This weekend saw Mother’s Day – a time for everyone across Great Britain to celebrate the women who bore them, raised them, nagged them, inspired them and generally are the best. After seeing the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Snow In Midsummer which greatly celebrates mother figures, I started thinking about all those other fictitious matriarchs, most notably those on screen. Every story we watch features a mother: even if she is absent, her nonexistence is entirely visible. So, here it is: the list of my top onscreen mums, moms and mams.
Edina Monsoon: the fabulously appalling mama
One of my favourite comedies of all time, Edina’s relationship with bluestocking Saffron is utter gold, primarily due to their utter role reversal. Edina goes on drug fuelled weekends with BFF Patsy, drinks bolly from when she wakes up, and squanders her money on jewellery from La Croix, colonics and outlandish clothing. By contrast, Saffron spends her youth scolding her mother, excelling in science projects and tidying their designer townhouse. Edina’s petulant threats and Saffron’s cold levelheadedness provide some of televisions best mother-daughter scenes which never get old.
Mrs Jumbo: Disney’s most tragic mummy
Despite knowing that everything ends well, I simply cannot watch the 'Baby Mine' scene without balling my eyes out every time. Dumbo is one of my favourite Disney films, primarily because of the wonderful relationship between our big-eared protagonist and his poor, subjugated mummy. All Mrs Jumbo wants to do is protect the son who she so desperately loves and, in the process, is isolated, chained up and labelled a 'mad elephant.' Despite Bambi and his mother's relationship being arguably more tragic, there’s something totally beautiful about Dumbo not uttering a single line in the 1941 classic, but gazing in adoration at his protective mother. I’m getting tearful just writing this, so I should probably move on.
Rosemary: an unconditionally loving mother
Apologies for any spoilers, but if you consider yourself a film buff, you must have watched Polanski’s classic. I really believe Rosemary’s Baby is utter perfection. It is probably one of the scariest films out there because, just like our heroine, the spectator has no clue what’s going on for most of the plot. Despite being raped by the devil and bearing the spawn of Satan, the final scene of the film features Rosemary hearing her baby’s cries. She serenely enters the room of deranged devil worshippers and goes to the crib which she begins to rock and sing the most chilling lullaby. Rosemary’s Baby suddenly becomes so much more than a horror film: to be a mother means to categorically love your child, even if he is 50% Lucifer.
Molly Weasley: the most magical mum
I would really love to get a cuddle from Molly Weasley. Despite being one of those stoic Harry Potter fans who believes that the book characters are far better than those in the films, Julie Walters’ portrayal of Ron’s mum is fantastic. As well as mothering a giant ginger brood of children, she gives orphan Harry all the love he has missed out on as a child. She knits a mean jumper, casts a tricky spell and takes no nonsense from her children or anybody trying to persecute them. Besides this, she takes on Helena Bonham-Carter’s Bellatrix Lestrange uttering one of the best lines in all of the films: ‘Not my daughter, you b*tch.’
RuPaul: everybody's favourite drag mom
RuPaul is an absolute queen in so many ways. Whilst many may dismiss RuPaul’s Drag Race as total trash, I believe it is one of televisions most important programmes. It has raised awareness of what a complex art drag is, brought LGBTQ issues into the forefront of the American psyche and provides us with consistently balanced entertainment along the way. Despite all of the drag queen temper tantrums, Mama Ru rises above it all and oozes kindness and class throughout. Google RuPaul and realise what a fantastic impact she has had on the international trans-commmunity: this influence is visible in every single moment she is on our screens. She has touched the heart of hundreds of misunderstood, victimised individuals and provided them with a mother figure, offering invaluable wisdom: ‘If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else.’
Who do you think the best onscreen mothers are? Tweet us @ScreenBrum and don’t miss our next show on April 7th.