Mother’s Day gives us all the chance to reflect on how much we love and appreciate our maws, grans, and other strong female role models in our lives. To celebrate the women we love we have decided here at Braw Wee to take a look at the most iconic mother and child relationships to have graced the big screen, from horror to animation and more.
Norman and Norma Bates
Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 thriller, Psycho, sports one of the most infamous mother/child relationships to have ever been recorded on film (as well as the first toilet ever shown on screen). We all know Psycho for its iconic shower scene, but it’s Motel owner Norman’s love for his mother that we think makes the seminal film so interesting. Norman’s love for his mum is arguably leaning towards the unhealthy side, but we still love Psycho, gore and all.
Tess and Anna Coleman
2003’s Freaky Friday includes one of our favourite Mother/daughter relationships ever, showing the hilarious journey between conservative psychologist Tess and her rock music loving, bratty teenage daughter, Anna; they open a cursed fortune cookie at a Chinese restaurant two days before Tess is due to marry for the second time following the loss of her first husband (much to Anna’s dismay) and wake up the next day in the opposite bodies. Chaos ensues as they fight to reverse the switch, their rocky relationship strengthening along the way so that by the time the movie finishes they have a newfound respect for each other and are reminded of why they loved each other in the first place. The soundtrack is also incredible; we still love Anna’s fictional band, Pink Slip, and Lindsay Lohan’s iconic guitar solo.
Mamma and Forrest Gump
Forrest Gump is the tragic, hilarious and heartwarming story of a boy called Forrest. He discovers as a child that he can run extremely fast and uses his talent to duck and dive his way out of a number of unbelievable and spectacular situations throughout his incredible life. Forrest has a huge heart and his mamma is his guiding light, supporting and encouraging him always, even if it means sacrificing herself. Forrest and his mum’s relationship is special and we love how proud she is of her son and how much she means to him. Expect to cry like a baby numerous times.
Margaret and Carrie White
Brian De Palma’s original 1976 adaptation of Stephen King’s Carrie is a horror classic, featuring one of the most complicated and frightening mother/daughter relationships of all time. Carrie’s mother Margaret is a religious fanatic who believes that Carrie is bound to live a life of sin, disgusted by boys, mini skirts and practically all aspects of modern life. Carrie is forced into a tiny cupboard to pray and repent as punishment for the smallest of crimes, and is made to wear long, chaste clothing and never so much as look at a boy. Despite this abuse, Carrie does eventually get her own back, and the tense on screen chemistry between actresses Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie is electrifying. De Palma uses clever and aesthetically lush religious imagery to frame their dramatic relationship, and the bloody ending is a timeless piece of iconic cinema.
Mummy Deer and Bambi
Disney’s animated classic Bambi is as heart warming as it is heartbreaking, with one of the most famous mother/child relationships in movie history. Bambi taught us all as kids that the world maybe isn’t as great and lovely as we first thought, letting us feel Bambi’s pain when he loses the one person in his life that he loves the most. If you can watch the famous meadow scene without getting watery eyed, you’re tougher than we are.
Marion and Ladybird McPherson
Greta Gerwig’s 2017 comedy-drama Ladybird is a bittersweet coming of age narrative that tentatively shines a spotlight on the tumultuous relationship between teenage oddball Ladybird and her mother Marion. The film sees Ladybird jump out of a car to escape her mother’s sniping, the two declare their hatred for one another, and a gut punch of a sequence involving a drop off at the airport, yet what is most evident throughout all this drama is the deep and complicated love that is shared between mother and daughter. Ladybird made us cry hard and belly laugh in equal measure, leaving us with the overwhelming urge to give our own mums a big hug.
Annie and Peter Graham
2018 saw one of the strongest debuts ever released in the form of Ari Aster’s psychological horror, Hereditary, bringing with it an on screen mother/son relationship so complex that it sticks to your psyche like glue for days after watching. Peter Graham has always had the feeling that his mother Annie never truly wanted him, strengthened by an episode in which his mother drenched him in gasoline while sleep walking and lit a match, only waking up when Peter screamed. Shockingly, this is not the most tragic thing that happens to Annie and Peter, as they face numerous more trials throughout the movie, ending with a climax so disturbing you’ll probably struggle to do much of anything afterwards, let alone sleep.
Donna and Sophie Sheridan
Mamma Mia is a movie about strong women, and the relationships that mothers, daughters, godmothers and female friends have with one another. Donna and Sophie Sheridan are a mother/daughter duo who have lived alone together without the presence of a father figure at their idyllic Greek island guesthouse since Sophie’s birth. Donna is a woman doing it for herself and Sophie has learnt how to be equally independent, that is until Sky comes along, a care free traveller who Sophie quickly falls in love with and engaged to. Donna is happy for her daughter but wary of her making the same mistakes that she did, and the film is a heartwarming, tear jerking journey towards the wedding day, carried along by the many hits of pop supergroup ABBA.
Words by Molly Hughes