Monday, May 9, 2011

Media Moms...

In honor of yesterday's celebration of mothers, I wanted to make a blog post about some of the mother figures we see in films and TV.  Honestly, it is hard to find great characters in the Hollywood world... and finding great parents in films is even harder, as most main characters have had an unpleasant childhood resulting in their present troubled, desperate, or vulnerable state.  Pretty pathetic.  Some mothers we see in films drive us MAD!  They can be just plain annoying.  Others make our blood boil they are so evil.  Some mother-figures that come to mind are charcters like (warning... MANY spoilers for many films):

Mrs. Bennet
(Pride and Prejudice)
I don't care which version you watch... she's terrible in both.  Though in no way an evil woman, her character flaws are enormous.  She is a gossip.  She is senseless.  She's controlling.  She does not respect her husband.  She's LOUD but never has anything to SAY!  I'm not fond of her... she set a horrible example for her daughters and has me writhing through the entire film.  :-P

Helen Potter
(Miss Potter, 2006)
Once again, not an evil woman.  She's very narrow-minded and very much about status in society.  I think she tries to be understanding towards her daughter, but tends to treat her grown Beatrix like a ten-year-old.  She is not supportive...  and it was pointed out in the film that even though her daughter was famous, Helen was the only person who didn't seem to realize it.  I can see how her daughter becoming a writer and artist instead of settling down to raise a family would be hard for this mother to swallow... and I would probably be more understanding if Beatrix put on a feminist attitude, never wanted to marry, and was rebellious towards her parents.  But none of those things were true of Beatrix and her mother comes across as an insensitive, nagging lady.  Sad, but true.

Miss Havisham
(Great Expectations, TV, 1990)
Though not an actual mother, she does fulfill the role of one in young Estella and Pip's lives.  She is not loud or annoying... she doesn't nag... but there's a very dark, borderline-evil side of her.  She destroys Estella's life by raising her to be insensitive and unloving.  She manipulates Pip in the most unasuming, almost charming manner.  She is very dignified... but quite insane, truly.  Bad lady.

Mrs. Clennam
(Little Dorrit, TV mini-series, 2008)
Now we get to a woman a tad more evil.  This lady is quite sane, with a quiet cruelty in every action towards her son, Arthur.  My heart ached as her son would try to reach out, hungry for some sign of affection, only to be rebuffed quite carelessly over and over.  Mrs. Clennam's bitterness over past wrongs against her hardened her heart towards those closest to her, leaving her an empty shell with hate in her gaze.

Rodmilla De Gent
(Ever After, 1998)
And then there's this lady, the Baroness.  Her heartless response of "How can anyone love a pebble in their shoe?" to her step-daughter's plea for some sign of love is the ultimate "Bad Mom" line.  Having married Danielle's father for security and money rather than love, she has been saddled with a daughter not to her liking and does everything in her power to make the lives of Danielle and the loyal household servants miserable after the death of her husband.  She is a cruel, evil, scheming, evil, hateful, evil, lying, did I mention EVIL lady.  She wins first place whenever I think of evil mother-figure characters.

I was shocked at how much faster I was able to come up with bad mother characters from movies than good ones.  There are many more, I'm sure.  These were the top five for me.  So, what about good mother characters???  We have those too!!!  And I made this list longer so we can majorly outweigh the bad!  I have a list of my ten favorites that will continue to get better as they go till we get to first place (in my book at least).  :-)  Hope you enjoy.

Helen North
(Yours, Mine, and Ours, 2005)
A creative, infexious woman of a large brood of children, Helen strikes me as a very loving mother.  Though a bit crazy, disorganized, and pampering, she wants the best for her children and will not hesitate to defend, encourage, and show open affection for them. 
Though I don't agree with all of her views (or all of the content in this film), she is a very lovable lady and a fun mom.

Lillian Gilbreth
(Cheaper by the Dozen, 1950)
Come on!!! This lady had TWELVE children!  You have to admire her...  :-)  Okay, beyond that, Lillian was a very wonderful lady (as she was portrayed in this version of the film).  A support to her husband, her children were always secure in the fact that their parents loved each other.  Encouraging, creative, VERY smart, and just lovable... this lady was a joy to observe throughout the film.  Her gentle nature under her natural pluck was inspiring.

Maria Hale
(North and South, TV mini-series, 2004)
You might be surprised by this choice if you've watched this film.  Maria can come across as a sickly, weak, whiney lady... but I think quite the opposite.  She's an incredibly loyal wife, leaving her home to follow her husband having no idea why she's being taken from her friends and relatives.  She adores her daughter and only ever acts like a sweet, genteel lady.  I became quite fond of her.

Olivia Walton
(The Waltons, TV, 1960)
This gorgeous redhead was an incredible mom in the long-running TV series.  I've never heard a negative word about her.  Even though married to a non-Christian, she raises her children in as Godly a way as possible and is submissive to her husband, softly encouraging him in a very non-confrontal way to join her at church on many occassions.  A dilligent keeper of her home, she sets a beautiful example of femininity even while leaning over a hot stove.  Managing to care for seven children of VERY different personalities, she keeps a quiet, tempered spirit (for the most part *smile*).  She encourages her children to follow their dreams and supports them through all their ups and downs.  Quite a remarkable lady.

