A Few Favorite Moms in Movies and Books

by Cristina Montes

It is yet another indicator of how little we appreciate mothers. When we in the Pinay Voices team were asked to list down our favourite mothers from movies and novels, a lot of us needed time to think.

But if moms are awesome in real life, there’s no reason they can’t be awesome in movies and novels. Here is a list of some of our favourite moms depicted in movies and books (NOTE: THERE ARE SOME SPOILERS!) :

  1. Maria Von Trapp in The Sound of Music

Who couldn’t love Maria Von Trapp? She was initially a postulant in a convent, but the Mother Superior suspected her true calling lay elsewhere. So she was sent as a governess for the seven children of the widower, the Captain Von Trapp. Indeed, she may have lacked the discipline needed for religious life. But she could cheer up the children when they were afraid of the thunderstorm, give 16-year-old Liezel guidance on growing up, and candidly discuss with Captain Von Trapp the needs of his growing children. She even taught the children how to sing! She instantly won over the children and the stern captain whom she ended up marrying, and kept the family together during the daring escape from the Nazis.

The best part? The Sound of Music was based on a true story. Although the musical has a lot of fictionalized details, the real life Maria Von Trapp was also an inspiring woman whose personal motto was, “The most important thing is to do the will of God and follow it.”

And the actress Julie Andrews endeared herself to the child actors and actresses during the shooting.

2. Marmee and Jo in Little Women and the sequels

The mother of Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy gave a lot of good advice and gently encouraged her daughters to be the best versions of themselves. Some readers (and viewers of the movie version) find her preachy, but in one chapter of Little Women, she let her daughters learn their lesson by allowing them to do what they want and letting them deal with the consequences of their actions (or in this case, inaction).

All of her daughters (except one who died early) grew up to be accomplished women who married well. The sequels to Little Women show how Jo became an equally lovable mother in more ways than one to her own children and to the pupils at Plumfield School.

3. Molly Weasley and Lily Potter in Harry Potter

Lily Potter. Mothers sacrifice themselves for their children. Enough said.

And who could not love Molly Weasley? In an age when very few women aspire to be mothers of large families, it is refreshing to see a positive depiction of a mother of a large family in modern pop culture.

4. The unnamed mother of Dickon and Martha in The Secret Garden

She played such a minor role in the story that readers do not even know her name, or whether she was named at all. But when Martha talks about their home, it sounds like a nice place to grow up in. The background nurturing presence of mother of Dickon and Martha provides a stark contrast to Miss Mary’s neglected past.

Although the mother of Dickon and Martha played a minor role, the omission of her character from the 1993 movie version of The Secret Garden impoverished the movie, in my opinion. Consider this: in the book, it was the mother of Dickon and Martha (household staff in the Miselthwaite Manor, in a society where social class distinctions are taken seriously) who wrote to Martha’s employer, Mr. Craven, asking him to come home to see his son. In the movie, the children (Mary, Dickon, and Collin) performed a Hindu ritual which summoned Mr. Craven telepathically to come home. Big difference.

5. Elastigirl in The Incredibles

Her super power, extreme flexibility, is suited to her family role. Which mom does not wish she had extendible limbs? She is a loving wife to Robert Parr/Mr. Incredible, and a loving mother to her children, as well as being a typical world-saving superhero. It is challenging enough to take care of children. It is also challenging to hunt down bad guys out to destroy the world. Elastigirl can do both — at the same time.

A sequel to The Incredibles is coming out in June.

There are many other admirable mothers in novels and movies that I cannot mention them all.

But I would not want to end this article without mentioning one. Actually, I do not know if I should mention her since she is more than a book or movie mom. But she is, strictly speaking, also a mom in a book and in a movie, which are both based on a true story, and to omit her in a list of favourite book and movie mothers would be, for me, unforgivable.

Mary, played by Maia Morgernstern, in Passion of the Christ.

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