The second Sunday in May here in the United States means it’s Mother’s Day. Sure, you may be planning to take dear old Mom out to see her sixth viewing of Avengers: Endgame, but that’s hardly a celebration of the maternal bond, is it? How about saving your hard-earned money and sitting her down in front of the tube to watch some of these movie moms who will (probably) make her look wonderful in comparison? She might even feel so good about herself next to these characters that she’ll whip up some dinner for you. Win-win!
Margaret White, Carrie (1976) It’s tough to be a teenage girl. Your body is changing, those popular kids can be really mean and, if you’re Carrie White (Sissy Spacek), your mom is a religious wing-nut who keeps you locked up in the house and shouts scripture in your face. Thank goodness for those telekinetic powers, am I right? Nominated for the Best Supporting Actress Oscar, Piper Laurie stars as Margaret White, the abusive single mother who helps bring Carrie’s rage to the boiling point.
Norma Bates, Psycho (1960) Poor Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) never really had a chance. His mother Norma is domineering, keeping a tight hold on her adult son in their rural California home. It’s no wonder the poor guy is shy and awkward. When Lila Crane (Vera Miles) stops in at their lonely hotel, Norman thinks he might just have a chance at happiness, but no. Mother has to ruin it all. She may be old and frail -- as in, a mummified corpse whose voice Norman mimics to have arguments with himself -- but Norma still rules the roost.
Eleanor Iselin, The Manchurian Candidate (1962) Raymond Shaw (Laurence Harvey) is a war hero, having saved most of his platoon during the Korean War. But Captain Marco (Frank Sinatra), who served with Shaw, begins to think something is wonky when he starts having a recurring nightmare. It turns out Raymond’s mother Eleanor Iselin (Angela Lansbury) is in on an elaborate brainwashing conspiracy, using her son as a pawn in a political game to take over the country. Those who know Lansbury only as sweet Miss Price from Bedknobs and Broomsticks or as Jessica Fletcher from Murder, She Wrote are in for a surprise when they see the conniving, slightly incestuous Mrs. Iselin.
Mary, Precious (2009) Mo’Nique took home an Oscar for her portrayal of the viciously abusive mother of 16-year-old Precious (Gabourey Sidibe), who is pregnant with her second child. Reliant on Precious and her granddaughter for welfare money, Mary not only mistreats her daughter in the worst ways, but she also allowed Precious’s father to do the same, even blames Precious for the man’s absence. I don’t see many Mother’s Day cards in Mary’s future.