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Top Positive Portrayals of Moms in Movies

Gabriel Byrne, Joy Luck Club, Little Women, Myrna Loy, Winona Ryder

It is surprising that there are not more good moms portrayed in films. There are plenty of bad moms, and bad step-moms. And it’s not just Disney that has that market cornered. Think of Carrie, Mommie Dearest, and Serial Mom.

As a mom, it is disheartening to see so many portrayals of moms as mean, psychotic, selfish, and downright evil.

There are plenty of good moms out there, and I managed to round up some of the more positive portrayals of moms in the movies.

Top Portrayals of Good Moms in the Movies

10. Where the Heart Is

Natalie Portman is an endearing, teenage mom in Where the Heart Is who tries to do the right thing.

9. The Perfect Man

Don’t let the title deceive. This movie portrays a mom (played by Heather Locklear) who tends to let her bad relationships affect her family’s life, to the point of picking them up and moving them each time she has a break up. The movie is also a Hillary Duff vehicle. The Perfect Man is as much about the daughter’s emotional maturity as the mom’s, and how it affects their relationship. It has some cute moments, and is sweet without being a tear-jerker.

8. Gas Food lodging

Gas Food lodging is one of those films that flew so low below the radar, that many missed it. It stars Ione Skye and Fairuza balk who are two sisters being raised by a single mom in the dry desolate desert. A compelling, serious film from director Allison Anders.

7. Freaky Friday

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Whether you rent the 1976 classic with Jodie Foster and Barbara Harris or the new 2003 version with Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan, the Freaky Friday story is absolutely classic. The newer version captures the mother-daughter dynamic in a funny yet insightful way. Freaky Friday is another movie where mom needs to learn a lesson, and this time it’s about loosening up, and learning to balance family and work.

6. Mermaids

Cher portrays a single mom trying to raise two daughters, played by Winona Ryder and Christian Ricci (and you thought you had your hands full!).

5. Little Women

If you loved the book……even if you’ve never read the book, Little Women has one of the best moms ever, Susan Sarandon. The rest of the cast is also stellar: Claire Danes, Winona Ryder, Gabriel Byrne, Kirsten Dunst, Samantha Mathis, and even Christian Bale.

4. The Joy Luck Club

The Joy Luck Club is a more complicated movie (than the others listed) mothers, mothers choices, and the mother-daughter relationship. It’s a must-see if you haven’t and a great film to re-visit if it’s been a while since you indulged in a womanly drama.

3. Cheaper by the Dozen

I have a fondness for the classics. In the 1950 film Cheaper by the Dozen , Myrna Loy plays Lillian Gilbreth, mom to 12. She and her husband run this crazy household quite well, under the circumstances. This is a classic comedy, which later inspired a remake and its sequel, and well-loved TV shows including The Brady Bunch.

2. Baby Boom

Baby Boom remains the ultimate good mom film for one reason. Not only does Diane Keaton’s character find a way to have it all, she does it on her terms. While it is daunting to think about “having it all” and succeeding in a career and being a responsible and doting parent, it is possible for all moms to find their own way to satisfy personal, career and parenting goals. We much each forge our own path. This movie taught us that.

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1. Mask

She is certainly not perfect, or ideal and sometimes not a fantastic example, but….has a mother’s love ever been captured so profoundly on film before or since Cher’s character in Mask? Cher portrays another struggling, single mom in Mask. Her portrayal of a mom who has complete and total unconditional love for her son is unprecedented, and has yet to be matched.