“A boy’s best friend is his mother.” The most memorable movie mums.

Animal Kingdom

By Simon Miraudo
May 7, 2014

Cinema history is littered with memorable movie mums, from the nurturing to the smothering to… well, whatever you call the son-swapping ladies in Adoration. Here are five of my favourite, all with their own unique personalities and peculiarities. With the exception of maybe one, they’re certain to make you more grateful for your own mother by comparison.

Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom: Jacki Weaver scored her very first Oscar nomination as Smurf, the adorable matriarch of a grubby crime family in Animal Kingdom. Smurf really will do anything for her boys, and that’s precisely the problem. Regardless, Jacki is our preferred murder-sanctioning mama (with apologies to Kristin Scott Thomas in Only God Forgives).

Back to the Future

Back to the Future: Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) almost undoes his own existence by travelling back in time and accidentally keeping his parents from meeting. What’s worse is discovering his teenage mum Lorraine (Lea Thompson) has the hots for him… and vice versa. A lot of confusing feelings in this surprising 1985 blockbuster. It certainly redefined the term “family flick”.


Carrie: Piper Laurie‘s religious zealot Margaret White believes her daughter, Carrie (Sissy Spacek), is the seed of Satan, isolating her from the world around them and constantly informing her of everyone’s terrible intentions. In Margaret’s defence, Carrie does end up murdering all her classmates, so… maybe momma knows best?


Fargo: Police chief Marge Gunderson is seven months pregnant and still able to unravel a tangled web of kidnapping and cruelty in snow-capped Minnesota. The Coen brothers don’t often give their protagonists happy endings, but not even they could bring themselves to punish the fiercely intelligent Marge (a role for which Frances McDormand earned the Best Actress Oscar). Just imagine how lucky that kid of hers (and stamp-designing hubby Norm’s) is.


Psycho: Maybe this one’s a cheat, because the only glimpse we get of Norman Bates’ overbearing mother is of her skeleton, creepily kept in the cellar by her disturbed son. Still, the version of her that lives on in Norman’s psyche causes one hell of a ruckus in Alfred Hitchcock‘s legendary slasher flick. And on this hallowed holiday, you’d do well to remember his catchphrase: “A boy’s best friend is his mother.”

Honourable mentions: Aliens, August: Osage County, Grey Gardens, The Incredibles, The Kids Are All Right, Mother, Rosemary’s Baby, Stories We Tell, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Wild At Heart.

Check out Simon Miraudo’s archive of reviews.

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