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Best and Worst Mothers On Film


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I agree about "best mom" being Irene Dunne in I Remember Mama. The worst mom? The problem is I don't remember the title. It was about a woman with hoarding tendencies that takes her kids out of the city to live in this run down shack in the middle of nowhere. I haven't seen it in thirty years. She wasn't cruel in the way Shelley Winters was in "Patch of Blue", she was just ignoring the welfare of her children altogether. I thought that Sylvia Sidney played the grandma, but it is not on her filmography in imdb. The thing is, it is rather hard to completely think of the mom as bad as she had some kind of mental illness and stopped taking her meds. The film ends when the grandma catches up with her and has her commited and takes the children in. Maybe this would be a good question for "Information Please".

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Maybe not the worst, but a mean Mama is Barbara Stanwyk's mom in REMEMBER THE NIGHT.

Another Mom who comes to mind is Gladys Cooper as Bette Davis' domineering, mentally cruel mom in NOW, VOYAGER.

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"Mildred  Pierce", Joan Crawford for Beat Mom.

"Mommie Dearest", Faye Dunaway playing Joan Crawford for Worst Mom.  If only Christina had the Mildred Pierce character for a mom.

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I would certainly think Regina King should get a medal as the best mother in law in If Beale Street Could Talk, even if her daughter never actually marries the man in question.  Who wouldn't want a mother in law who loves and trusts your more than their own mother?

 

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12 hours ago, Det Jim McLeod said:

In honor of Mother's Day, who do you think are the best and worst characters who were mothers in film?

I think:

BEST

Irene Dunne as Mama in "I Remember Mama"

WORST

Shelley Winters as Rosanne D'arcy in "A Patch Of Blue"

 

Irene Dunne is so good in I REMEMBER MAMA - such a sweet and honest performance, displaying different layers of character as the story proceeds. She is very well served by the script and the director (George Stevens) but it's remarkable to see such a performance at this point in a long career of musicals, comedies, and melodramas.

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How about "Best Mom" to Barbara Stanwyck sacrificing for her daughter in Stella Dallas? Most forgiving/supportive Mom? Delia in Proof Of Life.

Babs then switches to give Motherhood a bad name in Clash By Night, abandoning her baby (& husband) for a hunk boy. Many years later, Meryl Streep did the same thing in Kramer Vs Kramer.

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My vote for the worst mother in film is ANGELA LANSBURY in The WORLD OF HENRY ORIENT 1964.  She plays a cold, selfish **** in the film that sleeps around behind her husband Tom Bosley's characters back..

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3 hours ago, arpirose said:

My vote for the worst mother in film is ANGELA LANSBURY in The WORLD OF HENRY ORIENT 1964.  She plays a cold, selfish **** in the film that sleeps around behind her husband Tom Bosley's characters back..

How is that worse than what she does to her son in The Manchurian Candidate?

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My vote for the best grandmother (a little variation to the mother theme) in THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER is LILLIAN GISH.  Although she isn't connected to young Pearl and John by blood, her protective instincts help the children survive when the Mitchum character, the phony homicidal, reverend is out to kill them.

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