It’s Mother’s Day, which means it’s time to emphasize — and reemphasize — how much you love your mom. After taking her out for a nice lunch or dinner, why not pop some popcorn, rip open a family-size bag of M&Ms and invite her to watch a movie?
Only, not just any movie.
Pick out a film that features an inspirational mom like one of the 10 listed below. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, but most of all you’ll be inspired.
The mom: Maria
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The movie: The Sound of Music (1965)
In The Sound of Music, one of the most beloved musicals in the history of Hollywood, Julie Andrews plays Maria, a nun in an Austrian convent who becomes the governess (and eventual mother) to seven children. Defying their militaristic (if well-meaning) father, she goes boating with the kids, makes them play clothes to wear, lets them climb trees and, most importantly, teaches them how to sing.
In short, even though Maria is not the kids’ biological mom, she gives them life.
Motherly advice: “When the dog bites, when the bee stings. When I’m feeling sad. I simply remember my favorite things. And then I don’t feel so bad.”
The mom: Aurora Greenway
The movie: Terms of Endearment (1983)
A film that is as comfortable with comedy as it is tear-jerking drama, Terms of Endearment won five Academy Awards (from 11 nominations), including Best Actress for Shirley MacLaine, who plays Aurora Greenway, devoted mother to Emma (Debra Winger).
Aurora has more than her share of flaws, but she ultimately loves and cares for Emma, from fretting over her while she sleeps to warning her not to marry philanderer Flap Horton (Jeff Daniels) to demanding that Emma receive her pain meds when she’s — SPOILER WARNING — hospitalized with cancer.
Motherly advice: “Work like you don’t need the money, love like your heart has never been broken, and dance like no one is watching.”
The mom: Florence “Rusty” Tullis
The movie: Mask (1985)
Played by Cher, Florence “Rusty” Tullis is the drinking, drugging, sexually promiscuous single mother to Rocky Dennis (Eric Stoltz), a boy afflicted by craniodiaphyseal dysplasia. While the disorder has horribly disfigured Rocky’s face and skull, in many ways he’s still a typical ’80s teen, interested in baseball cards and girls.
Fueled by anger, love and a vocabulary that would make a sailor blush, Rusty shows her love for Rocky by giving him as normal of a life as possible — and by giving up her various vices.
Motherly advice: “You let that negative dreck in and it’ll put ya away. You can be a chicken**** and die or be a mensch and keep makin’ yourself well.”
The mom: Sarah Connor
The movie: Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
Played by Linda Hamilton, Sarah Connor is one tough mother. Not only does she give birth to John Connor, the future leader of the Resistance against the machines, she’s a fearsome cyborg battler herself. In the original The Terminator (1984), she’s starts out as a damsel in distress but ends up crushing the titular tyrant in a hydraulic press.
In Terminator 2, she’s full-on action hero, sporting a tight-fitting tank top that shows off her non-girly guns. Though mentally unbalanced at this point, she fiercely protects her son and humankind in general.
Motherly advice: “Stop it! Right now! You can’t cry, John. Other kids can afford to cry. You can’t.”
The mom: Mrs. Gump
The movie: Forrest Gump (1994)
Years before Sally Field played Peter Parker/Spider-Man’s loving aunt/guardian in The Amazing Spider-Man (2012), she turned in a memorable performance as Mrs. Gump, who would do almost anything for her slow but kindhearted and historically significant son, Forrest.
We don’t recommend sleeping with the principal of your son’s school, as Mrs. Gump did to keep Forrest enrolled, but you’ve got to admire Mrs. Gump’s bravery, devotion, selflessness and reassuring words, even in the face of death.
Motherly advice: “I believe you have to make your own destiny. You have to do the best with what God gave you … Life’s a box of chocolates, Forrest. You never know what you’re gonna get.”
The mom: Carol Brady
The movie: The Brady Bunch Movie (1995)
The Brady Bunch Movie is a parody of the classic television series, poking fun at everything from the show’s clothing styles to its innocence and unlikely family dynamic. However, it’s also a love letter of sorts (most longtime Brady Bunch fans adore the film), as exemplified by the wit and wisdom of Carol Brady, played with uncanny accuracy by Shelley Long.
If you want common sense encouragement and instruction imbued with love and more than a dash of naivety, Carol’s your go-to gal.
Motherly advice: “Marcia, it looks like rain, you better take your shawl. How about you, Doug? Do you have any protection?” (Doug responds with, “Oh, yes ma’am. Assorted colors and textures!”)
The mom: Elaine Miller
The movie: Almost Famous (2000)
Frances McDormand has a history of playing quirky characters, making her perfect for the part of Elaine Miller, mother to aspiring teenage rock journalist William Miller. Although she warns both of her kids that all rock music, even the folk stylings of Simon and Garfunkel, is about “drugs and promiscuous sex,” she lets William go on tour with the band Stillwater so he can write about them for Rolling Stone magazine.
Elaine dotes and dishes out guidance, but, like many moms, spends most of her time worrying.
Motherly advice: “Keep the small bills on the outside and call me if anyone gets drunk. … Don’t do drugs!”
The mom: Novalee Nation
The movie: Where the Heart Is (2000)
Natalie Portman played Queen Amidala in the “Star Wars” prequels, but she’s much more likable as pauper Novalee Nation in Where the Heart Is, a feel-good film based on a true story. Broke, abandoned and pregnant at 17, Novalee hides out in a Wal-Mart in Sequoia, Okla., for six weeks until her baby is born.
The plot of the movie is scattershot, but Novalee provides a steady presence, thanks to her resourcefulness, her kind (if quirky) friends and the love she has for little Americus, aka the Wal-Mart baby.
Motherly advice: “You tell them that our lives can change with every breath we take … and tell ’em to hold on like hell to what they’ve got: each other, and a mother who would die for them and almost did.”
The mom: Helen ‘Elastigirl’ Parr
The movie: The Incredibles (2004)
Resourceful. Daring. Devoted. Pliable. These are just a few of the adjectives that describe Helen “Elastigirl” Parr. She’s the matriarch of The Incredibles, Pixar’s animated superhero spoof that is every bit as good as most live-action superhero films.
When vigilantism becomes illegal (The Incredibles is an intelligent film that makes a number of societal observations, including the need for tort reform), Helen (voiced by Holly Hunter) slips comfortably into the role of full-time mom, wife and homemaker. However, when her Fantastic Four-like family is in peril, she’s more than willing to spring into action as the super-stretchy Elastigirl.
Motherly advice: “Your identity is your most precious possession. Protect it.”
The mom: Leigh Anne Tuohy
The movie: The Blind Side (2009)
Although certain cynics call The Blind Side, which is based on a true story, nothing more than a pandering and insulting “white guilt” or “white savior” movie, it’s a pretty good little film, thanks in large part to Sandra Bullock’s sincere, Oscar-winning portrayal of white Southern matriarch Leigh Anne Tuohy.
She and her well-to-do family take in homeless black teenager Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron), who, with Tuohy’s undying love, guidance and support, turns his life around on and off the football field.
Motherly advice: “You threaten my son, you threaten me. You so much as cross into downtown, you will be sorry. I’m in a prayer group with the D.A., I’m a member of the NRA and I’m always packing.”