Mother Robinson
(Swiss Family Robinson, 1960)
Though we never even learn her first name in this classic film, Mrs. Robinson is such a lovely, sweet lady that I had to include her.  A very soft-spoken, ladilike woman, she does show a few glimpses of a temper (*smile*) and a bit more stubbornness.  She is strong-willed and courageous as she learns to survive on a unknown island with her castaway family.  Her love for pretty things never ceases though, just like her love for her husband and support of her three sons.  When captured-by-pirates-and-escaped Roberta joins them in their home, Mrs. Robinson is a gracious hostess and quickly becomes a mother to the young lady.  I have adored this film since childhood and smile whenever I think of this un-named, yet unforgettable, mother.

Beatrice Hamilton
(The Inheritance, 1997)
This woman makes me laugh and smile so much.  She has a heart overflowing with love for friends and family.  Even though the main character in this story, Edith, is a poor orphan that Beatrice and her husband took in, Beatrice treats her like her own daughter and showers love on her.  An elegant lady, she is very proper... but that doesn't stop her from teasing her husband in private or claiming that she must be losing her mind when she forgets things.  :-)  A beautiful, loving woman... I actually like her and her husband more than the leading man and woman in this story (and that's saying quite a lot for them!).

Victoria Barkley
(The Big Valley, TV, 1965)
A woman of the west, this mother is full of energy and grit.  She amazes me with her endurance.  Literally, one minute she is tending to the sick and impoverished, the next she’s out galloping a horse or trudging through the desert with only one day’s ration of water in her canteen.  She’s a very loving parent and shows amazing courage as she runs her home as a widow.  Her heart is full of her children and she constantly bestows words of wisdom when they (finally!) come to seek her advice.  She has a strong sense of right and wrong and holds to those convictions.  Her daring as a woman in the still-wild west and beauty as a feminine homemaker is such a joy to see.

Mrs. March, “Marmee”
(Little Women, 1994)
This woman has inspired me from a young age.  Her quiet, steady wisdom.  Her hardworking spirit.  Her joy amidst hardships.  Her integrity.  Her loving, guiding ways with her four daughters.  It all just makes me stop and stare at the TV screen in amazement.  I, like her daughters, wonder how she manages it!  Though she does have the advantage of being fictitious, her unwavering devotion (even while her husband is away during wartime and she has no idea of his fate) and generous nature (even in light of her own financial struggles) are inspiring.  And oh! to have the control over my emotions that she has!  :-)

Caroline Ingalls, “Ma”
(Little House on the Prairie, TV, 1974)
When I think about a wonderful stay-at-home mother (besides my own mom!), I think of this lady.  Even though her children went to the town school, she still trained them and tutored them at home, being educated as a teacher herself.  She is a wonderful example to her girls of a gentle, creative, intelligent, loving woman.  There is hardly ever anything but a sweet, contented smile on her face through the many seasons of this show, even though she is uprooted several times and has to make her home all over again in many different situations.  She is a supportive wife and an adoring mother.  How can you not love her?  :-)

And, in first place… in my humble opinion…

Maria Von Trapp
(The Sound of Music, 1965)
She’s always smiling.  Always making the day beautiful.  Always singing.  Though not the biological mother of the seven Von Trapp children, she nearly drowns them with love from the beginning.  :-)  Becoming a mother-figure before she is a wife, you see her true affection for the seven unruly children she cares for.  Her sensitive ways are apparent as she helps sixteen-year-old Lisle see her need for adult guidance after knowing the girl less than twelve hours.  Her first night at the Von Trapp house is spent dancing with storm-frightened children, singing their fears away.  It is her concern and love for these children that brings about her conflict with their father, the Captain, and results in her being able to witness the long-estranged father discover his deep love for his family.  She is, by far, my favorite media mother-figure ever!  Just lovely.  Reminds me of my mom… :-)

So, who are your favorite mother-figures from either books or movies?  Are there ladies in your life that are setting true-life examples of Godly womanhood and motherhood?  I have been very blessed to have a wonderful mother who never ceases to be the greatest inspiration of what it is to be a wife and mother.  Honestly, she blows all of these fictional characters away.

I had lots of fun writing this.  I hope you enjoyed reading it!
God bless!


Southern Belle said...

Ooh :) Loved this post! I agree with so much... {some I can't seeing I never watched it} Mothers truly are amazing. They hold the world in their hand and are truly some of the most influential people ever! Thanks for this post ;)

Rebecca said...

Love this post! I had so much fun reading it. Thanks for posting :)

Anonymous said...

I love this post Rachael! I totally agree with your first place! ;)

Anonymous said...

When you first mentioned the "good mothers" list, Marmee March came to my mind! Her and Caroline Ingalls are at the top of my list, for sure! Thanks for sharing -- this was a fantastic idea! :)

Ashley said...

Wow, Rachel! I just loved this post so much! Ma (Caroline), Maria and Marmee are definitely great examples of what I am hoping to be like when I become a wife and mother! Thank you so much for posting!