Movies for moms
Published: Saturday, May 12, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 5:42 p.m.
Wanted: A mother. Must have eyes in the back of her head, a natural fear of when it is too quiet, the patience of 10 men, one code-red "I mean it" look capable of leveling a small building and the ability to increase the thickness of her skin in order to survive the teenage years. Fringe benefits: Macaroni artwork, hugs and once-in-a-blue-moon thank yous.
As Mother's Day nears, these 10 films salute all those who signed up for the job.
- "Terms of Endearment" (1983) — The relationship between Aurora (Shirley MacLaine) and her daughter Emma (Debra Winger) is not a Hallmark card. It's better than that. It's real. Even when they spar, you never doubt how much they love one another. And nothing can change that. Not Emma's marriage to the subpar, aptly named Flap. Not a move far away. Not even cancer.
- "Stella Dallas" (1937) — When Stella (Barbara Stanwyck), brash and unrefined, marries the wealthy and cultured Mr. Dallas (John Boles), their differences drive them apart not long after their daughter is born. But as long as Stella has Laurel, her life is full. There isn't anything Stella wouldn't do for Laurel (Anne Shirley) as she grows up. That includes making a heartbreaking sacrifice when Stella feels her own rough edges are preventing her daughter from shining in high society.
- "The Blind Side" (2009) — Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock) is not the kind of woman who is told "no" a whole lot. And she's not the kind of mom who can pass up a child in need. When she sees future pro football player Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron), a mountain of a young man, walking alone on a cold night, her heart goes out to him and he is soon part of her family. She supports him as he grows into an unstoppable force on the football field. But perhaps the sweetest moment in this heart-warmer is when she reads "Ferdinand the Bull" to her young son S.J. and her new son Michael.
- "I Remember Mama" (1948) — Aspiring writer Katrin (Barbara Bel Geddes) finds the perfect subject in her Norwegian mother Marta (Irene Dunne), a woman equal parts practical and loving. Marta always finds enough money for her children's needs even if it means that warm coat of her dreams remains just that. Marta sees life simply. As she often says, "Is good." And she is.
- "Lorenzo's Oil" (1992) — When Lorenzo (Zack O'Malley Greenburg), the young son of Augusto (Nick Nolte) and Michaela (Susan Sarandon) Odone, is diagnosed with the rare disease ALD, the prognosis is bleak and the doctors have no answers. So the Odones find their own. Michaela is a fierce advocate for her son. She keeps fighting for a solution while providing loving care for her son long past the point of reason and utter exhaustion.
- "Mrs. Miniver" (1942) — Before war touches her little English town, the biggest worry Mrs. Miniver (Greer Garson) has is figuring out how to tell her husband (Walter Pidgeon) that she bought a pricey hat. Soon, her chief concern is the safety of her oldest son and her husband as they join the fight by air and by sea. Whether Mrs. Miniver is squaring off against an injured German soldier in her own home or guarding her two young children in a bomb shelter, she displays a quiet and enviable resolve.
- "Sounder" (1972) — Rebecca (Cicely Tyson), the no-nonsense wife and mother of a sharecropping family in the 1930s, meets every challenge head-on. When her husband (Paul Winfield) is arrested and sent to a work camp for a year, she still manages to bring the crops in with the help of her three children. Rebecca sends her oldest son (Kevin Hooks) on a long journey to try to visit his father at the camp and supports her child's desire to go to a faraway school that will help the bright boy fulfill his potential. Rebecca does what needs to be done without fanfare and without flinching.
- "The River Wild" (1994) — Their marriage on the rocks, Gail (Meryl Streep) and her husband (David Strathairn) set off on a whitewater rafting trip with their son (Joseph Mazzello). The tense trip is interrupted by Wade (Kevin Bacon) and Terry (John C. Reilly), two men on the lam who need a river expert like Gail to help them navigate a treacherous stretch of water called The Gauntlet. They picked the wrong mom to mess with. She is part Momma Bear protecting her cub, part Navy SEAL.
- "Mother" (1996) — Twice divorced, writer John (Albert Brooks) decides he needs to move back in with his nitpicking mother (Debbie Reynolds) to figure out what is wrong with his life and his relationships with women. He marvels at the strange brand of ice cream in her fridge with the "protective layer of ice" and fumes over her need to tell perfect strangers the details of his life. But through hilarious fits and starts, they learn important lessons about one another.
- "The Incredibles" (2004) — As the matriarch of one incredible family with superpowers, Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) has something many a mom has probably wished for: arms that can stretch for days as she deals with her three children. After leaving the superhero life behind, Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) takes a mission on the down low and falls into a trap. Elastigirl, with her children in tow, lends a rather stretchy hand, in this super fun family film.
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