
“What it means, is, is that, we want to know if you would like to become part of this family.” –Leigh Anne
Sandra Bullock’s character Leigh Anne in The Blind Side makes me cry even though I’ve only seen the trailer and not the movie. But it shows a generous and honest motherly character, despite the very cringe storyline.
“I have a bad feeling about this mission”. – Ryan Stone
Bullock is also a mother in Gravity called Ryan, where it takes everything in her being to come to terms with the sudden death of her daughter. As an astronaut, the lack of gravity represents her lack of control over the tragedy and her feeling of not feeling ‘down-to-earth’ or ‘grounded’ anymore. So sad.
“Well, it’s not cinnamon, it’s a special kind of chili pepper… Mm-hm. It’ll give you a lift.” –Vianne Rocher
Juliette Binoche plays Vianne in Chocolat. She’s possibly the most fashionable and understanding mother in the movie world. Vianne travels around France helping people mend their psychological distress with chocolate. She lost her beloved mother and feels obliged to follow her tradition of moving with the north wind with her restless young daughter in tow.
While she doesn’t have the same vibe as the others on this list, I think Emily Blunt will become the go-to mother figure of future films.
“I have shot and buried three vagrants in the past year! So I don’t care what hobo sob story you’ve got. I get a dozen a week, pal. It cuts no cash for me.” – Sara
Blunt plays a single mother called Sara in Looper. She becomes aware early on that her son, Cid, has particular strong powers whereby he can manipulate objects. However, he uses his powers for evil in the future so Bruce Willis’s character comes from the future to kill Sara’s son. Sara is extremely protective and is well prepared for anyone threatening Cid.
“I need that shoe to have a child.” – The Baker’s Wife
Into the Woods is a musical with a medley of fairytale characters thrown together in the same film. Emily Blunt’s character is the Baker’s wife and she can only have a child if she finds a slipper as pure as gold. I personally think it’s a load of poppycock. But Blunt plays the part of an aspiring mother well.
“Who are we if we can’t protect them? We have to protect them.” –Evelyn Abbott
A Quiet Place is one of Emily Blunt’s most recent films where she plays Evelyn Abbott, a mother who is protecting her children in the most unforgiving of environments. No one can make a sound because the monsters hunt via sound and they will find you and kill you. She does everything in her power to protect her children and teach them how to survive. I love how she can still make her children laugh though (in a quiet way).
“Mary Poppins, it is wonderful to see you!” – Micheal Banks
“Yes, it is, isn’t it?” –Mary Poppins
Mary Poppins Returns is coming soon, and it stars Emily Blunt as the leading role. Mary Poppins is the idealistic mother figure, even though she’s a nanny rather than a mum. But she’s dependable and fun for sure. It comes out in December 2018 so I’m excited to see how well Blunt does.
While my mum doesn’t act in movies, I would like to say that she is the best mum who could be portrayed by any of the above actors… Particularly Dianne Wiest or maybe Julie Walters…